October 24, 2021; Santa Clara, California, USA; San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (10) passes the football against the Indianapolis Colts during the third quarter at Levi's Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

49ers stick with Jimmy Garoppolo at QB

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

May 25, 2021; Santa Clara, CA, USA;  San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (10) during Organized Team Activities at San Francisco 49ers Training Facility. Mandatory Credit: Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

49ers coach Kyle Shanahan: ‘No open competition’ at QB

The San Francisco 49ers spent the No. 3 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft on quarterback Trey Lance, but coach Kyle Shanahan said it’s veteran Jimmy Garoppolo atop the depth chart as training camp opens.

“There’s no open competition, where they’re getting equal reps with the same group,” Shanahan said Tuesday. “Jimmy’s coming in as the 1, Trey as the 2.”

Lance has yet to sign his rookie deal — projected to be four years for $34.1 million – but general manager John Lynch said he expects Lance to sign soon.

In addition to Lance being absent, Garoppolo is getting the nod over Lance as camp begins because of a strong showing in spring workouts and not contract status, Shanahan said.

“I’m just looking at our situation,” he said. “It’s a lot simpler than people make it out to be: Who gives you a better chance to win?”

Lance did receive some work with the first team in spring workouts open to media.

Garoppolo, 29, is 22-8 as the 49ers starter in the regular season but injuries — a torn ACL, a sprained throwing shoulder and two high ankle sprains — have limited the quarterback. Acquired from the New England Patriots on Oct. 31, 2017, for a 2018 second-round draft pick, Garoppolo started just 25 games over the past three seasons as is entering the fourth year of a five-year, $137.5 million contract.

In 2019, when he started all 16 games, the 49ers were 13-3 and reached the Super Bowl, a 31-20 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.

In 31 games (30 starts) in San Francisco, Garoppolo has completed 67.5 percent (596 of 883) of his passes for 7,352 touchdowns with 46 touchdowns and 26 interceptions.

Lance brings to the 49ers a resume that includes 19 college games at FCS program North Dakota State. All but three of those games were in 2019, when Lance threw for 2,786 yards, 28 touchdowns and zero interceptions, while running for 1,110 yards and 14 touchdowns. He led the Bison to a 28-20 win over James Madison in the FCS title game after the 2019 season.

The 49ers finished last season with a 6-10 record and open the 2021 season Sept. 12 at Detroit.

–Field Level Media

Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones (11) and now-former San Francisco 49ers defensive tackle DeForest Buckner (99) shake hands before the game at Levi   s Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

49ers not denying interest in WR Julio Jones

Is former Atlanta Falcons assistant coach Kyle Shanahan interested in bringing All-Pro wide receiver Julio Jones to San Francisco?

The 49ers’ head coach stopped well short of dousing trade rumors connecting Jones to San Francisco. Rumor might have become reality on Monday when Jones told Fox Sports 1 he was “out of there” with regard to his time with the Falcons.

“I’m always interested in improving our team,” Shanahan said. “I would never say we’re just done.”

The 49ers made a big splash in the offseason by trading up for the No. 3 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft and selecting North Dakota State quarterback Trey Lance.

San Francisco has been active and regularly engaged in the veteran trade market during general manager John Lynch’s tenure, including the 2017 midseason acquisition of quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo.

Jones would be owed more than $15 million for the 2021 season in a trade that couldn’t officially be finalized until after 4 p.m. on June 1 (next Tuesday).

The seven-time Pro Bowler has caught 848 passes for 12,896 yards and 60 touchdowns during 10 NFL seasons.

Earlier Tuesday, first-year Falcons head coach Arthur Smith attempted to distance himself from Jones trade talk.

“Any private conversation that I have with our players is going to remain private on my end,” Smith said. “And I’m not going to sit here and comment on any potential roster moves that we may or may not make.”

–Field Level Media

Apr 29, 2021; Cleveland, OH, USA; North Dakota State quarterback Trey Lance appears on the Red Carpet  at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame before the first round of the 2021 NFL football draft, Thursday, April 29, 2021, in Cleveland.  Mandatory Credit: David Dermer/Pool Photo-USA TODAY Sports

49ers knew Trey Lance was the guy in January

Niners head coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch celebrated a decision kept under wraps for more than three months: bringing quarterback Trey Lance to San Francisco.

