San Francisco 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan has been adamantly behind Jimmy Garoppolo as the team’s starter in 2021. That could clearly change next season.
Shanahan spoke about the 49ers’ potential 2022 quarterback situation on Wednesday, and it sounded like good news for Trey Lance. Shanahan admitted that Garoppolo could be back in 2022, but made clear that Lance is viewed as the long-term option.
Garoppolo is under contract for 2022, but it will cost the 49ers essentially nothing to move on from him after June 1. Doing so and clearing over $25 million in cap space appears to be a no-brainer, particularly with Garoppolo putting together an unconvincing season.
On the other hand, Shanahan doesn’t seem totally sold on Lance yet either. The 49ers still believe in him, but may want to see more progress prior to 2022.
Photo: Sep 26, 2021; Santa Clara, California, USA; San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (10) walks on the field before the game against the Green Bay Packers at Levi’s Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports
San Francisco 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan had an interesting response to a recent report about rookie quarterback Trey Lance.
NFL Network’s Mike Silver noted in a recent story about the 49ers’ struggles that Lance has struggled after initially impressing in training camp. Coaches believed Lance was mastering Shanahan’s offense so quickly after a week of camp that there was talk of starting the rookie in Week 1. After that, however, Silver says Lance “leveled off, lost confidence and clearly became a less appealing option” than starter Jimmy Garoppolo.
Shanahan himself was asked about this characterization on Thursday and didn’t necessarily dispute it. The 49ers coach said there was “probably some accuracy” to that, but that it wasn’t just Lance and it was normal for players to have ups and downs over the course of a season.
The 49ers have limited Lance in the regular season. Part of that is down to a knee sprain and part of it is that they’re clearly not prepared to start him yet. Some wanted to see that earlier in the season, but a lot of that talk has died down even though Garoppolo continues to struggle.
This probably won’t convince many critics of the Lance pick, and there are some high-profile ones. That said, we knew all along that Lance was raw and something of a project. The way his season has unfolded doesn’t appear to have changed how the 49ers feel about him long-term.
It’s customary when an NFL team picks up a win for the head coach to hand the game ball to someone who performed particularly well, or for who the win was particularly meaningful. That was no different for the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday, but coach Kyle Shanahan’s approach was a little unusual.
Shanahan said after the game that the game ball would go to punter Mitch Wisnowsky’s wife Maddie, who gave birth to a baby girl on Saturday night. Wisnowsky himself would not get a game ball because, according to Shanahan, the punter was way too nervous during the birth.
Wisnowsky actually flew into Chicago for the game early Sunday, but wasn’t called upon to punt in a 33-22 win. He did handle holder duties, though.
That’s a pretty ruthless take from Shanahan. Maybe it’s not as ruthless of how one AFC team handled a game ball once, but still pretty brutal.
A surprising report surfaced this week claiming the San Francisco 49ers turned down a generous trade offer for Jimmy Garoppolo prior to the NFL Draft. Not surprisingly, Kyle Shanahan says there is no truth to it.
In his newly released book “It’s Better to Be Feared,” Seth Wickersham says the New England Patriots offered a second-round draft pick for Garoppolo back in April. The Niners reportedly wanted a first-rounder, so they turned it down.
Shanahan was asked about the claim on Wednesday, and he emphatically shot it down.
“I promise, if that was the case, I would have talked to their head coach,” Shanahan said.
The implication seemed to be that Shanahan didn’t discuss any trade with Bill Belichick. If the Patriots wanted Garoppolo so badly that they offered a second-round pick, Shanahan almost certainly would have entertained the conversation.
San Francisco acquired Garoppolo from the Patriots in 2017 for a second-round pick. The quarterback has since led the team to a Super Bowl, but his play has been mediocre at best. The Niners traded up to draft Trey Lance, which would indicate that they are not that high on Garoppolo. That’s what makes it hard to believe they turned down a second-rounder.
