On Wednesday, 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said he had a “pretty good idea” as to the identity of the team’s starting quarterback in Week One. One of the finalists for the job has the same feeling.
“Yeah, I have a pretty good idea,” Jimmy Garoppolo told reporters. “It’s whatever [Shanahan] decides, yeah. I have a pretty good idea. I’m pretty happy with where I’m at right now and everything and just the offense as a whole. Yeah, Kyle’s the head man. He’ll make the call.”
Later in the session, when discussing a recent conversation that Garoppolo had with Drew Brees after practice, Garoppolo pivoted on his own to discussing the fact that the Saints periodically used Taysom Hill at quarterback in recent years.
“We talked about the situation for a little bit and how him and Taysom did it,” Garoppolo said. “And it’s a thing that I wasn’t really used to, I guess you could say. Just the in and out part of it. So, I was trying to pick his brain, how he handled that. He’d come out for a play or two and then go back in, how that all works.”
So what advice did Brees give Garoppolo about being removed from time to time for another quarterback?
“I’ll keep that between me and him, but just kind of a stay ready type of thing,” Garoppolo said. “Yeah, it’s a different type of flow to the game. As a quarterback you’re used to being out there the whole time. And so, it’s just something that you’ve just got to get reps at and get used to it. . . . It’s happened a little bit in training camp just with some of the different types of things we’re doing with Trey [Lance]. But yeah, whenever I’m out there, I’ll be ready to roll. It’s just one of those things, it is what it is.”
It’s fair to interpret Garoppolo’s comments as indicating that he’ll be the starter, but that he’ll exit from time to time for Lance. The difference between the Saints and the 49ers, of course, is that if Lance does well with his reps, he’ll likely get more. Eventually, he’ll get them all — years before Garoppolo otherwise would be ready to retire.