Kyle Shanahan says he “totally bombed” the “I don’t know if Jimmy will be alive on Sunday” response

San Francisco 49ers v Seattle Seahawks
Getty Images

On Monday, 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan provided a memorable (or forgettable) sound bite regarding the status of Jimmy Garoppolo. On Thursday night, he acknowledged that hinging Garoppolo’s status on the quarterback remaining alive through Sunday may have been a mistake.

Here’s what Shanahan said when he was asked about Garoppolo.

“First of all, I’m glad you asked about Jimmy. I totally bombed that on Monday,” Shanahan told reporters. “I hated how that came off. I talked to Jimmy about it right away. I didn’t realize that when I did it. A person I have a relationship with who sometimes when he asks me what I think is a silly question, sometimes I mess with him back, and that’s kind of what I was doing. That was between me and that guy, had nothing to do with Jimmy when I said, I didn’t know if we’d be alive on Sunday. I was just trying not to get my typical answer of, ‘Guys, anybody can be traded if you get a bunch of ones, John should trade me, and I shouldn’t be here on Sunday.’

“That’s the answer for every person on our team, but Jimmy’s situation is, if he isn’t here on Sunday, I would be disappointed because Jimmy is a quarterback who’s played one year and took us to a Super Bowl and played at a very high level. He’s had some unfortunate injuries, but I believe in Jimmy as a person and he’s shown what he can do on tape. Now, we made this move, so it’s obvious what I hope and what I believe in with this guy coming in, but it would be a very tough situation if Jimmy’s not on our team. I want Jimmy to be here and I want [Lance] to be brought along. I want to see how he does and if it turns into a competition, it turns into a competition. I’d be excited about that if he showed he was ready for it and stuff, but we know where Jimmy’s at. He hasn’t played football in a year. He hasn’t been to an OTA. I’d love to get him out here. It’d be very hard for me to picture a situation [where] Jimmy’s not here on Sunday, because that would be, I think, very stressful for us because Jimmy is a very good player and I think we can win with him. So, we’ll play that by ear, but I expect Jimmy to be here, and I’d be surprised if he wasn’t.”

Lawyers love adverse witnesses who give long answers, because the longer the answer, the greater the chance that the witness will say something useful. Eventually, that’s what Shanahan did, with the way he started his last sentence: We’ll play that by ear. 

That acknowledgement undercuts everything Shanahan said before it. If everything he said is true, there’s nothing to play by ear. What they’re playing by ear is the possibility that a trade partner for Garoppolo will emerge. Worst-case scenario for Garoppolo, the possibility remains that the 49ers will squeeze him in late August to take a significant pay cut in order to remain on the team.

If Lance develops quickly, they don’t need Garoppolo at $25 million in 2021. If Lance becomes the guy they’ve given up three first-round picks and a third-round pick to land, there’s no reason to risk the possibility that Garoppolo stays healthy, plays well, and keeps a guy who played one game in 2020 on the bench for all of 2021, and maybe beyond.

The 49ers, after pivoting from a gratuitous and unnecessary smokescreen that made them look indecisive and shaky at No. 3, are now focused on the smokescreen that flows from their desire to get value for the veteran quarterback they’ve flagged as too fragile for pro football. With both the Bears and Patriots drafting quarterbacks in the first round, that suddenly has gotten harder.

Indeed, at this point the only potential suitor seems to be the Texans. That could change if a quarterback elsewhere gets injured during OTAs, training camp, or the preseason. If the 49ers are hoping for an Eagles/Sam Bradford scenario to play out, however, the 49ers will have to assume the risk that their oft-injured quarterback will get injured again, potentially costing them $25 million for someone who will spend the year on IR.

22 responses to “Kyle Shanahan says he “totally bombed” the “I don’t know if Jimmy will be alive on Sunday” response

  1. I took the general point of the comment to be that nothing is guaranteed. But we live in times where almost anything one says can be portrayed as controversial.

  2. Craziest thing is it was a softball question and he still somehow butchered the response. All he needed to do is the standard coach-speak of “We’re weighing all our options” but instead he acted like it was some sort of personal attack to be asked what they were going to do.

  3. The Niners are in a very bad place right now. They paid way too much to move up and take a major unknown at QB. They are still stuck with Garoppolo. And they don’t have much draft capital the next few years. Everything has to go right from now on for this to come close to being a good move. Usually everything doesn’t go right.

  4. A Shanahan admitting they were wrong , global warming just cooled downed three degrees , cats and dogs are living together and Justin Bieber just put on a talented track —

  5. There was only a “smokescreen’ that made them look “indecisive” because the constant yakking from the media made it seem that way. Perhaps They smokescreens the Media, how about that viewpoint? They know what the hell the are doing, pundits do not

  6. I don’t have a problem with the comment on its face.
    Shanahan talks a lot, though, for a guy with one winning season his resume (albeit a NFC championship year).

  7. He bombed WAY WORSE on the 3rd over all pick (there were far more experience and pro ready QBs available)…

  8. The explanation is just as ridiculous as the original answer. He believes in him… as a person??? You can see for yourself what Jimmy can do on tape??? These are not statements of support.

  9. You don’t give up that much draft capital to acquire a guy to park on the bench.

  10. The business side of the NFL will dictate what moves get made. Ideally, the SF got their franchise starting QB, day 1 of the mandatory mini camp. They trade JimmyG before that point and bring in a reasonably priced veteran “back up.” That’s unlikely & JimmyG must be miserable right about now.

  11. You wonder why a coach like Bilechick is the way he is. It was a joke and also a reality that none of us are promised tomorrow. Trevor Lawreance will most likely to say anything other than clichés after what he said last week where he was overly scrutinized for giving an honest answer.

  12. Kyle Shanahan has not been right in the head since the Patriots wiped that 28-3 smug I am a genius look off his face. Mac Jones will have a better career in NE than Lance with have 32in SF.

  13. Thanks to Kyle taking Lance over Fields or Jones it allowed Jones to fall to Patriots Without giving up ANY draft capital. Belichick wanted Jones so thanks Kyle. Jones traits of accuracy anticipation seeing the field leadership and hard working sound a lot like another QB that played here and was VERY successful. Everything they said about Brady in the draft they said about Jones too. NFL got it wrong before and here’s to hoping they got it wrong again and a new era of dominance in NE is the result.

  14. May be Shanahan is telling Jimmy G to get lost after his current contract expires. Shanahan kept Jimmy G. out of the lineup after Lynch traded for him. The team kept losing while Jimmy sat on the bench. May be he was angry that Jimmy destroyed his hope of signing free agent Kirk Cousins in the 2018 preseason. Jimmy G. is a good quarterback and he will keep on winning whichever team he plays for. Shanahan OTOH, has a losing record so far without Jimmy G. as his starter.

  15. NFL (Niners Football League) says:
    April 30, 2021 at 10:22 am
    I took the general point of the comment to be that nothing is guaranteed. But we live in times where almost anything one says can be portrayed as controversial.


    Pretty sure everyone got the general point. The bigger issue is how badly Shanny screwed up the original comment and floundered the follow-up.

    It’s not that the comment was controversial, but just a stupid thing to say.

  16. He bombed when he gave up that much draft capital for a QB that most likely would’ve fallen in the draft, maybe into the second round or later, like some others did that didn’t get the hype. If he doesn’t work out I would have to imagine Kyle Shanahan will be on a very hot seat.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.