September 24 2021 03:30 pm

Shanahan says Garoppolo is starting QB as 49ers open camp


SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) — Jimmy Garoppolo’s future with the San Francisco 49ers immediately became a bit cloudy when the San Francisco 49ers traded up to draft Trey Lance with the No. 3 overall pick.

Kyle Shanahan did his best to clear things up as the 49ers reported for training camp Tuesday.

”There’s no open competition right now in terms of getting equal reps with the same group,” the coach said. “Jimmy is coming in as the (No.) 1 and Trey is coming in as the 2.”

Shanahan knows it must have been discouraging for Garoppolo to see his team draft a player who is considered his eventual replacement, but he made sure to let the 29-year-old QB know that it’s still his job.

“Jimmy’s a very good player,” Shanahan said. “And when Jimmy’s at the top of his game, I told him this back when we made the trade: ‘There’s no rookie that’s going to just come in here right away and take your job if you’re at the top of your game.’”

Garoppolo is coming off a difficult season marred by a lingering ankle injury, but he’s also just two years removed from leading San Francisco to a Super Bowl appearance. Healthy again, the veteran impressed coaches and teammates with a strong performance during organized team activities last month.

“Ever since Jimmy’s been here, I think he’s played at a very high level for us, especially practice, the way that he conducts himself on a daily basis,” tight end George Kittle said. “That guy still has full control of the huddle and I know he has the whole team that believes in him.”

Added Shanahan: “He’s our best quarterback in the building right now, so he’ll start out training camp that way and we’ve got three other guys behind him. We’re going to give Trey the first chance, obviously, as the backup.”

That’s not to say Lance won’t eventually get his shot as starter. The team has sky-high expectations for the 21-year-old rookie from North Dakota State. And in the meantime, Shanahan didn’t rule out using him in specific situations this season.

“When you do have a quarterback who has the threat to run and who can make throws, that’s something that I would love to use,” Shanahan said.

Of course, the 49ers still need to officially sign Lance to his rookie contract before he can join his teammates at training camp. General manager John Lynch wants to make sure that happens soon.

“We’re sure hopeful that he does,” Lynch said. “It’s important that he is here. I think for any rookie — for every player — every rep counts, every meeting counts, but in particular at that position. So we’re hopeful and expecting that Trey will be here and certainly know the importance of him being here.”

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