© Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
SANTA CLARA – After the conclusion of their practice on Tuesday, the 49ers headed to the airport and then Denver, Colorado for their second preseason game, and first set of joint practices with the Broncos. The defense, at least, will feel good heading into the second half of this week. Jimmy Garoppolo? Not so much.
Horror show from Jimmy Garoppolo
Through 13 pass plays, Garopolo was 9-for-13. Then, on a pass thrown too far for an outstretched Ross Dwelley, the nightmare stretch began. The ball tipped off Dwelley’s hands and into those of safety Jaquiski Tartt. Following a seven-play set from Nick Mullens, Garoppolo came back, this time going deep to Matt Breida on the far sideline with Tarvarius Moore in coverage. The pass was woefully underthrown, to the point that Breida had no chance to make a play on the ball, and Moore effectively fielded a pooch punt for an interception.
Following a lame set from C.J. Beathard which featured Tyree Mayfield’s second drop in 10 snaps, Garoppolo came back out… to throw his third-straight interception. Garoppolo targeted Dwelley again, underthrowing the pass and allowing Richard Sherman to snag an easy one.
Then came the worst stretch and the worst play of the day. After his third-straight interception, Garoppolo took a snap and stared down Dante Pettis for his entire route. At no point on that route was Pettis open, and at no point did Garoppolo look at his reads on the other side of the field. He stared down Pettis and threw a lofted ball up with Pettis behind Ahkello Witherspoon, who plucked it gracefully from the air and would have had a nice return.
The next play wasn’t much better. Garoppolo looked for Dwelley yet again, this time over the middle of the field, where Moore was watching and waiting. He jumped the route with ease for his second interception of the day.
Garoppolo did sort of recover, coming back out (following a false start) with a screen pass touchdown to Jalen Hurd, followed by a nice fake screen and shovel pass touchdown to Kyle Juszczyk. By the end of that series, Garoppolo was 11-for-20 with 2 TDs (a screen and a shovel pass) and 5 INTs (one tipped).
In his final set – a one-minute, down 14-13 with the ball at the 45-yard line situation – Garoppolo led off with a ball tipped at the line by one of the very large defensive linemen in (it was one of Arik Armstead, DeForest Buckner or Damontre Moore), and hung in the air for an amount of time that would spook any head coach in a game situation. After an overthrown incompletion to a tiring Marquise Goodwin, he completed first down-worthy passes to Jordan Matthews and Dante Pettis.
Following a spike with 29 seconds on the clock, he hit Matthews on the near sideline for another first down and a clock-stopping catch out of bounds. He connected with Goodwin at the 6-yard line before a ball which he wisely threw away, and a deep corner incompletion to Pettis. His final play was nearly Tartt’s second interception of the day. He jumped the route and got a hand on it, but Matthews managed to come back to force enough pressure to turn it into a bobbling ball, which Matthews caught at the 1-yard line.
Kyle Shanahan acknowledged the poor display after practice, saying, “He threw it to the wrong team five plays in a row… the defense did great today and obviously he struggled. You hope to never have a day like that, but I don’t think it’s never not happened to anyone. When you do that, you hope you can practice long enough and give him a chance to play out of it and use it as an opportunity that hopefully you can do in a game…You try to protect them in a game. But in practice it’s the exact opposite. When there’s an issue, you kind of poke at it a little bit more to see how guys react.”
Kyle Shanahan on Jimmy Garoppolo’s five-straight interceptions: “He threw it to the wrong team five plays in a row.” pic.twitter.com/mewideDwGq
— KNBR (@KNBR) August 14, 2019
Injuries, updates, and the plan for Denver
Here’s a look at who returned to the field on Wednesday, who was (or remained) out, and what Shanahan is tentatively planning for the team’s joint practices and August 19 preseason game against the Broncos. This is an abbreviated list of updates following Tuesday’s practice. For Tuesday’s full report, click here.
Back on field:
- Jimmie Ward put pads on for the time on Wednesday, but was not involved in contact drills. He likely won’t practice in Denver in contact drills. As Shanahan put it, “… we’re trying to ease him in to when he can hit. We know Jimmie is going to hit every single second he has a chance to so we’ve got to protect him from himself a little bit.”
- Ronald Blair III came back for padded drills after dealing with a groin injury, but was not involved, or at least not heavily, in 11-on-11s.
- Deebo Samuel was not injured, but had a personal day yesterday, and was in Greenville, South Carolina. He was back in full practice on Wednesday.
- C.J. Beathard was back from a sore thumb he sustained in Saturday’s preseason game
Out of practice:
- George Kittle remained out with calf tightness and is day-to-day
- Levine Toilolo is day-to-day with shoulder soreness and likely won’t practice in Denver
- Dre Greenlaw picked up a “stinger” and practiced in individual drills with no pads on in a blue jersey on Wendesday
- Jullian Taylor was out with a stiff back
- Dee Ford, who had a plasma-rich platelet injection for his knee tendinitis, is “close” and will practice with the team when they travel to Kansas City for their third preseason game on August 24
- Nick Bosa was at least out of a walking boot and doing some individual workouts on Wednesday, but his timeline does not appear to have changed
Denver plans and talent evaluation:
- Shanahan is not optimistic that Broncos head coach Vic Fangio will play music for the pair of joint practices in Denver and will likely meet with Fangio Wednesday night. The team’s coordinators will “script” out the practices.
- As for talent evaluation, Shanahan acknowledged the unique opportunity that joint practices provide to see opposing teams practice:
“Yeah, always. I think you should always use these opportunities as an advantage to learn other teams and things like that as much as you can. Not just knowing each other, but also scouts, everyone. It helps you for trade possibilities, but it also helps you, I mean, each year, guys eventually become free agents and sometimes it’s nice to see how guys work and things like that as opposed to watching guys on game tape. It’s nice to see how guys practice and things like that. So, it’s always good to be around other people in this league, because it’s a pretty close fraternity and usually your paths cross more than once.”