'Every day gets easier': Jimmy Garoppolo digesting dense 49ers playbook

Matt Barrows, The Sacramento Bee on

Published in Football

SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- The biggest non-football development in Jimmy Garoppolo's life: He's been able to procure a rental car.

"They were giving me rides and everything in the first week," the 49ers quarterback told reporters gathered around his locker on Wednesday.

Of course, it's not as if he has a lot of new and exciting places to go. If he wasn't asleep at the team hotel, he's been at the 49ers practice facility trying to digest as much of Kyle Shanahan's playbook as possible.

Garoppolo, who arrived in Santa Clara on Oct. 31, learned enough for a plastic wristband worth of plays on Sunday that allowed him to serve as C.J. Beathard's backup. He listened to the play calls over his headset throughout the game and admitted that some of the things he heard made sense, others did not.

"Every day you try to progress," Garoppolo said. "What you learn the day before you try to just retain that and make it a habit. I think every day gets easier, but then there's new stuff every day also. It's a constant learning process."

The hope this week is that his wristband grows a little more dense.

Will he play? Shanahan said that as the week of practice got underway on Wednesday the plan was for Beathard to make his fourth consecutive start. But Shanahan continues to leave himself plenty of wiggle room for Garoppolo's debut.

"Hopefully it's sooner than later, but again I'm not setting a date on it," he said.

At least one interested party said he's "kind of expecting" the newcomer to make an appearance Sunday afternoon.

"Just being an offensive coach and a guy that's spent a lot of time in the quarterback room, you get a guy like (Garoppolo) you want to get him out there and give him a few reps as soon as possible," said Giants coach Ben McAdoo.

Speaking on a conference call Wednesday, McAdoo noted that he was an assistant with the Green Bay Packers when starting quarterback Aaron Rodgers suffered injuries in 2010 and 2013 and that the team had to scramble to get backups up to speed quickly.

"Obviously Kyle is an offensive mastermind and knows what he wants to do and get done," McAdoo said.


The Giants might make a good test for Garoppolo. Their pass defense ranks 29th and their 13 sacks is tied for 28th. Only the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, with eight, have fewer.

Shanahan admitted that he was excited about his new acquisition and eager to see him in action. But he said he had to temper those emotions with the reality that Garoppolo still doesn't know a lot of the offense.

Shanahan noted that Garoppolo could have played against the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday. But it would have been an entirely different set of calls than the original game plan and would have been curtailed further after fullback Kyle Juszczyk, slot receiver Trent Taylor and tight end Cole Hikutini left the game with injuries.

"I mean, you're changing an entire game plan on the sideline from the first quarter on," he said. "That would be very tough for a guy who's been at three practices."

Beathard, meanwhile, absorbed 16 hits by a Cardinals defense that blitzed liberally and dared the rookie to beat them.

He acknowledged feeling more sore than normal on Monday and Tuesday, but said he was better on Wednesday and ready for another start on Sunday. He also said that some of the hits he took against the Cardinals were his responsibility.

Said Beathard: "I'll definitely try to do that better, get the ball out, not take some of those unnecessary hits that I don't need to take."

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