Shanahan explained this week why the 49ers are sticking with Garoppolo despite losing four games in a row.
Despite another mediocre performance by Jimmy Garoppolo, the San Francisco 49ers starting quarterback does not appear to be in any danger of losing his starting job.
49ers coach Kyle Shanahan acknowledged Monday that Garoppolo’s poor outing Sunday against Indianapolis was the quarterback’s worst of the season. However, Shanahan thought the weather had a lot to do with that, and affirmed that Garoppolo has a strong enough grip on the starting job that one bad game won’t cost him.
“We didn’t go into that game thinking that Jimmy was one bad game away from losing his job or anything like that,” Shanahan said, via Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area. “Jimmy didn’t play as good as he could, which he knows that and I know that. I think there were some pretty hard circumstances for him — for both quarterbacks, considering some of the weather. But I definitely thought he could play better.”
Shanahan also cited backup Trey Lance’s health as a reason for Garoppolo being so entrenched. Lance has been out with a knee injury and is not yet up to full speed.
Garoppolo went just 16-for-27 for 181 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions in Sunday’s loss. He’s thrown multiple touchdown passes in only one game so far this season. He doesn’t seem long for the 49ers considering how adamant Shanahan was about trying to upgrade during the offseason. That said, there appears to be little Garoppolo can do to lose his job right now.
San Francisco 49ers fans may be eager for a quarterback change, but coach Kyle Shanahan does not seem inclined to bench Jimmy Garoppolo as long as he’s healthy.
Garoppolo left Sunday’s game against Seattle at halftime with a calf injury and did not return for the second half. He was replaced by rookie Trey Lance, who threw for 157 yards and two touchdowns in a 28-21 defeat.
Shanahan made clear, however, that he still views Garoppolo as his starter following the game. The coach added that he had hoped to be able to give Lance more time before throwing him into action full-time.
Garoppolo said after the game he hoped to miss only a couple weeks, suggesting Lance will have to make at least one start instead.
The veteran quarterback hasn’t been terribly impressive this season, tallying 925 passing yards through four weeks. There’s no doubt the injury comes at a frustrating time for him. He already seemed annoyed at sharing snaps with Lance, and the fact that the team will get a longer look at the rookie while Garoppolo is sidelined might not be good news for the veteran.
The San Francisco 49ers understandably did their due diligence this past offseason after Aaron Rodgers asked the Green Bay Packers for a trade. While the two coaches have denied it, the inquiry may have resulted in some tension between Kyle Shanahan and Matt LaFleur.
LaFleur and Shanahan have long had a close relationship. On Wednesday, LaFleur was asked if that friendship was impacted by the Niners trying to pry Rodgers away from the Packers several months ago. LaFleur insisted it is not an issue.
“Kyle’s a great friend of mine,” LaFleur said. “I haven’t talked to him in a while. It’s just part of the business, I hold no ill will towards him. … He’s got a responsibility to everybody in that organization if he’s got an opportunity. I don’t hold that against him. That will have no affect on our relationship.”
That doesn’t mean the situation wasn’t awkward. According to NFL Network’s Michael Silver, Shanahan became upset over an exchange he had with LaFleur’s brother, New York Jets offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur, minutes before the start of the NFL Draft. Mike LaFleur reportedly needled Shanahan about his Rodgers trade inquiry, and Shanahan did not take kindly to it.
Here’s how the exchange was described to Silver:
Rodgers is from Northern California. There had been rumblings that the 49ers were his top choice when he demanded a trade, so Mike LaFleur (and his brother) may have felt Shanahan and the Niners were toeing the tampering line.
For what it’s worth, Shanahan told “The Rich Eisen Show” after the draft that all he did was call Matt LaFleur and ask if there was any truth to the reports that Rodgers wanted out. LaFleur made it clear that Rodgers was not available, and Shanahan says that was the end of it.
