Jimmy Garoppolo doesn’t know the playbook and the 49ers’ offensive line is as leaky and unstable as it’s been in a decade.
But if something were to happen to starter C.J. Beathard on Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals, Garoppolo, whom the 49ers hope will be the face of their franchise for the next 10 years, would be sent into the game. That’s because the 49ers carry just two quarterbacks on their 53-man roster and No. 2, for now, is just-arrived Garoppolo.
Kyle Shanahan said Wednesday he’d love to carry three passers, but that’s difficult to do, especially this week when San Francisco’s roster has been rocked by so many injuries.
“The amount of people that have to play on Sunday – it’s very hard to have people up who don’t play, who don’t contribute to special teams, who don’t do things like that,” he said.
Premium content for only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
Shanahan noted that in Sunday’s loss to the Eagles the 49ers, because of injuries, had to lean heavily on a reserve safety and backup defensive lineman and were down to their last five offensive linemen.
“If we would have had an extra quarterback up, we would have been down to having a receiver at O-line or it would have been something drastic or unprecedented,” he said. “That’s why it’s very hard to get three guys dressing.”
Garoppolo has been taking a crash course in the 49ers’ offense with quarterbacks coach Rich Scangarello since arriving in Santa Clara on Tuesday afternoon, and he went through his first 49ers practice Wednesday wearing a plastic wristband with the team’s plays on it.
It’s clear the 49ers want Garoppolo to play in the second half of the season, but Shanahan has been careful not to make a prediction when those first snaps will come.
“It’s a fine line trying to teach him enough to where if he had to go in that he has a chance to function, and also trying to gradually just build him to the spot where he has an opportunity to fully go into a game expecting him to play,” he said.
O-line bandage – The 49ers on Wednesday signed offensive tackle Bryce Harris to a one-year contract.
Harris, 28, played at Fresno State and entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent in 2012. He’s been with the Falcons and Jaguars but mainly has spent time with the New Orleans Saints who have signed and released him four times since September. Harris had a stint with the Falcons in 2015 when Shanahan was the team’s offensive coordinator.
The 49ers were forced to play a pair of guards, Zane Beadles and Erik Magnuson, at tackle against the Eagles after Trent Brown (concussion) was held out of the game and Joe Staley (eye socket) and Garry Gilliam (knee) left with injuries.
Gilliam will go on injured reserve while Staley likely won’t be back until the end of the month. Brown, however, practiced in full Wednesday and could move into Staley’s left tackle spot Sunday against the Cardinals.
Et cetera – The 49ers placed free safety Jimmie Ward on injured reserve with a broken forearm. Jaquiski Tartt likely will move from strong safety to free safety and Eric Reid, who played linebacker Sunday, will move back to safety.
▪ Defensive end Ronald Blair is eligible to play against the Cardinals this week. Blair broke his hand in the preseason and has spent the first eight weeks of the season on injured reserve.
▪ The 49ers elevated cornerback Greg Mabin from the practice squad. Mabin took the roster spot held by Rashard Robinson, who was traded to the Jets on Tuesday.