The 49ers wrapped up their first week of OTA practices on Thursday. Kyle Shanahan met with the media after practice No. 2 on Tuesday and was asked about several key players. Here's what he had to say about …
… quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, who arrived midseason last year and who is going through his first offseason with a new offense and a new playbook.
Shanahan:: "Everyone knows the crash course that Jimmy got last year, and it’s been nice to just slow it down, teach him some of the verbiage and the whys, instead of just, ‘Hey, memorize this by Sunday.’ It’s been nice for him to know why and be able to relax and talk through that stuff. Then, you hope that the more you do that, it’ll carry over to play better.”
… center Weston Richburg, who was one of the 49ers' two biggest free-agent additions in March. Shanahan's offense puts a lot of responsibility on the center and finding a good one has been something Shanahan has made a priority in previous stops.
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Shanahan: "The main thing is, how well does he work with the guys? How well does he communicate with the guards, the tackles and the quarterback? There’s a lot of stuff the center is involved in getting all 11 guys on the same page, and that takes a lot of time … He’s been real good. You can tell he’s a natural center, and he’s done it his whole life. He had a very successful college career. That’s why I think he was a second-round draft pick and did a heck of a job in New York. (He) got to play a lot of center, got to play guard, so he’s been through it. Just the way he’s handling himself in the meeting rooms, even before we got out there, we could tell quickly it wasn’t going to be an issue.”
… guard Joshua Garnett, who essentially had an injury redshirt season last year and used the time off to lose weight and essentially move from a power blocker to one able to function in a zone-running offense. With Jonathan Cooper recovering from offseason knee surgery, Garnett worked at right guard with the first-team offense. Garnett vs. Cooper should be one of the team's more prominent training camp battles.
Shanahan: “I see a guy who’s really going for it. I’ve been very proud of how he’s handled his year off. Some guys when they go through that, they can get down, especially the surprise it was for him when it happened. He really took advantage of his year off. I think he’s changed his body. I think he’s lost weight and added some muscle. I think by doing that, you’re faster, you’re more athletic, and I don’t believe he’s lost his power either because it’s been the right type of weight. He’s had a good two days. It’s real early, but he’s put himself in a position to be the best he can.”
… running back Joe Williams, who also spent the season on injured reserve with an ankle issue. Williams was the only draft pick from the 2017 class who didn't contribute last season.
Shanahan: "I noticed a couple runs today that flashed. … There’s two runs in particular that I told him he did a real good job on out there. It’s a little harder with running backs in training camp. There’s no pads on out there. We’re not trying to really run through arm tackles and stuff. We’re trying to go really hard but not hit each other, either. It’s a little tougher with running backs. Those are ones you see a little bit more, we’ll know more when we get to the preseason and put those pads on… Joe’s always been in good shape. Physically, he’s very good. The thing with Joe is going to be how does he do when you get to preseason when those games start.”
… linebacker Fred Warner. The third-round pick mostly lined up in space -- effectively as a strong safety -- while at BYU. With the 49ers, he'll play inside linebacker and lined up at the "Mike" spot, which calls the plays, with the second-team defense on Tuesday.
Shanahan: "He’s been very impressive out there. He’s a very smart guy, which you don’t always know if that’s going to be the case until you get someone because that doesn’t’ always translate to the field. He’s very smart, and he plays like it on the field. He doesn’t hesitate. He’s a rookie out there, but he’s calling the plays maybe even too loud because I can hear him from the offensive side. But he doesn’t mind speaking up. He’s confident in what he’s doing. It’s going to get a little bit harder for him as it goes, and we’ll have to bring him back a little bit for training camp, but he’s had an impressive two days.”