What went into naming QB Jimmy Garoppolo the quarterback yesterday?
“We decided it yesterday. I told the guys, so once we decided and told the guys we didn’t think we needed to keep it a secret all week. Basically, it’s a decision we had to look into each week. It definitely hasn’t been an easy decision. I’ve wanted to get a chance to see Jimmy play. I’ve also wanted a chance to let [QB] C.J. [Beathard] continue to. So, we’ve been trying to balance that out and also give Jimmy a chance to fully get ready. Like I’ve said throughout the whole time, the longer you wait, the more ready he’ll be. I wanted to wait a while to give C.J. a chance to be ready too and had to put him in a little bit before I wanted to. Same thing’s happened a little bit with Jimmy. Like I said, he won’t fully be there, I believe, until next year. But, with everything going the way it did, also with C.J. being not able to practice today and maybe not throughout the week, made the decision a little bit easier.”
Is that a situation where C.J. might not even be able to suit up on Sunday?
“Yeah, he might not be able to suit up. I’m being optimistic, and our trainers are and I know C.J. is, that he will be able to. He’s not going to practice today. I do think there’s a pretty good chance he’ll be able to get out there Thursday and Friday though. We’ll see how it goes. Hopefully he’ll heal enough that he can suit up and be the backup.”
Would this decision have been made even if C.J. were healthy?
“I don’t know. I can’t really speak in hypothetical. I knew it was going to be a tough decision anyways, but like I said, this made it a lot easier.”
How ready is Jimmy in terms of, do you have to pare back the playbook or is he further along than you might have--?
“Well, that’s the thing, when you go into the week with him as the starter knowing the playbook is this week. It’s not like a big inventory of our training camp and OTA system. It’s, what’s our game plan to beat Chicago? We put that in together all Monday night and Tuesday with the idea that we knew we were going to go with Jimmy. So, when we did that we put in a game plan that we thought he could do. By no means has he repped it all. That’s what starts today. We just did it in a walk through. But, this game plan is for Jimmy and he’ll work at it all week and whatever he doesn’t feel comfortable with and he doesn’t get down in these three practices, then we’ll take it out and whatever we’re going with Sunday, he’ll know 100 percent of it.”
He indicated the other day that he told you he wouldn’t need the wristband. Is that a possibility?
“I don’t know. We’ll see how the week goes. That really depends on how he feels. When you have an offseason together, there’s stuff I’ll challenge him with and it won’t be too hard because you have time and it will just happen naturally. But, I think the last thing you want to do as a coach is challenge a guy to do something that, you challenge somebody to do something they’ll get it done, but at the expense of what else? I want him to feel real comfortable going into this game. So, we’ll see how he feels at the end of the week.”
How much time have you spent with him over the last 48 hours just to try to grasp what he wants to do in terms of the game plan and have you noticed any change in his demeanor any?
“Not much. Jimmy is pretty, the month or so I’ve been around him, he’s pretty consistent in how he handles himself and how he acts. When I told him, I could see he was real excited and stuff like that. That pumped me up even more. Talking to him yesterday, I got to spend about an hour with him and then I went into my hole to game plan. He met most of the day with our quarterbacks coach. It’s also not him just meeting with us. He needs to get by himself and study and memorize words and watch it over and over again. So, he’s back and forth with being with [quarterbacks coach] Rich [Scangarello] and then going to the room on his own where he can go through his process of learning. This will continue throughout this whole week and it will continue throughout the rest of the year and it’s really what he’s been doing every day since he’s been here.”
What are the benefits of Jimmy getting the opportunity to play this year and for you to get to see him in terms of heading into next year?
