San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo has been incredibly impressive in his first four starts for the franchise. He is setting records for most yards through each start, and the 49ers have won four straight after winning one game three games the previous year and a half combined.
It has all been impressive, but what has been most impressive is how comfortable he looks in the offense so quickly. The 49ers acquired him the night before Halloween, and from his first start, he has looked more comfortable than a 49ers QB has looked in some time.
Kyle Shanahan is the face of the 49ers offense, but Shanahan and Garoppolo both offer significant praise to quarterbacks coach Rich Scangarello. Garoppolo and Scangarello have been working non-stop since the quarterback’s arrival. Shanahan and Garoppolo wanted to make sure this week that Scangarello got his due credit.
Shanahan: “Rich has done a great job, he’s really worked hard with him. He’s spent a lot of extra time since Jimmy’s gotten here, working through it, trying to prepare CJ to play, and at the same time, trying to catch Jimmy up and start him from scratch. He spent a lot of his time on the bye week here with him, just long nights, early mornings. And I think obviously he’s done a really good job with him.”
Garoppolo: “Rich doesn’t get enough credit in my opinion. There’s a lot of moving pieces, but Rich has been with me since I first got here. Literally the first day I walked in here we were going over stuff after I did all the interviews and whatnot. I think a big part of our relationship was that bye week though. A lot of one-on-one time. We only had a couple of receivers here so we got to know each other pretty well. He’s a smart coach and he makes it a lot easier for me to go through my reads when he explains things how I understand them.”
Back in July, we put together a look at Scangarello’s background. He spent a season with Shanahan in Atlanta before departing for Wagner College, where he served as offensive coordinator. On Friday, Shanahan offered some detail on how he and Scangarello connected, and why the coach left the Falcons job.
“I met Rich in Atlanta. He came out there — we needed a run drawer, and he had done a lot of stuff in college — I know he worked for the Raiders at one time as a QC, and he had been a coordinator in college and done a number of things. But he wanted an opportunity to get back in the NFL, and our o-line coach knew him in Atlanta. So he brought him out there because he needed a run-game drawer. He spent a year with us, and that’s where I got to meet him. Really wanted him to stay out there, but he had enough time drawing the runs and he wanted to go back to calling plays, so he went back to college for a year — went to a small school in New York.
“And he was just a guy that I thought knew a lot about quarterback play, and I told him when he left Atlanta, that if I ever got an opportunity, I’d try to bring him with me. Fortunate enough that it happened a year later, and he was able to come out here with us.”
Scangarello is not exactly a high profile guy, and while he has some NFL experience, he’s never been the hot name around the league. Shanahan is not at all concerned about that.
“I don’t think that matters much. It’s about what type of person you are, how hard you work — he’s been in a number of different places, a number of different systems — and you never know until you work with someone, and I had a chance to work with him for a year in Atlanta, he was very impressive there. He was definitely a quarterback guy, that’s what he’s been with his entire career. But he spent a year with us there doing the run game, and really understanding our scheme and what we were trying to do from that perspective. He’s always had a knowledge of quarterback play, so I thought he was a perfect fit for us.”
The 49ers coaching staff was thrown together later than normal since Shanahan could not formally assemble it until after the Super Bowl. However, clearly he had some names in mind, and they have worked out well thus far. The roster turnover will continue this offseason, but we may not see a lot of coaching staff turnover.