San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan doubled-down on his decision to bench Jimmy Garoppolo. Shanahan admitted he will “do what we did again” if Garoppolo struggles against the Rams in Week 6.
“If he has a good week of practice and looks like he gives us the best chance to win, then I won’t hesitate,” Shanahan said, per NBC Sports Bay Area. “If it looks like it hurts in the game and it’s prohibited him, then we’ll do what we did again.”
It is not exactly a ringing endorsement from Shanahan for his quarterback. During Garoppolo’s rehab process, Shanahan went out of his way to emphasize there was not a quarterback controversy, but the Niners coach’s tone has been increasingly more direct since his decision to bench Garoppolo against the Dolphins.
Shanahan on Jimmy G’s Benching: ‘I Know He Doesn’t Normally Throw the Ball That Way’
Shanahan’s explanation for Garoppolo’s benching has had mixed messages as it remains unclear how much of the decision is tied to Garoppolo’s ankle injury. After the game, Shanahan cited the injury noting Garoppolo “was struggling a little bit because of it.”
“Watching how we were playing as a whole (and) watching how he was playing, you can tell he was affected by his ankle,” Shanahan explained, per 49ers.com. “I know he doesn’t normally throw the ball that way and I think he was struggling a little bit because of it. The way the game was going, I wasn’t going to keep putting him in those positions knowing we were going to have to throw it a lot to come back. I think it hurt him from being at his best.”
Garoppolo practiced throughout the week and the team plans to start the quarterback against the Rams. Yet, it appears Garoppolo has a short leash if he struggles again. Shanahan admitted it is hard to get a full representation of Garoppolo’s status in practice without him taking hits.
“There’s not more that we can do except tackle because we go full speed Wednesday and Thursday, a couple of periods on Friday,” Shanahan explained, via NBC Sports Bay Area. “We don’t hold back. We do bootlegs, we do play action, we scramble, we sit in the pocket. So, we already do everything you can except tackle.”
Shanahan Did Not Name a Backup Quarterback vs. Rams
There is more uncertainty around the 49ers quarterback situation as Shanahan has not named a backup behind Garoppolo. Shanahan noted that both Nick Mullens and C.J. Beathard would get reps in practice this week. Beathard is still the favorite to be the team’s backup in Week 6 just as he was against the Dolphins.
“We’ll see out there in the week,” Shanahan noted at his weekly press conference when asked about the backup quarterback battle. “I’m going to have both of those guys go a little bit. I haven’t fully decided that [the order]. They’ve both gotten about equal reps, I know Nick got a ton more [two weeks ago]. C.J. got more last week, but I haven’t decided on that yet. It kind of depends on how Jimmy goes and if he’s struggling [in practice], I’ll make a decision with both of them, give them more reps.”