“You know how it is when you meet someone who kind of has ‘it,’” Lynch said in a joint interview with Shanahan on ESPN late Thursday. “From the first experience we had with him via Zoom to the pro day where we got to go be around him a little bit, it just got better and better.

“I’ll never forget the night Kyle called me up on a Sunday night about 9 o’clock and said, ‘I’m getting kind of obsessed with this guy. You’ve got to watch him.”

Lance was chosen third in the 2021 NFL Draft, following fellow quarterbacks Trevor Lawrence (Jaguars) and Zach Wilson (Jets) off the board.

Shanahan said he knew Lance would be the guy in January. He didn’t know if the 49ers would be able to get him holding the No. 12 pick.

By the time Lynch caught up with film study, they were in lockstep on which quarterback fit the 49ers best. The GM made a trade with the Miami Dolphins to acquire the No. 3 pick in March with eyes firmly locked on Lance.

But Lynch and Shanahan didn’t even share their preference with scouts and assistant coaches. They wanted all evaluations to be independent of any influence of knowing the bosses wanted the small-school product.

And as pundits pointed in other directions, namely at Alabama’s Mac Jones and Ohio State’s Justin Fields, it was the North Dakota State quarterback with limited game reps the 49ers felt was the only option.

“All of that stuff is a concern,” Shanahan said. “The people who are the best in the world at (drafting) are still taking their best guess.”

Shanahan said the Lance pick isn’t an exact science and no pick can be. However, he said the team was very thorough in watching film of Lance, which helped override any worry about the number of games and reps he had in college.

Lance went 17-0 in college — the same number of starts Jones had with the Crimson Tide — but his 318 college pass attempts are the lowest total for a first-round pick in the last 40 years.

He’ll enter the offseason program as a backup to Jimmy Garoppolo.

Lynch said when Lance “is ready, he’s ready” but deferred to Shanahan and the coaching staff on the pecking order at quarterback.

“With Jimmy, if he’s healthy, he’s working his butt off. It’s going to be very hard to come in and beat Jimmy out,” Shanahan said. “Jimmy’s our quarterback right now. The day it looks like Trey can compete with him and he’s ready to go, we’ll see that and we won’t hesitate. We have a very good backup now, he comes in at No. 2.”

–Field Level Media

Sep 20, 2020; East Rutherford, New Jersey, USA; San Francisco 49ers general manager John Lynch (left) shakes hands with head coach Kyle Shanahan after their win against the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

QB3? 49ers set to attend second pro day of Justin Fields, Trey Lance

Oct 18, 2020; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; New England Patriots receiver Julian Edelman (11) warms up prior to the game against the Denver Broncos at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports

With the third pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, are the San Francisco 49ers locked in on a new quarterback?

Signs point that way as multiple reports indicate the team brass of general manager John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan will be in attendance for the second pro day workouts of prospects Trey Lance (North Dakota State) and Justin Fields (Ohio State).

Fields has his second pro day on Wednesday and Lance is scheduled for his second showing April 19 (Monday), just 11 days before the draft.

Fields is staging another workout in part because the 49ers were in Tuscaloosa, Ala., watching the Crimson Tide draft class that could produce a record number of first-round picks later this month. That includes quarterback Mac Jones.

Interest in the 2021 quarterback class is through the roof and speculation points to the top three or four selections in the draft being spent on QBs, starting with Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence at No. 1 to the Jacksonville Jaguars.

DraftKings lists Lawrence as a -10000 favorite to be the top pick in the draft.

Lynch was in attendance for BYU quarterback Zach Wilson’s pro day right before the franchise acquired the No. 3 pick in the draft from the Miami Dolphins.

The Dolphins secured the 49ers’ first-round pick (12th overall) in 2021 as well as first-round picks in 2022 and 2023. They also received a third-round selection in 2022.

That 12th overall pick didn’t stay with the Dolphins for long. Miami sent it, along with the 123rd overall pick and a 2022 first-round selection, to the Philadelphia Eagles in exchange for the Nos. 6 and 156 overall picks in 2021.

The Dolphins initially acquired the third overall pick as part of the trade that sent left tackle Laremy Tunsil to the Houston Texans in September 2019.

While Miami has Tua Tagovailoa as its starter, the trade put the 49ers in play to land one of the top-tier QBs of the draft.

Lawrence is the presumptive No. 1 pick, while the New York Jets traded their own starter, Sam Darnold, and at No. 2 would have a choice from among Wilson, Fields, Lance and Alabama’s Jones.

