On a beautiful Thursday morning in Southern California, the San Francisco 49ers and the Los Angeles Chargers met for the first of two joint practices ahead of their Sunday preseason match-up. It was a day of news, a familiar face, an apology and, of course, quarterback talk.
“They’re competing their assess off,” Shanahan said of his QBs 1 and 2. “They’re doing a good job. It’s not about one guy versus the other guy. It’s about how good can Trey be, how good can Jimmy be. I think both of them, when you go through camp, you go through games, you go through practices, it’s up and down throughout the whole thing. So that’s why I don’t sit and go ‘Who’s ahead of the other, what’s going on,’ after each practice. They both bring different elements to our team. Both of them, I believe, can play at a high level and I’m trying to see which one does that the best for us.
Let’s take a look.
That QB Competition
49ers’ head coach Kyle Shanahan has been pretty clear that his plan is for quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo to be San Francisco’s Week 1 starter. That being said, the question of whether or not rookie QB Trey Lance can overtake Garoppolo, and when, is the most asked.
“I get why it’s fun and that’s a decision that everyone interested in,” Shanahan said. “I can’t make it about that. I’m just really excited that, I think we’ve always had a quarterback like Jimmy who can give you the chance to win the Super Bowl. And when he hasn’t been in, we’ve really struggled. And I also think the drafted a guy who can get there also. And yeah, that makes me very excited. However that plays out, whatever gives us the best chance to win, is definitely what I’m trying to focus on. I’m also excited that I think we have some depth there too, where regardless of what happens I know we have other answers.”
Garoppolo started the day sharp, going 8-of-9 in full-team drills. After that, he had a couple of passes almost intercepted and a pass intended for wide receiver Richie James actually intercepted. One of his better passes of the day was a 50-yarder to WR Travis Benjamin.
Meanwhile, Lance had two touchdown passes in team drills, one to TE Ross Dwelley and one to WR Jauan Jennings, but the rookie QB was under pressure much of the day, taking more than one would-be sack.
“I challenge the offensive line big time, but I’m also going to challenge [Lance] to get rid of the ball,” Shanahan said. “You got to know where those outlets are and how to get rid of it. He didn’t have the most time in everything, but it’s kind of our standard with things and how fast you’ve got to play and how not just athletically, but with your mind, you can’t hesitate. You got to get rid of it because you get a sack in a two minute, look at the percentages, it’s pretty much over. And it’s not going to be a lot of great protection there. So, it’s good to give him some of this experience without being in a game. So, we’re just going to keep challenging him hard…”
Shanahan indicated that he would like Lance to get more first-team reps. Thus far, all of Lance’s reps with the starters have all been for zone-read run plays.
“I’d like him to get some reps with the ones eventually,” Shanahan said. “I kind of reevaluate that after each practice. Not just so he can get with our ones, but also, so he can go against the one defense and stuff. So, we’ll see if we do some of that tomorrow. If I do, it’d be more trying to get him some reps versus [Chargers DE Joey] Bosa and [Chargers S] Derwin [James], and some other guys too, because there’s definitely a difference.”
Just as at any other practice, the quarterbacks are supposed to be untouchable, but the elder Bosa forgot for a second.
On a 3rd-and-12 play during two-minute drills, Bosa swatted the ball out of Garoppolo’s hands. But he felt bad about it.
“He said, ‘Sorry,’ as he passed me,” Garoppolo said after practice. “He sounds just like Nick. It was kind of funny. You’re upset at the time, then you hear him say, ‘Sorry, Jim’…It’s just a Bosa thing, I guess.”
— Tracy Sandler (@49ersfangirl) August 19, 2021
The blunder was not lost on 49ers’ head coach Kyle Shanahan, who joked, “Our Bosa didn’t hit their ball today. I don’t know why he did that.”
In fairness, Nick Bosa did not participate in team drills, as he continues to rehab the torn ACL he sustained in Week 2 of the 2020 season. The 2019 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year is on track for the 49ers’ Week One contest with the Detroit Lions.
The 49ers’ offensive line had an additional coach today in the form of former San Francisco offensive lineman Joe Staley.
“Yesterday was his first day working,” Shanahan said. “It was our off day and he was so amped up. He was kind of annoying us all day, wanting to do more. But I’m pumped that he’s here. He’s passionate about football. He loves football. It’ll be nice to have him in the room. He’s never been on this side before, so he’s probably going to be a little sensitive realizing how we’re not always nice with what we say behind closed doors, but we’ll see how he does. I know he’ll be opinionated and I’m just pumped to have him.”
This week is an opportunity for Staley, who retired after the 2019 season, to see just how much he would enjoy coaching
“He’s going to be here this week,” Shanahan said. “He lives pretty close to here so he just wanted to come up with the week and try to see what coaching is about. And I know he’s got a passion for it and I know he wants to be around football. He wants to he decide if he wants to work this many hours before he jumps into it with his family. So, he’ll get a look at that this week.”
- LT Trent Williams had swelling in his knee, which was drained. He will be out for a week, but the 49ers expect him back for their final preseason game on August 29.
- CB Emmanuel Moseley tweaked his hamstring earlier this week and will be out a week.
- WR Jalen Hurd is dealing with knee tendinitis.