>> 49ers QB Garop­polo down­play­ing hype.

The 49ers’new start­ing QB rel­ishes the com­par­i­son to Montana, but in eth­nic­ity only

Honolulu Star-Advertiser - - SPORTS - By Josh Dubow

SANTA CLARA, CALIF. >> Things have been so bleak for San Fran­cisco in re­cent years that one suc­cess­ful start by the fran­chise quar­ter­back of the fu­ture was enough to get the 49ers faith­ful dream­ing big.

Jimmy Garop­polo is al­ready be­ing com­pared to greats such as Joe Montana by the fans and talk radio shows af­ter win­ning his first start for San Fran­cisco, praise he quickly tried to down­play.

“I try not to lis­ten to any of the out­side stuff. The Joe Montana com­par­i­son, I think it’s a lit­tle early for those. It’s only been one game,” Garop­polo said Wed­nes­day be­fore agree­ing with one sim­i­lar­ity with the Hall of Famer who won four Su­per Bowl ti­tles for the 49ers.

“We are both Ital­ian. So, we have that in com­mon. But, I think it might be a lit­tle early.”

Nin­ers fans can be for­given a bit for the high level of ex­cite­ment be­cause of how dread­ful the team has been in re­cent years. Af­ter three straight trips to the NFC ti­tle game and one Su­per Bowl ap­pear­ance un­der Jim Har­baugh from 2011 to ’13, the fran­chise has been in a free-fall.

Har­baugh was fired af­ter an eight-win sea­son in 2014 and then Jim Tom­sula and Chip Kelly each had oneyear tenures and a com­bined 7-25 record as the team got sub­par quar­ter­back play from Colin Kaepernick and Blaine Gab­bert.

The hire of of­fen­sive mas­ter­mind Kyle Shanahan brought some op­ti­mism this sea­son, but there was lit­tle tan­gi­ble ev­i­dence of im­prove­ment on the field with Brian Hoyer and C.J. Beathard at quar­ter­back, lead­ing the team to trade a 2018 sec­ond-round pick for Garop­polo on Oct. 31.

Garop­polo looked sharp in lead­ing the Nin­ers (2-10) to a 15-14 win at Chicago last Sun­day, only rais­ing the hype.

“To come in there in that sit­u­a­tion and to make some of the plays that he did, when he is in that sit­u­a­tion, def­i­nitely ex­cites ev­ery­body,” Shanahan said.

“I think ev­ery­one knows the po­ten­tial and the pos­si­bil­i­ties. It’s not that you have to tem­per, you just have to be re­al­is­tic. It was one game. He did some re­ally good things in that game and there’s a lot of stuff that we can get bet­ter at too from that game.”

Garop­polo went 26-for-37 for 293 yards in his third ca­reer start, with his only in­ter­cep­tion com­ing on a pass that was on tar­get to Louis Mur­phy but ripped loose by safety Kyle Fuller.

Garop­polo also took only two sacks and man­aged the game well de­spite still learn­ing a new of­fense. About the only knock on him was an in­abil­ity to get into the end zone as San Fran­cisco set­tled for five field goals.

All of those kicks came on drives the 49ers made into the red zone, but failed to score a touch­down.

“We kind of knew that’s one of the tougher ar­eas of the field,” Garop­polo said. “That and third down are al­ways go­ing to take some time. But, there’s some good things to learn from.”

With Garop­polo hav­ing now played a full game, putting to­gether a game plan is an eas­ier process for Shanahan, who has a bet­ter idea of what plays work well with his new quar­ter­back and what he strug­gles at do­ing.

Garop­polo will be com­fort­able run­ning even more plays this week and the game plan will be able to be even more tai­lored to his strengths.

“You can talk about that stuff a lot, but you don’t truly know un­til you go into a game,” Shanahan said. “He doesn’t know the process of how we do it. He knows one thing and we’re wait­ing to see how it goes to­gether. I thought it was a good first start.”


The per­for­mance by Jimmy Garop­polo in his first game as a starter has 49ers fans think­ing pos­i­tive thoughts.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.