Drafting a quarterback third overall could create additional draft dominoes considering the 49ers have Jimmy Garoppolo in the fold.

Garoppolo, 29, was acquired in a trade from the New England Patriots in October 2017 and guided the 49ers to a Super Bowl appearance following the 2019 season. Garoppolo signed a five-year, $137.5 million contract extension with the 49ers on Feb. 8, 2018, and his cap hit this season is $26.4 million.

–Field Level Media

October 11, 2020; Santa Clara, California, USA; San Francisco 49ers running back Raheem Mostert (31) is tackled by Miami Dolphins outside linebacker Kamu Grugier-Hill (51) during the fourth quarter at Levi's Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Niners await evaluation on RB Mostert’s injury

An update on the injury to San Francisco running back Raheem Mostert isn’t expected until Monday at the earliest, coach Kyle Shanahan said after the 49ers defeated the visiting Los Angeles Rams on Sunday night in Santa Clara, Calif.

Mostert sustained a sprained left ankle late in the second quarter on Sunday, and finished the half with 64 yards on 16 carries. After having the ankle retaped at intermission, he returned for the third quarter, only to leave after one carry for one yard.

He also made two catches for 11 yards in the first half.

Mostert, who began the night with a team-leading 238 yards and one touchdown on 34 carries, was limping on the sidelines after exiting the game.

“We don’t know yet on Raheem,” Shanahan said. “I’m sure we’ll find out tomorrow.”

“I think Raheem has shown this league, starting last year, how special of a back he is,” Shanahan said. “Any time you lose a special guy like that, there definitely is a change. But I’ve also got a lot of confidence in our other guys too.”

Mostert missed two games earlier this season due to an ankle sprain.

Mostert rushed for 772 yards and eight touchdowns on 137 carries in 2019, and added 180 yards and two more scores on 14 catches.

JaMycal Hasty rushed for 37 yards on nine carries, including some runs as the Niners were chewing up the clock in the second half.

“I thought he did a real good job when he came in,” Shanahan said. “Hasty was up for the challenge, got some fresh legs in there, and I thought he gave us some juice a little bit. … Hasty got his opportunity and from what I saw, I thought he really helped us.”

–Field Level Media

Sep 13, 2020; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll reacts with players after a touchdown against the Atlanta Falcons during the first quarter at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Report: NFL fines 3 coaches for failing to wear masks

The NFL cracked down Monday on maskless head coaches, reportedly handing out more than a $1 million in fines.

The San Francisco 49ers’ Kyle Shanahan, the Denver Broncos’ Vic Fangio and the Seattle Seahawks’ Pete Carroll each were fined $100,000 for not wearing masks Sunday, and their teams were docked $250,000, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero and Mike Garafolo reported the same dollar figures and indicated that three teams were involved but did not list the individuals.

Following the opening week of games, Sept. 10-14, NFL executive vice president of football operations Troy Vincent reportedly sent a firm memo reminding coaches of their obligation to wear masks with the league holding games amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Multiple media outlets noted that the two head coaches whose teams played Monday night, the Las Vegas Raiders’ Jon Gruden and the New Orleans Saints’ Sean Payton, frequently weren’t wearing masks during the first half.

–Field Level Media

November 17, 2019; Santa Clara, CA, USA; Arizona Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury during the second quarter against the San Francisco 49ers at Levi's Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

NFL monitoring air quality, could postpone 49ers opener

Arizona Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury is ready to adjust if the NFL moves the Week 1 game from Santa Clara due to the raging fires and poor air quality in northern California.

The NFC champion San Francisco 49ers are scheduled to kick off the 2020 season at Levi’s Stadium. But air quality ratings could trigger postponement or a change of venue.

“I’m sure discussions are going on right now to figure out the best and safest option,” Kingsbury said Friday.

49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan did not cancel practice Friday afternoon, when the air quality rating was 194. If it hits 200, the 49ers would encourage the NFL, which makes the final decision, to postpone the game, Shanahan said.

“Once it gets to 200,” Shanahan explained to KNBR Radio, “… you’re not allowed to be out there after that. If it gets to 200 that would be a huge deal. I know when it’s above 150 that does affect a certain group of people that happen to be higher risk, pre-existing conditions, if it got above 150 you could lose a few players, but 200 is the mark where you can’t go out there.”

The Cardinals are scheduled to travel to California on Saturday.

–Field Level Media