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49ers Notebook: It’s the Jimmy G show, again

© Chris Coduto-USA TODAY Sports

Well, it’s Jimmy Garoppolo’s job again. Kyle Shanahan has always maintained that’s been the case, but for a fleeting moment, there was the Trey Lance experience, in all it’s chaotic glory. That experience may yet return this season, but it will not be this week.

Practice report

There was no sign of Trey Lance at 49ers practice on Monday, and there won’t be on Wednesday. Kyle Shanahan said Lance is likely out until next week.

“We’re hoping he can go on this week. It doesn’t look like it,” Shanahan said. “Might have a chance at the end of the week but I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s not ready to go until next week.”

Meanwhile, Jimmy Garoppolo is back and limited. Garoppolo said his calf is “feeling good, feeling real good.”

Here’s what the practice report will look like:

Won’t practice:

  • Trey Lance (knee sprain)
  • Trent Williams (elbow, ankle) – the ankle injury is new
  • Javon Kinlaw (knee) – more on Kinlaw below


  • Jimmy Garoppolo (calf)


  • K’Waun Williams (calf)


  • Marcell Harris (broken finger) – Shanahan said he’s on the way back from the doctor to get a cast put on, won’t know his status until he returns.
  • JaMycal Hasty (ankle)

Javon Kinlaw’s frustrations

With DeForest Buckner returning to town, it’s an apropos time to revisit the decision to draft Javon Kinlaw, who had some known knee issues in college.

Kinlaw was extremely raw coming out of South Carolina, but his upside was monumental. His get off was unparalleled, and in combination with his size and strength, made him arguably the best interior defensive line prospect in the draft.

But he has been held back by knee injuries and multiple offseason complications with a knee injury he sustained at the end of last season. Kyle Shanahan said Wednesday it was a “bad injury that we thought would heal up fast,” but that it did not, and now he’s suffered another setback.

Shanahan said Kinlaw hasn’t been able to play with the type of burst and style he’s used to because of the injury.

“The whole year he’s been managing it, and that’s why he’s been frustrated,” Shanahan said. “No one’s upset with Kinlaw right now. It’s been unfortunate with what’s happened in the setbacks with some of the surgeries and stuff. When you think it’s right and then it just hasn’t been out there on the field so we’ve had to really manage it throughout training camp, throughout the season, hoping that would get it better and it just hasn’t so far.”

That pattern will have to change, Shanahan said, because it’s robbing Kinlaw of his development.

“It’s extremely difficult,” Shanahan said. “That’s why we got to get his knee better so he has a chance to develop and turn into the player that we know he is.”

Garoppolo-Lance dichotomy

One of the great questions for Kyle Shanahan was whether, in drafting Trey Lance, he’d adapt his offense to fit Lance’s skillset, or if he’d largely stick to his system and let Lance adapt.

Offensive coordinator Mike McDaniel indicated that he and Shanahan tried to find a balance of that this offseason, saying that the greatest challenge was creating an offense that worked for quarterbacks.

But in doing so, there’s a threat that by trying to create this all-encompassing system, the 49ers are actually being less accommodating to both quarterbacks. The counter to this is that by trying to create two separate systems, the rest of the offense will be caught in no-man’s land, putting too much on their shoulders.

After a third-straight loss in a game in which the offense lost 55 yards to penalties — the most in Shanahan’s tenure — and some missed reads, it’s evident that the approach hasn’t borne fruit.

Shanahan said Wednesday, in response to this quote (below) from 2018, that it’s better to have two quarterbacks who are similar, and that you have to commit to one system.

Shanahan affirmed that on Wednesday, while also saying that the 49ers did not tailor a system for Lance. He credited Lance, a 21-year-old rookie with one full year of college football experience in the Missouri Valley Conference, as being highly adaptable.

“That’s the big thing — it’s one reason I really like Trey. I don’t think you have to do a totally different offense,” Shanahan said. “I think Trey can add a lot to your offense, and he can do a lot of different things that you might not be able to do with a guy who doesn’t have the athletic ability in terms of running like Trey does, but you don’t have to do a whole new offense. But you got to give the guys a chance to develop a few different things, but you never want to get away from your foundation.”


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