“I don’t think, we’ll see as that goes. I can tell you at the end of the year what it changed and what it helped or didn’t help. I think it’s nice to have him here because you get to know the person, you get to see him on the practice field every day, you get to introduce your offense to him, which he’s picking up week-in and week-out that he’s been here. Him getting out there and doing it allows him to get a better feel for it. You don’t truly, even if you think you know something, until you get in the heat of battle and everyone is going full speed and you get through a course of a game where you’re going through different coverages where it’s not carded and everything, you’re going to go through a lot of ups and down. You hope that, whether it comes off as a negative or a positive, you hope in the long run it’s all positive because you hope he learns from the reps that he gets and hopefully we can help him have some success and when he doesn’t I hope it ends up making him better throughout each week he does get to play. I hope that leads to him being better next year and understanding going into the offseason a little bit of what it felt like.”
It just so happens that Jimmy’s been here for about the length of time that a training camp and preseason would last. Do you feel that these six weeks or probably four or five weeks that he’s been here have gone according to plan as if he would come at the start of the season to learn the offense?
“No, not at all. It’s completely night and day different. It’s not college. You don’t have 100 people out there where you have two fields and can get everybody equal reps. You have to do scout team. Jimmy has been running cards and doing physical work of other people’s plays trying to give looks for our defense. He gets reps for us throughout this month, but you’re not putting him through a ton of reps because you’re trying to get the starting quarterback ready. Also, at this point in the year, you have to be very careful with how you use your receivers, the extra reps that you have. Every team in the NFL is beat up a little bit right now. You can’t just up your reps to get someone ready. That’s stuff that you do in OTAs and training camp. That’s why you go every day in training camp. One training camp practice, for the ones, twos and threes, there’s more reps for twos and threes in one training camp practice than there is in two weeks in a regular season.”
So, he hasn’t had many opportunities to throw to WR Marquise Goodwin or--?
“He does on air every day. We have periods where it’s individual and he gets to throw to the guys on air and stuff. But, to actually be in there with the first group where you’ve got everyone out there and doing some full speed reps, we’ve mixed him in. We got him a few each day while he’s been here. Not even comparable or close to what he’ll get today.”
What kind of level of concern is there with, he’s going back to his hometown, this is going to be his starting debut, do you need to worry about the focus or distractions or whether he might try too hard?
“I don’t know. I’m still getting to know Jimmy. I’m pretty confident. He doesn’t seem like that to me. He doesn’t seem too high or too low. I think he’s a very even keeled guy. It’s been awesome for him to be around someone like [New England Patriots QB] Tom [Brady], those guys in New England. Jimmy’s not going to make stuff up. He’s not going to make too big a deal about things. He fully understands what this business is, what his job is. I don’t think he thinks about going to Chicago to see people. I know he’s going there with one thing in mind, just like we all are.”
On the touchdown play on Sunday, it looked like as he was rolling left the window shrunk to hit WR Louis Murphy and there was the defensive back to the left that was cutting underneath and the window became really small. You’ve talked about his quick release. Does his quick release allow him to hit those smaller windows? Is that things that you’ve seen in your evaluation of him?
“Yeah, I think one thing, you can talk about the obvious and I think when anybody watches him throw, he obviously can speed it up quicker to anyone that can see that. I think all you guys can tell that. What that does help is when you’re late on something, when you don’t anticipate something, you still can catch up and get it there. You watch quarterbacks throughout forever, sometimes the big arm guys, not always the quick release guys, but the big arm guys don’t always throw with anticipation because their whole life they haven’t needed to. They wait until they see it open and then they rifle it in there. Then you have some guys who don’t have that big-time arm and they have to anticipate. They’ve got to let it go early and they hit the guy in stride right in the window. Jimmy has the ability with his quick release that he doesn’t always have to anticipate. He can make up for it if he’s a hair late. He has the speed and quick twitch in his body to get it there and overcome some things.”
It looked like Louis was open a little bit earlier before Jimmy started to throw. Is that kind of what you’re talking about?
“Yeah. I always say, in the NFL the man travels faster than the ball. It was fun when most of us played Pop Warner football and stuff and you could make it seem like somebody was open and bait the quarterback to throw to them and then go intercept it and that can happen sometimes in the NFL, but the stronger the guys’ arm is, the quicker his release is, the harder it is for DBs to do.”
