The San Francisco 49ers will try and get back into the win column when they take on the Miami Dolphins in Week 5 of the NFL season. Despite suffering numerous devastating injuries, the Niners sit at 2-2. The good news is that quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo and running back Raheem Mostert returned to practice Wednesday, opening the door both of their returns on Sunday.
Miami is coming into the game 1-3 and played the undefeated Seattle Seahawks close last week in a 31-23 loss. Head coach Brian Flores isn’t giving in to the pressure to start rookie quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, confirming that veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick will start against San Francisco.
Flores doesn’t know which quarterback is starting for the Niners. He is preparing his defense for the matchup by checking out the tape on all three 49ers QBs. With Garoppolo’s status up in the air, Miami may see either Nick Mullens or C.J. Beathard.
“We watch them all, but you always prepare for the system, Kyle is a very innovative play caller,” Flores said. “There’s a lot to prepare for, from that standpoint. Run game, pass game, gadgets, they’ve got some explosive players in Deebo and Aiyuk, really good backs and good obviously Kittle, who I think is one of the best tight ends in the league.”
If Garoppolo plays, Flores will be familiar with the quarterback after the two spent 3.5 seasons together with the New England Patriots. The Dolphins head coach saw the potential in Jimmy G long ago and isn’t surprised by the success Garoppolo has had since being traded to San Francisco.
“He was very talented. He would make you throws that make you turn back and say, ‘wow, that was a good one,’” Flores said. “I remember us going out to Arizona and he played well on that game, and played well the next week. Just watching the preseason games in practice, I think we all knew he was gonna be a good player, and it’s definitely turned out that way.”
The 49ers got one of their superstars back when George Kittle returned to the lineup. The tight end had a monster outing with 15 catches for 183 yards and a touchdown. Miami’s head coach knows how difficult it is to game plan for a player of Kittle’s level.
“I don’t think you stop them. I think you just try to limit them. I think you try different looks. Play zone, play some man. I think when you got a player like this, you got to think about doubling a guy like this. He’s as physical as they get, he’s explosive,” Flores said about Kittle. “But, they got a lot of other players. So, if you double him, you got to deal with [Brandon] Aiyuk, got to deal with Deebo [Samuel], you got to deal with [Kendrick] Bourne, deal with the backs. Can’t double everybody, so you got to kind of pick your spots.”
Flore is in his second season as the Dolphins head coach; he’s looking at what the Niners brass has done since taking over in 2017 and wants to emulate the success in Miami.
“Kyle [Shanahan, and [John} Lynch, they’ve done a great job. Adam Peters is a great friend of mine, there’s some some really good people over there,” he said. “That organization, they built a strong roster, very good team, this will be a a tough game for us.”