The wait is over. Jimmy Garoppolo is officially the 49ers’ starting quarterback.
Head coach Kyle Shanahan hinted at the move on Monday and made it official by announcing it to the team on Tuesday, according to Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area.
Garoppolo will make his third career start — and first for the NFL team in Santa Clara — on Sunday at Soldier Field against the Chicago Bears, his hometown team.
The quarterback, who was acquired shortly before the trade deadline, took his first in-game snaps in Week 12, when then-starter CJ Beathard went down with an injury with about a minute remaining in the game.
Garoppolo finished off the drive that he inherited inside the red zone and threw a touchdown to Louis Murphy to much fanfare at Levi’s Stadium.
With Beathard hurt with a knee contusion and a hip strain, Shanahan felt compelled to start Garoppolo.
The starting reps will give Shanahan and general manager John Lynch another window into assessing their prized acquisition.
“You can definitely [learn a lot about a player] in practice. But, you get the most in the game,” Shanahan said Monday. “You can get it from both. It’s always different, too. They know they can’t hit you in practice.”
Shanahan also said that he wanted his starter to get all of the reps in practice to ensure they have adequate time to prepare.
“One is a rookie quarterback and the other one basically is also, with him just being here. To give those guys the best chance to be successful, you want to give them all the reps, which still isn’t enough reps,” Shanahan said. “Any time you split those evenly, it’s kind of a disservice to both.”
The Bears have an average pass defense, allowing 215.8 yards per game through the air — good for 12th best in the league. They’re tied for the ninth-most sacks in the NFL with 30.