On Monday, you talked about the logic of applying the franchise tag to Jimmy this year. If the team does that, how much would that effect how you evaluate your pick at number two or number three, wherever it ends up? Does that mean you wouldn’t consider a quarterback in that pick or not necessarily?
“That’s hard for me to say right now because I have to put a lot of time into that to have an opinion. That’s kind of what I like about the whole situation, because I don’t have the time to do that right now. None of us do to make the right decision. That’s what is so nice that I feel very excited and happy about our situation that we have at quarterback. Whether it’s quarterback or any position on this team or coaches, you’re always going to try to get the best thing possible and if you have the opportunity to get the best thing possible, whether it’s a coach, whether it’s a quarterback, whether it’s a running back, it doesn’t matter. You owe the franchise. That’s your job to figure that out. I’m very content and happy with what we have now, but that’s the thing that’s good for both of us. We’re not trying to figure out some long-term thing right now which I think is fair to him and fair to us. We’ll see how this goes. I think we’re all in a pretty good situation.”
Will Jimmy be your starting quarterback the rest of your season or will you make this decision every week?
“I’ll make it week-to-week.”
You mentioned he doesn’t always have to anticipate. How would you assess his ability to anticipate when he does have to?
“That’s something that I think would be unfair for me to decide right now. It’s hard to be, that takes a lot of muscle memory, a lot of reps, and continuous doing things over and over again. He has the ability to do it. He’s a very smart guy, can read coverages, know where it’s going. But, that takes reps and time and that’s something he hasn’t had yet. I’m not going to sit here and make big judgements off that. That’s something I think he’ll get better with the more comfortable he gets in our offense.”
You said week-to-week, assuming he stays healthy and plays fine, do you anticipate he’d be the starter?
“That makes the most sense, but I just feel that we’re in a situation that I don’t have to make any big commitment like that. I’m not going to speak in any absolutes. We’ll see how this week goes and then we’ll see come Monday what’s the best thing for Jimmy, what’s the best thing for the organization. I think he’ll improve the more he plays. I hope the guys around him improve the more he plays. Just throwing him into this situation, you’re basically putting a rookie quarterback in there in terms of what he knows in our offense. Right now, you just go back to last week, and it wasn’t every play, but every time we were in 11 personnel, six of our 11 players out there on offense were rookies. There were only three draft picks and three undrafted guys. So, adding a guy in there who’s kind of the same, all of us had to pick our level up and kind of carry each other. But, all of them are kind of in the same boat too. We’ll see how it goes and I’m excited to see how it goes. I’m excited to work with Jimmy. Knowing that we’re going with him the whole week, we can really dedicate the reps and how we organize practice to him. My expectations for him is I know he’s going to try his hardest. I know he’s going to go out there and compete and I’m excited to see him do it. It will be fun watching the tape after with him so we can help improve him.”
With bringing OL Tim Barnes back, he’s an interior guy, does that mean you’re optimistic about bringing OL Trent Brown back for Sunday?
“Not necessarily. He’s not going to practice today, so I’m still not sure on that. But, a lot of things go into that. You’ve got to look into if he couldn’t play who do we start at right tackle? Who would be his backup? Just to kind of give you a hint, guys that we would use there might be the only guys on our team who can snap a ball. So, we need backup centers also. There’s a lot of, you only get to dress seven guys, sometimes eight, which will hurt another position. But, you try to dress seven guys on gameday and you need a starting tackle and a backup tackle and you need a backup center. We know Barnes can do that.”
What’s your assessment of S Eric Reid this season? Is he a guy that you envision to be in your long-term plans?
“Yeah, I definitely would like him in it. Like I’ve said throughout all of our free agents and stuff, there’s a business aspect to that. We do have some depth there, but Eric Reid is a very good player and I like how he handles himself. I really respect the person. I thought Eric, he’s battled some stuff this year through his injury, trying to get back. I thought Eric had probably his best game on Sunday and I hope that continues and he finishes strong. We’ll see how this offseason goes, but I know based off the player and person he’s definitely a guy I would like back here.”