The San Francisco 49ers began organized team activities on Monday, with the media given their first glance of practices on Tuesday. With the access came plenty of new developments. Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo has taken the field. A new crop of injuries have emerged. Players have begun competing for roster spots as general manager John Lynch and coach Kyle Shanahan evaluate their roster in Year 3.
We’re back in this week’s offseason mailbag. As always, you’re welcome to drop questions in here for our next mailbag or tweet me @Rob_Lowder.
How much should we expect from Jimmy Garoppolo this offseason?
I don’t expect Garoppolo’s limitations to last long, Darius. The 49ers’ franchise quarterback participated in 7-on-7 drills during OTAs and will likely step up to full team drills at the start of training camp in July. Veteran cornerback Richard Sherman was impressed with Garoppolo’s throwing ability. Garoppolo jokingly (sort of) said he was at odds with the training staff on how much of a workload he was capable of handling. Garoppolo is clearly eager to resume his role under center and is expected to be ready for the start of the regular season.
Will Garoppolo wear a brace this season?
Absolutely, Alex. I wouldn’t be surprised if he wore it next season, as well. Most players recovering from knee injuries wear braces longer than required, especially now that they’ve become lighter and more comfortable.
What are the expectations for Dante Pettis?
The expectations for Pettis are high, Cy, as they should be. He was far-and-away the team’s most productive receiver to close out the season, putting up numbers that would border on the production of the league’s best. If Pettis can stay healthy, he should be the 49ers’ top option along the perimeter. 1,000 yards and 10 scores is an obtainable expectation for Pettis in 2019.
Are the 49ers getting their injuries out of the way early?
First, a quick recap of the injuries we learned about during the first open practice of OTAs: Running back Matt Breida suffered a partially torn pectoral muscle while lifting weights. Tight end Garrett Celek has a back injury and also has not been cleared from last season’s concussion. Linebacker Fred Warner underwent a knee scope. Running back Raheem Mostert suffered a setback after breaking his forearm last season. All are expected to be ready for training camp.
Jordan’s question is funny, though, especially considering Shanahan eluded to the same idea during Wednesday’s press conference. Shanahan said he’d rather the 49ers have a lot of injuries during OTAs than at training camp, and the current expectation is that none of their ailments are long-term.
Is Nick Bosa’s hamstring injury worrisome?
49ersCamelot addresses the elephant in the room. The 49ers’ No. 2 pick this year suffered a minor hamstring injury during Tuesday’s practice during a 1-on-1 pass rush drill. Bosa was clearly frustrated, grabbing his leg while sitting out the rest of practice. He didn’t receive a lot of attention from the 49ers medical staff and there hasn’t been an update as to the severity or a recovery timetable. I assume it’s a minor tweak that the 49ers will take slowly, but overall, nothing to worry about.
Is it time to worry about Jerick McKinnon’s recovery?
On the other hand, McKinnon’s status as he recovers from his torn ACL is more noteworthy. Although I still wouldn’t classify it as something worth worrying about, Steph. The 49ers running back is expected to be ready for training camp, per Shanahan. McKinnon’s position is far more physically demanding than Garoppolo’s, which is the reason you’ve seen the latter participate more extensively.
Do injuries to Fred Warner and Kwon Alexander hamper the defense’s progress?
I don’t think so, Shiga. Warner is already familiar with the defense while Alexander, an experienced veteran, won’t struggle to grasp any of the concepts. If anything, the presumed starters’ absence will give backups like rookie Dre Greenlaw a chance to become better acquainted with the 49ers’ defensive scheme. Most of the players around the linebackers are familiar with their role and won’t be impacted by the absence of Warner and Alexander.
Will Kwon Alexander be ready for Week 1?
There hasn’t be an update on Alexander’s recovery from a torn ACL suffered in October of last season. I don’t expect Alexander to be ready for Week 1, Zack. Starting the season on the PUP list (Physically Unable to Perform) isn’t out of the question for Alexander, which would keep him on the sideline for the first six weeks of the regular season. If the 49ers feel he’ll be ready sooner, Alexander will be kept on the 53-man roster and listed as a gameday inactive until he’s ready to take the field.
Will the 49ers feature Jimmy Garoppolo and Marquise Goodwin in the deep passing attack?
That’s definitely the hope, Rod. Garoppolo and Goodwin established a quick connection during the quarterback’s first five starts with the team in 2017. The pair never got a chance to resume in 2018, with Goodwin suffering a leg injury and essentially missing two of Garoppolo’s three starts last season. Garoppolo’s deep ball will likely be one of the last passes he develops a feel for as he regains trust in his surgically repaired knee. His deep accuracy was in question last year, but Garoppolo put on a downfield clinic during training camp, with many of his bigger plays going to Goodwin. The pair will be eager to resume their relationship.
Is there any concern that Robbie Gould’s trade demand will result in a holdout?
It’s a real possiblity, DB. The 49ers kicker has informed the team he won’t sign their franchise tag tender and requested a trade in April. Gould and his agent have both said that a holdout would only last until the regular season, with Gould willing to kick for the team Week 1. Could that change? Absolutely.