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Jimmy Garoppolo still looking to establish chemistry with 49ers offense but says ‘It’s getting better’

Sep 30, 2022 at 5:35 PM--

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49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo says he's still looking to get on the same page with the rest of the 49ers offense after being away for most of the offseason and preseason but that things are getting better, slowly but surely.

Garoppolo raised a few eyebrows after the 49ers' 11-10 loss to the Denver Broncos in Week 3 when he said he was still looking to get in game shape and still trying to establish chemistry with his teammates on offense following an offseason that saw him sidelined due to shoulder surgery and a preseason where he was working and rehabbing separately from the team while awaiting word on a possible trade. He spoke more about that subject after practice Thursday, saying the chemistry still isn't where it needs to be but the offense is making progress.

"It's getting there... I'm never fully happy during the week," Garoppolo said. "There's always things to improve. Just coming off the field right now, we've got things we can be better at."

While Garoppolo has a good deal of familiarity with a number of players on the 49ers' offense, there are also several changes that took place over the offseason that he's still getting accustomed to. Among the players Garoppolo didn't get to work with in previous seasons are a handful of rookies in wide receiver Danny Gray, running backs Ty Davis-Price and Jordan Mason, and guard Spencer Burford, along with a free agent signing in wide receiver Ray-Ray McCloud. Plus there's also a new quarterbacks coach in Brian Griese, while a number of other coaches are in new spots on the offensive staff as well.

Garoppolo says things are moving in the right direction with the offense but there's still a good amount of work to do.

"It's just about getting on the same page with these guys -- different group, some new coaches this year," Garoppolo said. "As an offense we've got to get on the same page, everyone get in rhythm, all be pulling the same direction. It takes time. It's one of those things where each day you can tell it's getting better, but we've got a ways to go."

There was always question over the offseason about when (or even if) the 49ers would trade Garoppolo given their decision to move forward with Trey Lance at quarterback, but even with that uncertainty he could have chosen to participate in offseason workouts if his shoulder was healthy. The surgery prevented Garoppolo from taking that option and sidelined him until the start of training camp, which means he's still playing catch-up four weeks into the regular season.

"I think it's more just the surgery kind of pushed things back, didn't get the normal OTAs, training camp," Garoppolo said. "I'm not trying to make excuses by any means; I've got to get the job done. It's just one of those things you're dealing with."

Garoppolo still seems to be working on getting his shoulder in top physical condition as well. He mentioned after the loss to the Broncos (Garoppolo's first start at quarterback since the season-ending injury to Lance) that he was feeling the effects of a full game of passes, and on Thursday he said he's been taking steps towards getting his endurance where he wants it to be.

"It's getting better," Garoppolo said. "It's one of things (where) it's tough in the season to obviously replicate things you would do in the offseason, but just try to get it better every day, get it stronger, more endurance too it, all the little things."

Garoppolo's words after the loss to the Broncos might not have sat well with every 49ers fan, with perhaps some of them thinking he was deflecting blame from a shaky performance that saw him finish with 211 yards passing, one touchdown, one interception, one lost fumble, and one safety. But he says he's more than willing to take the blame for how things go on offense, regardless of whatever he's working through at the moment.

"It starts with the quarterback," Garoppolo said. "It always does and always will. I just try to call things as I see it, to keep it real. That's how I've always been and that's how I'll always be. But yeah, rightfully so, it starts with me. No matter what, good bad or indifferent, whatever happens out there, the quarterback and the center are the two guys touching the ball every play. So whether it's good, bad or indifferent, it's on us. It starts with me, obviously. I would always take that. Always have, always will."

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