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After his ‘worst game,’ Shanahan defends Garoppolo, reaffirms him as starter

© Chris Coduto-USA TODAY Sports

If you were hoping for a change, or maybe a reason to get excited about the 49ers, after Sunday’s taxing loss, you are in the wrong place. Kyle Shanahan is sticking with Jimmy Garoppolo at quarterback.

On Monday, Shanahan said he didn’t wholeheartedly confirm Garoppolo as the starter after the game because he wasn’t sure how Garoppolo’s calf would be. After assessing it Monday, Shanahan said it “was good today” and that Garoppolo will start.

Trey Lance, if he practices this week and is active, will have opportunities to play on select downs.

Shanahan said the coaching staff didn’t approach the Colts game as Garoppolo being one bad game away from losing his job. While Lance is the future, he’s not the present, apparently. Via Shanahan:

I know we didn’t go into that game thinking that Jimmy was one bad game away from losing a job or anything like that. Jimmy didn’t play as good as he could, which, he knows that I know that. I think those are pretty hard circumstances for him, for both quarterbacks, considering some of the weather, but I definitely thought he could have played better.

But that was not a game where he has one bad game and he’s losing his job.

We know Trey’s the future here and trying to do what’s best for him and for our team. Trey’s coming off a pretty big injury and we’re gonna keep bringing him along and keep getting him prepared as good as you can be to always be ready to come in and help on the plays that we ask him to do, and always be ready to take over if Jimmy gets hurt and being ready to be the future for us, too.”

Why does Shanahan feel like Garoppolo gives the 49ers the best chance to win? He pointed to the first game of the season and what he called “some unbelievable plays” against the Packers.

Well, before he said all that, he started his answer by saying that Garoppolo’s performance on Sunday his worst of the season.

I thought Jimmy had his worst game yesterday. I thought Jimmy’s done some good things in the three-and-a-half games that he’s played.

If you remember, he had some pretty good things in our first game, getting us up to a 41-17 lead. I think he came back and made some unbelievable plays to give us the lead with 30 seconds left versus Green Bay on Sunday Night Football, which, minus two unbelievable plays from Aaron, I thought he did what a good quarterback should do leading you down there and getting a big score on a number of passes.”

And then he got hurt, early in the game vs. Seattle. He just got his first game back last night in that monsoon and it didn’t go very good for any of us.”

Again, he reaffirmed that there is no open quarterback competition.

His counter to the idea of getting rookies like Lance experience now by playing them is that it’s not something you do until you’re eliminated from playoff contention, and the 49ers are nowhere near being eliminated from the playoffs right now. They have to be the best option to play.

Shanahan’s example, as has always been the case when he talks about comeback seasons, was in 2012, when he was with the Washington Football Team. They were 3-6 entering their Week 10 bye, and proceeded to win seven-straight games.

Their quarterback was Robert Griffin III, a man who Shanahan and his father, Mike, disliked so much as a prospect that they also drafted Kirk Cousins, who Kyle Shanahan raves about frequently.

In response to the criticism over Garoppolo, Shanahan said quarterbacks aren’t like pitchers, and that win-loss records aren’t fair to quarterbacks.


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