SANTA CLARA — Richard Sherman’s eyes widened as he saw new San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Jordan Matthews break down to make the cut on his dig route.
As Sherman attempted to cut off the play, he was surprised by a pinpoint ball from quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo that whizzed past his hands and into Matthews’ arms.
“He threaded one like right by my fingertips,” Sherman said following San Francisco’s organized team activities workout on Tuesday. “He threw a ball that if the receiver doesn’t get it, there’s no way I can get it but if he throws it anywhere else, I’m taking it. It was just a great ball and it was a confident throw from him. That’s exactly what you want to see from your quarterback moving on with his rehab.”
In the 49ers second day of OTAs on Tuesday, Garoppolo showed just how far he’s progressed since tearing his ACL late last September. Garoppolo impressed his teammates and the 49ers coaching staff as he looks to be on track to make a full recovery by training camp.
“I think he’s handling it well,” said 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan. “He’s getting used to it. It’s a long process when you recover from an ACL. He’s getting as much work in as he can.”
In his first few days back on the football field with San Francisco since rupturing his left ACL in Week 3 against the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium, Garoppolo has had to battle the team’s concerns of re-injury. With Garoppolo eight months removed from reconstructive surgery, Shanahan and the rest of the 49ers coaching staff have opted to keep him out of full-team activities, which include 11-on-11 drills.
“We just can’t have the risk of guys around his legs,” Shanahan said. “It’s going to take him a while to fully be able to protect himself and react.”
As a result, Garoppolo has been limited to seven-on-seven drills, which feature no offensive or defensive linemen, who often fall or are pushed into the lower extremities of players in the backfield.
Despite the limitations, Garoppolo, 27, did not appear to be suffering from any hindrances. From his drop-backs to ball-placement on his passes, Garoppolo showcased poise and patience with the ball in his hands.
Along with outsmarting Sherman with a dart to Matthews, Garoppolo also hit 49ers speedster Marquise Goodwin with a deep pass down the right sideline, testing his deep-ball capabilities and ability to step into a pass with his left leg.
“The down-the-field throws, I’m able to make those finally,” Garoppolo said. “Just about all the throws are doable now.”
Garoppolo’s main focus is on re-adjusting to the speed of the game, while remembering how to play reactionary football, rather than anticipatory.
“It’s the weird movements, the reaction movements, things that are hard to simulate in practice,” he said. “It where you don’t want to have to think about it as much. You want to react to the defense. But it’s coming along.”
According to the 49ers, the team’s medical staff has a strict rehabilitation schedule that they plan to keep Garoppolo on until he’s fully cleared for contact, which Shanahan says he expects by training camp.
Until then, it’s on the training staff to keep that governer on Garoppolo despite his recent progress.
“That’s what I have the training staff for — they’ll reel me back in from time to time,” Garoppolo said. “I want to go all the time. Get as many reps as I can and as fast as I can … They do a good job at holding me back but at times, we have out arguments.”
– Midway through Tuesday’s practice, Nick Bosa, the second overall pick in the NFL draft last month, limped to the sideline after pulling his right hamstring during position drills. He was held out of the remainder of practice. Shanahan was unsure of the severity of the injury.
After using their first-round pick on Bosa, the 49ers expect the former Ohio State Buckeye to be a key component on their revamped defensive line, which also saw the addition of former Kansas City Chief Dee Ford earlier this offseason.
At this time, it is unknown how much time Bosa will miss, but for a rookie, any lost opportunity to learn their team’s scheme and get reps on the field is less than ideal.
– The 49ers announced that running back Matt Breida will not participate during OTAs due to an injured pectoral muscle he suffered while lifting at the team’s facility.
“It was slightly torn, which anytime you hear a torn pec, you think back to like [LB] Malcolm [Smith] and stuff, which was a year. It’s not like that,” Shanahan said. “He is going to miss OTAs. You can see him running around out there. He does everything with us and looks fine, but we’ve got to be smart with that.”
Last season, Breida led the 49ers in rushing with 814 yards on 153 attempts. With a 5.32 yard average per touch, he also finished fourth in the league in yards per attempt last year.