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49ers in Five: Did Jimmy Garoppolo throw shade at Kyle Shanahan?

Everything you need to know in five minutes

Throughout Jimmy Garoppolo’s time in San Francisco, Kyle Shanahan has defended him against critics, sometimes even bending over backward to do so. Yesterday when the quarterback was asked about criticism of his game, however, Garoppolo seemed to point the finger at his head coach.

Here’s the entire question and answer:

One criticism of your game is that you maybe don’t challenge defenses vertically or to the boundary as much as you possibly could. Do you think that’s a fair criticism?

“No. I mean, I just go with the plan that’s given. I think we’ve stretched them pretty well in some different aspects, but just whatever play’s called I’ll go out there and execute it.”

That doesn’t sit well with me. Garoppolo is the quarterback. He’s the leader of the offense, and when faced with criticism, he essentially said, “I just work here. Talk to my manager.” The quarterback touches the ball on every play. He is supposed to accept responsibility for problems with the offense, not pass the buck to somebody else - especially his boss.

Also, during that press conference, Garoppolo was asked about the struggles the offense has had early in the last two games. In response, he said something that I thought made both him and Shanahan look bad:

Speaking of getting off to a strong start in games, what’s the conversation like with you and Kyle when you decide on your openers? I would imagine there’s not a game you ever gone into where you think, oh, we’re running some really crappy plays here at the beginning. How do you like through the process of a week kind of help Kyle construct how you’re going to open a game?

“Well, he has his own process too, and you don’t want to mess with that too much. He’s had success with it in the past. So he kind of handles the openers. As far as us, it’s more of just trying to anticipate what we’re going to see. You do all this scouting and things like that, but once you get out there on Sunday, you might get the look you plan for, you might get something that you’ve never even talked about. And I think it’s just the balance of that as players, we’ve got to be able to execute under whatever circumstances.”

He kind of handles the openers? I have never heard of a head coach and quarterback that don’t huddle up before every game to go over the plays the QB feels most comfortable with out of the gate. So if Kyle isn’t including Garoppolo in that process, that’s a failure on his part, and if Jimmy isn’t demanding to be a part of that process in year five with the team, that’s disappointing by him as well.

With just 39 total yards and one first down combined in their last two first quarters, the 49ers had better change something as they prepare to face two NFC West rivals in the next two weeks.

For more thoughts on this, as well as the team’s justification for kicking deep at the end of the Packers game, check out today’s 49ers in Five podcast!