Today’s MRI on Jimmy Garoppolo’s left knee confirmed what the San Francisco 49ers feared yesterday – the quarterback tore his ACL and is out for the season.
“I’m extremely excited about Jimmy being here next year,” head coach Kyle Shanahan said today. “Jimmy is a very talented quarterback. He’s played at a high level in the games that he has played. It’s very unfortunate. I’m not going to sugarcoat it. It was hard waking up today. We were down, disappointed about it because we were looking forward to a lot playing with Jimmy this year and going through the good and the bad that would happen, knowing that he would benefit from all of it. Now, we don’t get to do that. I know Jimmy is really down about it. So are we. But, we’re still going to be alright. This is part of the league. It’s part of the NFL. It’s part of life.”
— Tracy Sandler (@49ersfangirl) September 25, 2018
That it is and now C.J. Beathard, who started five games for the 49ers last season, is the next man up. The second year quarterback delivered the Niners first win of 2017 but he did so with a 69.2% quarterback rating, four touchdowns and six interceptions on the season.
“There’s no reason to harp on it to be totally honest with you,” fullback Kyle Juszczyk said after Sunday’s loss to the Chiefs. “We’ve got to move forward. We know C.J. can get the job done. C.J.’s extremely talented and guys are going to rally behind him.”
Though Beathard will start and the plan is to promote Nick Mullens from the practice squad to be his backup, the 49ers will work out a number of veteran quarterbacks this week, including Tom Savage and Kellen Clemens. T.J. Yates and Matt Moore may be traveling to Santa Clara as well.
“[Beathard] got a lot of experience last year,” Shanahan said. “He got thrown into as tough of a situation as I could imagine putting a rookie quarterback in. The guy didn’t blink. He had a lot of ups and downs throughout his time playing. I thought he started out very well, went through a little bit of a slump in the middle and I thought he ended very well, especially with the win that we got versus the Giants. C.J. is as tough and fearless as any quarterback I’ve ever been around. He’s got the arm talent to make every throw. He’s extremely smart. I know he’s the type of guy that I know our team believes in, also.”
If there’s any positive here, it’s that Garoppolo won’t go through this process alone. For better or worse, he will have a recovery friend in running back Jerick McKinnon, who tore his ACL a week before the season started.
“That’s the only good news that Jimmy and I could talk about on the plane,” Shanahan said. “At least he’s got a buddy to go through it with. Unfortunately, both of them are going through it. But, they’re both in the same boat. I know Jerick, I think, texted him and sent him a picture of his knee right after the game. Just said, ‘Looking forward to having a wingman,’ or something…They can keep each other up, help each other when each other are down…We know they’re going to be around and involved in a lot of stuff, but I really look forward to having both of them next year.”
It will be a week or so before Garoppolo can start receiving treatment on his knee, Shanahan said, because there is still too much swelling.
For the 49ers, it’s back to work on Wednesday and then on to LA to take on the Chargers on Sunday.