49ers fans are anxious to see newcomer Jimmy Garoppolo, right, but 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan intends to play CJ Beathard, left, until the time is right. (Jacob C. Palmer/S.F. Examiner)

CJ Beathard remaining 49ers starting QB is another sign Kyle Shanahan is rebuilding team his way

SANTA CLARA — Before the bye week, the 49ers answered the biggest question facing their new braintrust: Will they win a game? Now, the question is when the team will unveil its quarterback of the future.

The thinking goes, a team can’t trade a future second-round pick for someone who’s welcomed like a conquering hero, only to plant him on the bench. The Niners need to know what it has in Jimmy Garoppolo. He’s going to be a free agent after this season, and it’ll be decision-time then. Without game reps, how can the personnel department ensure it’s properly informed?

Yet, Kyle Shanahan remains unswayed.

“He just hasn’t been here long enough, and I think he’ll get an opportunity to be better each week. I don’t think we’re going to see Jimmy’s best football, to be fair to him, until next year because that’s what guys need,” Shanahan said Wednesday. “But C.J. did play his best football last week, which definitely, to me, made the decision easier.

There’s no reason to rush Garoppolo when he can learn a ton behind the scenes. Shanahan and General Manager John Lynch know his pedigree, they like him and fans shouldn’t be worried, they insist.

And in the near term, Shanahan doesn’t want to take another step backward in implementing his complex playbook. He’s already done that once this season, out of necessity, when Brian Hoyer proved incapable of playing the placeholder.

Another reboot means another delay for everyone on the team because, contrary to popular belief, Shanahan isn’t assessing just the quarterback position. He said he doesn’t want to scale back anything, and his Week 12 opponent has noticed an evolved approach, too.

“You can see the offense growing,” Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll said in a conference call on Wednesday. “You can see Kyle be able to expand and do more stuff. He’s an incredible offensive coordinator and play-caller that we’ve respected for a long time. I think they’ve just grown and they’re getting more proficient at what they’re doing.”

Shanahan said he announced his decision to start Beathard on Wednesday for two reasons: First, it would be exhausting to keep the will-they or won’t-they talk alive. Second, there’s no competitive disadvantage to picking one publicly when the two choices play a similar style.

Shanahan’s willingness to acknowledge the outside noise speaks to his familiarity with this situation.

In 2014, when he was the offensive coordinator for the Cleveland Browns — another team going through a seemingly endless rebuild — he was forced to draft and play Johnny Manziel before he was ready.

By coming to Santa Clara under the terms he did — with a six-year contract that allows him to be patient, and an empowering hand-picked general manager — Shanahan wasn’t going to allow mistakes of the past to repeat themselves.

He doesn’t care what anyone else might think about his assessment process. Shanahan is going to rebuild the Niners his way.

Contact Examiner Sports Editor Jacob C. Palmer at jpalmer@sfexaminer.com or on Twitter, @jacobc_palmer.

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Legal challenge halts SFPD jurisdiction over dog attacks on federal land

Dog owners beware — canine attacks are now consequence-free on federal land… Continue reading

49ers battle with the Saints lives up to its billing

Kittle’s 39-yard catch-and-run had placed San Francisco in prime position for a game-winning field goal as the 49ers trailed 46-45

SF police shoot burglary suspect in Mission District

Man allegedly attacked officers before being shot in first on-duty SFPD shooting since June 2018

Not even heavy rain can stop the 25th annual SantaCon

Jolly, drunken fun event for Santas is the ‘least wonderful time of the year’ for many locals

Ronen says $100M service expansion is ‘going to fix’ SF’s mental health crisis

Compromise mental health plan has backing of mayor, full Board of Supervisors

Most Read