San Francisco 49ers

How Garoppolo uses private throwing sessions to get ‘on the same page’ with players

During the week, the 49ers' pass catchers work with the team's coaches. On the weekend, they go with Jimmy.

Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo said he's been holding weekend throwing sessions with teammates since he was in high school in the Chicago area and that he has continued that practice with the 49ers. He held the first one Saturday – wide receivers, tight ends and running backs were invited – and said he was happy with the turnout.

"It kind of gets us away from the coaches and everything, allows me to talk to the receivers about specific things," Garoppolo said Monday. "We try to get everyone out there we can. I understand that people have things that they have to get to. But we had a great showing this Saturday. ... Talking through routes, concepts – how they see it vs. how I see it – it just gets us on the same page."

Among the targets at his first session was veteran Pierre Garcon, who suffered a season-ending injury the day before the 49ers traded for Garoppolo and who wasn't able to catch any passes from him last season.

Garoppolo said he was wary of overworking players who are doing heavy strength and conditioning work during the week but that he was pleased everyone seemed to show up in good shape.

"You've got to take care of their legs," he said. "These guys are working hard during the week, so you've got to be careful with that."

League rules prohibit coaches from attending the impromptu practices, and they can't be held at the team facility. So where exactly does he go?

"I can't tell you guys that (or) you'd be out there spying on us," he said.

Et cetera – General manager John Lynch said the early plan for 2018 is for Arik Armstead to play the so-called "big end" position on early downs and for Solomon Thomas to be the "Leo" defensive end on the same downs. Last year, their roles were reversed, at least until Armstead suffered a broken hand on Oct. 15 and was lost for the season. At that point, Thomas started playing Leo.

The 49ers have until May 3 to pick up the fifth-year option for Armstead and guard Laken Tomlinson, both of whom were first-round picks in 2015. Doing so would keep the pair under contract through the 2019 season but at a much bigger price tag than their current salaries. Lynch said no decision has been made on either player.

Lynch said the 49ers still are interested in re-signing strong safety Eric Reid, who remains a free agent. Reid's other options – he'd prefer a starting role, one he is unlikely to get with San Francisco – will be better known after the draft. "We won't close the door on that," Lynch said.