Had it not been for LaFleur stepping in, Rodgers may have ended up playing elsewhere. LaFleur can’t possibly blame Shanahan for seeing if there was an opportunity to acquire one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time. But even if the two coaches understood one another, there still may have been some moments of tension while all the drama was unfolding.
One thing that is indisputably true is that NFL coaches do not care about your fantasy team. San Francisco 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan drove that home in hilarious fashion Friday.
There has been significant chatter about the usage of 49ers wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk in Week 1. Aiyuk saw just 26 snaps, and was not targeted once in the passing game. That came as a big surprise to many considering Aiyuk was a standout as a rookie in 2020, catching five touchdown passes and tallying 748 receiving yards.
That, combined with Shanahan’s public indifference toward Aiyuk, led to speculation that the wide receiver is in the head coach’s doghouse. Shanahan brushed that aside Friday, telling KNBR that a hamstring injury impacted Aiyuk’s status and it was only seen as a big deal because of fantasy purposes.
“Aiyuk got off to a little bit of a slow start and Trent (Sherfield) was playing very well,” Shanahan explained, via David Lombardi of The Athletic. “When Aiyuk was starting to catch him, and to me was about to go by him, which was going to be the third preseason game — where he would’ve gotten that spot completely back — he tweaked his hamstring. Then he had about 10 days off and his first practice was Wednesday before the Detroit game, so we planned on rotating him. … You get a big reaction to that, but that’s how it’s going. I don’t expect that to stay long.
“These things are a bigger deal because of the fantasy football world. It usually means you messed up a lot of people’s fantasy picks.”
Shanahan wasn’t done, trolling a bit further by adding: “You don’t need a fantasy team when you’re in charge of a real team.”
So yes, at least one NFL coach does know about people’s fantasy teams. He just doesn’t care. Then again, Shanahan isn’t forthcoming at the best of times, so he might just enjoy this.
The San Francisco 49ers have made clear that the starting quarterback job belongs to Jimmy Garoppolo, at least in 2021. That does not mean No. 3 overall pick Trey Lance isn’t going to have a role.
Coach Kyle Shanahan admitted Friday that Lance would definitely get playing time in 2021, though the coach reasserted that Lance was not going to start. Shanahan did say that Lance would get plays, and the team wanted to prepare him for anything.
Shanahan has been hard to pin down on Lance. For instance, the rookie took snaps with the starters this week one day after Shanahan said that was not in his plans. The coach claimed it was to prepare the offense for possible special packages involving Lance. It may be that Shanahan wants to keep the hype from getting out of control, or maybe Lance is progressing faster than he anticipated.
Earlier reports indicated that the 49ers want to unleash Lance in unique ways this season. This is the closest Shanahan has come to admitting to that.
Trey Lance has supposedly spent more time studying the San Francisco 49ers’ playbook this offseason than any other player on the roster, but head coach Kyle Shanahan seems skeptical of the metric that was used to determine that.
Peter King wrote about Lance and San Francisco’s quarterback situation in his weekly column for NBC Sports on Monday. He said the Niners gave every player an iPad with the team’s playbook loaded on it, and the team has an internal server that allows them to see how often a player logs in. Lance has registered the most minutes, according to King.
Shanahan told reporters on Monday that he was unaware of how many minutes any individual player had logged. He then joked about how easy it would be to open the playbook and put it aside, making it look like a player was working harder than they actually were.
That continues a theme of Shanahan seemingly going out of his way to keep the Lance hype under control. He was also asked on Monday about the rookie splitting first-team reps with Jimmy Garoppolo, and he said that is not going to happen anytime soon.
“No, we’re not splitting reps up,” Shanahan said, via David Lombardi of The Athletic. “I thought Trey had one of his better days Saturday, but that’s nothing to move him up there with Jimmy or anything like that.”
The 49ers obviously believe Lance can be their starting quarterback sooner rather than later. That is evident with the aggressive plan they have in place for him during training camp. It is also evident that Shanahan wants the No. 3 overall pick to earn everything.