Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

49ers’ Kyle Shanahan believes Jimmy Garoppolo is ‘fired up,’ capable of being one of the best ever

Jun 4, 2020 at 2:45 PM--

Jimmy Garoppolo doesn't spend a whole lot of time responding to or even listening to the outside noise during the offseason. If he did, he would have heard several in the media sharing their doubts surrounding the San Francisco 49ers quarterback and placing much of the blame for February's Super Bowl loss on his shoulders.

49ers teammates have come to their quarterback's defense this offseason because questions surrounding Garoppolo seem unavoidable.

Head coach Kyle Shanahan on Thursday spoke with local reporters for the first time since after the draft, doing so via a video conference call. Of course, the inevitable question about Garoppolo surfaced. The coach was asked how much his quarterback has progressed in his knowledge of the offense this offseason.

"I can tell his thoughts are a lot clearer because he's not worrying about an ACL and rehabbing. He's 100-percent focused and getting better mentally from knowing the offense from just knowing defense.

"It's not just, everyone says, learning the offense. Jimmy's learned the offense. He's fine with that. It's just being automatic. It's understanding coverages, going through everything where, I can't tell you how much more I know as a coach in year 17 or whatever than I did in year two. That never stops.

"So, to go through an offseason where you don't have to rehab the whole time, it gives you a chance to take that to another level."

Pointing only at Garoppolo's postseason play and fourth-quarter performance in the Super Bowl doesn't paint the whole picture. The quarterback had an impressive regular season campaign — his first full NFL season as a starter. He completed 69.1 percent of his passes for 3,978 yards with 27 touchdowns and 13 interceptions in 2019.

Garoppolo's single-season passing-yards total was the fourth most in franchise history. Only Steve Young (twice) and Jeff Garcia have thrown more in a single season.

Despite the impressive season, the 49ers flirted with the idea of possibly pursuing future Hall of Fame quarterback Tom Brady but ultimately decided that sticking with Garoppolo was best for the team.

"I think Jimmy's fired up for this year," Shanahan continued. "Last year was his first year to play a whole year, and he had a hell of a year and got us very close to winning the Super Bowl.

"When you have to talk to Jimmy about one of the best quarterbacks of all time being available, I know Jimmy has a goal to be that. I know Jimmy. I believe Jimmy has the ability to be that, and that's what both of us are going for. If we can get him there and he has the ability to do it, we're going to be pretty happy with who we have for a long time."

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