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Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Steve Young feels 49ers’ Kyle Shanahan and Jimmy Garoppolo still need to develop their relationship

Feb 6, 2020 at 4:51 PM--

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It's been four days since the San Francisco 49ers' devastating loss in Super Bowl LIV. There has been a lot of blame to pass around. Some have directed it toward quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, who completed just 3 of 11 passes for 36 yards, an interception, and a passer rating of 2.8 in the fourth quarter. Others have pointed toward head coach Kyle Shanahan and his questionable game management.

Ron Kroichick of the San Francisco Chronicle caught up with Hall of Fame quarterback Steve Young on Thursday at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am to get his opinion. The 49ers legend believes the quarterback and coach still have work to do developing their in-game relationship and pointed toward the closing minute of the first half as evidence of that.

"I think he and Kyle have to work on their dance step," Young told Kroichick. "The thing before halftime doesn't make sense to me. If I was the quarterback, and you just let the clock drain away, what are you saying to me?

"That's just me. I understand you want to drain a little bit of time, so you don't have to give it back to Patrick Mahomes. I get that, but how about some time for me? That tells me there's an ongoing relationship that needs to be developed, a trust maybe that needs to be worked on."

The 49ers got the football back with just 59 seconds remaining in the first half, after choosing not to preserve the clock by using a timeout. Shanahan called two run plays to start the drive, which combined for five yards. The coach still held onto his timeouts and let the game clock run.

There was a big 42-yard pass to George Kittle that likely would have given the 49ers some points had the play not been negated by a controversial offensive pass interference penalty on the tight end. Instead of taking the lead, the 49ers settled for a 10-10 tie at halftime.

"Look, I always put myself on the field," Young continued. "How would I feel? And I would feel like, 'Hey, wait a second, put the ball in my hands.' So those two have to figure out how to continue to build off what they've done."

Young also commented on Garoppolo's long-term future as the 49ers' franchise quarterback and the critics who think they know what his future holds.

"Jimmy doesn't know his ceiling," Young said. "Just keep playing, and it works itself out over time. People say, 'I know his ceiling.' No, you don't, because Jimmy doesn't even know it, and Kyle doesn't either. You can think you know, but it needs to play out."

Shanahan offered a vote of confidence for his quarterback on Thursday, saying he feels the same way about him after Sunday as he did before. The coach feels Garoppolo was potentially minutes away from being named the Super Bowl MVP, if not for the late-game collapse.

"I think Jimmy's one of the main reasons we got to the Super Bowl," Shanahan said. "I think he overcame a lot. This is his first year in his career going through an entire NFL season. ... I think he had a hell of a first year, truly playing the position, especially coming off an ACL (injury), where you have to fight through that a ton as a quarterback, where your rhythm and everything is not there at the beginning of the year.

"For him to be like that and to not let the pressure get to him and improve as the year went, I think it says a ton about Jimmy. I can't tell you how much I loved coaching the guy as a player and a person this year."

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