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Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Shanahan says Jimmy Garoppolo is ‘just getting started’

Jul 24, 2020 at 2:01 PM--

In any interview with San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan, a question or two about his quarterback eventually comes up. After all, the media has been quick to toss much of the blame for February's Super Bowl loss on Jimmy Garoppolo's shoulders.

The offseason flirtation with the idea of potentially adding Tom Brady gave the media even more ammo in the assault on the 49ers' signal-caller.

Chris Simms of NBC Sports got his close friend, Shanahan, to return to his Chris Simms Unbuttoned podcast, which is an interesting hour-long interview, if you have the time. Simms asked the 49ers coach what he will try to preach to Garoppolo entering the 2020 season.

"My [message] to Jimmy is that you're just getting started," Shanahan responded. "Last year was your first year playing quarterback for a whole season. You never had longer than a [five]-game stretch. Last year, you got 16, and look how good you did. Look how far we got. And, oh my God, we almost got all the way."

How strong was Garoppolo's 2019 campaign? He passed for 3,978 yards during the regular season, which ranks fourth all-time in franchise history. Only two quarterbacks, Steve Young and Jeff Garcia, have thrown for more yards in a single season.

"But that's not the finished product, and that's how I feel about everything," Shanahan continued. "I feel it about myself. I feel it about our team. Like, guys, we didn't just almost get there; we're still going, and you have to get better.

"And what I like about our team is, when I'm talking about Jimmy, how can he not get better? He's played one season. That's just the starting point."

Shanahan feels it's not just Garoppolo who has room for improvement. The 49ers' wide receivers can get better. Even the defensive line can get better. Everyone can improve. That's how the team will compete for a championship.

"With Jimmy, I know everyone thinks he's been in the league so long because he's gotten the second contract and everything," Shanahan added, "but quarterbacks with his ability, they get better the more they play, and the more situations they're in. And that's the key for Jimmy is just to know that and keep doing it."

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