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Garoppolo’s ability to read defenses should speed up 49ers’ short passing game



So far, most of the discussion on the transition from C.J. Beathard to Jimmy Garoppolo has concentrated on what Garoppolo doesn’t have.
He doesn’t know the offense, he can’t call out entire plays, he will need an abbreviated call sheet, the 49ers will likely have to pare down on shifts, motions and be restricted in the variety of personnel groups they use. But few have concentrated on what he does know, and that’s NFL defenses

Now in his fourth NFL season, Garoppolo has studied the league’s defenses for far longer than Beathard, and that’s allow him to read and get the ball out quicker than Beathard.

“He’s got a little more experience so he can read the coverages faster and he knows what he’s doing quicker,” running back Matt Breida said. Both Breida and fullback Kyle Juszczyk said with Garoppolo things happen faster and that’s partially because of Garoppolo’s quick release and stronger arm.

“The ball comes out quick, but as a pass catcher, you like that,” Juszczyk said. “There’s less time for you to worry about that DB creeping down your neck. That’s good, that’s just something you have to anticipate.”

Breida also said as a back, you have to turn to Garoppolo quicker on short throws, and Juszczyk mentioned that the ball is often in the air by the time he turns his head around.

One area where Beathard struggled at times was to short throws to the backs. Often the ball hung too long and Beathard was inaccurate sometimes on short throws. That seemed to improve, particularly against the Seahawks where Beathard seemed to be leading receivers with his short passes.

Garoppolo showed that tendency with a quick 8-yard out route to wide receiver Aldrick Robinson at the end of the Seattle game. Even while warming up in practice, it’s evident Garoppolo has a quicker release and more command of short passes than Beathard.

Breida said he and the team has also noticed the ability of the quarterbacks to work together, despite competing with each other and he says it’s been an inspiration.

“They work together like brothers,” Brieda said. “When the rest of the team sees that, it just makes us closer.”