San Francisco 49ers

Garoppolo’s rehab continues; 49ers’ GM Lynch says latest step is ‘music to my ears’

Hear from Jimmy Garoppolo for the first time since his season-ending injury

Jimmy Garoppolo answers questions about his injury, recovery and watching the game rather than playing.
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Jimmy Garoppolo answers questions about his injury, recovery and watching the game rather than playing.

The 49ers likely won’t focus much energy on the quarterbacks they’re coaching this week because of the player gearing up for a return in 2019.

There’s good news regarding the franchise signal caller. Jimmy Garoppolo has taken an important step in his rehab from a torn left ACL, as he was seen throwing for the first time at the team’s facility recently, general manager John Lynch confirmed Tuesday from Mobile, Ala., where the 49ers are coaching the South team for the Senior Bowl on Saturday.

“He’s doing really well. You follow with the trainers, and you’re in constant communication with the doctors,” Lynch said in an interview with CBS Sports. “But the best news I can tell you is last week I’m looking outside my office window and there he is down there throwing the football on the field. That was music to my ears. It was a beautiful thing.”

The 49ers hope Garoppolo is fully cleared by May or June, in time for offseason team activities. Training camp opens in late July.

Garoppolo was injured in the fourth quarter of the Week 3 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. His injury was a death knell to San Francisco’s season. The 49ers finished 4-12 and have the No. 2 pick in the NFL Draft for the second time since 2017.

Garoppolo had surgery in October, then participated in meetings and did his rehab at the team facility.

“Jimmy’s worked incredibly hard,” Lynch said. ”He hasn’t had any setbacks, so we’re hopeful he’s going to take part in a lot of our offseason, and I’m proud of him also, not just the physical aspect. We all got together and said, ‘Listen, we can’t lose this opportunity to grow neck up as well.’ So our coaching staff did a tremendous job to find ways to challenge him there as well. He’s handled it about as well as you can.”

Garoppolo has rehabbed with another key ACL patient, running back Jerick McKinnon, who sustained his injury a week before the regular-season opener. McKinnon is a few weeks ahead of Garoppolo in his rehab and is expected to be ready for training camp.

“There’s nothing nice about the situation. But one nice thing is they’ve had each other to kind of go through this,” Lynch said. “Jerick (suffered his injury) six weeks earlier, so I constantly hear those two banter — Jimmy’s trying to catch him. ... So, but they both would tell you it’s made it a lot more palatable to have a buddy to go through it with.”

Shanahan in no hurry to replace offensive assistants

Coach Kyle Shanahan hasn’t replaced quarterbacks coach Rich Scangarello, who was hired to be the Denver Broncos’ offensive coordinator under new coach Vic Fangio. Same for assistant offensive line coach Adam Stenavich, who was made the Packers’ offensive line coach under new head coach Matt LaFleur.

“Even though it was unfortunate to lose two good coaches on offense, I do look at it as an opportunity to see if we can improve in any other areas,” Shanahan said Tuesday, according to NBC Sports Bay Area.

It appears likely Scangarello’s replacement is already in house. Wide receivers coach/passing game coordinator Mike LaFleur (Matt’s brother) was seen working with the quarterbacks during Tuesday’s first Senior Bowl practice. Run game coordinator Mike McDaniel could also be a candidate.

Requests by other teams to interview Mike LaFleur and McDaniel for coordinator jobs were rejected by Shanahan, who told reporters he didn’t believe they would be interviewing for true promotions because it was unlikely they would be calling plays.

New defensive coaches not required to go to Mobile

Shanahan was lukewarm about coaching in the Senior Bowl, but he mentioned the value of getting an up-close look at prospects for six days as an advantage that isn’t afforded to 30 other teams.

But clearly, Shanahan doesn’t find coaching in the Senior Bowl an imperative exercise. New secondary coach Joe Woods and defensive line coach Kris Kocurek were not required to help the staff in Mobile after being hired last week.

“That was part of my recruiting for them,” Shanahan said, per NBCSN. “I threw that out there before they said yes. If they’d said yes, I wouldn’t have thrown that out there.”