San Francisco 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan erased any doubts about the identity of his starting quarterback moving forward, stating Monday that Jimmy Garoppolo would retain the role.
Backup quarterback Trey Lance is expected to return to practice this week after being sidelined due to a left knee sprain, and Garoppolo is coming off what Shanahan called “his worst game” of the year on Sunday in a 30-18 loss to the visiting Indianapolis Colts.
Even so, Shanahan will go with the veteran Garoppolo and not the rookie Lance when the 49ers (2-4) visit the Chicago Bears (3-4) on Sunday.
“We didn’t go into that (Indianapolis) game thinking that Jimmy was one bad game away from losing his job or anything like that,” Shanahan said Monday. “Jimmy didn’t play as good as he could, which he knows that and I know that. I think there were some pretty hard circumstances for him — for both quarterbacks, considering some of the weather. But I definitely thought he could play better.”
While Shanahan appeared to leave the door open for a change in starters postgame Sunday night, he clarified his position the next day.
“In terms of deciding who’s going at quarterback, that has to do with Jimmy’s health,” Shanahan said Monday. “I wanted to see how his calf was, and it’s good today. So he’ll be starting, and hopefully Trey will get back into practice and have a good enough week to where he can dress, and if he ends up dressing, there’s always a good chance he’ll get some plays in there.
“Trey hasn’t practiced in two weeks, so when he does come back, he’ll probably be limited as it is. Odds are when it comes to the game plan, you’re not going to start rotating quarterbacks, because it’s not an open competition right now.”
Garoppolo, 29, has a 2-3 mark as a starter this season, lowering his career record to 26-11. He has completed 64.8 percent of his passes in 2021 for 1,106 yards with six touchdowns and four interceptions. In an eight-year career with the New England Patriots (2014-16) and San Francisco, Garoppolo has a 67.1 percent completion rate, 9,148 yards, 57 TD passes and 30 interceptions.
Lance, 21, lost the lone start of his rookie campaign, on Oct. 10 at Arizona when Garoppolo had a calf ailment. Lance has connected on 52.1 percent of his passes for 354 yards and three touchdowns with one interception.
–Field Level Media