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49ers’ Kyle Shanahan non-committal about starting Jimmy Garoppolo after Trey Lance returns from injury

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Kyle Shanahan didn’t exactly give Jimmy Garoppolo a vote of confidence after the 49ers’ 30-18 loss to the Colts in a rain-soaked “Sunday Night Football” affair.

Shanahan was asked whether he would continue to start Garoppolo, who has started all but one of the 49ers’ six games to begin the season, in Week 8. His response?

“Well, that … I would guess so,” Shanahan said, per CBS Sports. “You know, I’m gonna watch this tape and see if guys are healthy, first of all, and know where our guys are at. It was good for Jimmy to get healthy enough to play in this game tonight.”

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That’s certainly a departure from Shanahan’s tone throughout a majority of the offseason and regular season. The 49ers’ coach remained steadfastly committed to starting Garoppolo in the early stages of the season. Now, it sounds like Shanahan may be pondering a change, depending on whether Trey Lance — who is dealing with a knee injury — is able to get healthy ahead of Week 8.

“I got a whole team to worry about, I’m not just thinking about the quarterback situation right now,” Shanahan told reporters. “I’m gonna evaluate everything, see where our team’s at, see who gives us the best chance to beat Chicago and see what our options are.”

Shanahan made sure to note that Lance wasn’t the only quarterback banged up entering Week 7. Garoppolo missed the 49ers’ Week 5 loss to the Cardinals with a calf injury, and he was still nursing that coming out of the bye week.

“We had two quarterbacks who were hurting this week,” Shanahan said. “Jimmy was able to come back and play. We’ll see if Trey can next week. Still not sure yet.”

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Garoppolo explained after the game that his calf wasn’t at full strength, but he didn’t blame it for his or the 49ers’ struggles during the game against the Colts.

“It held up, I’ll say. I definitely felt it at times,” Garoppolo said of his injured calf. “But it sort of is what it is. I think all the guys out there, we’re all playing with something right now.” 

Despite the injury, Garoppolo went 16 of 27 passing for 181 yards and a touchdown. However, he threw two interceptions and a lost fumble during the game. Those turnovers proved crucial in the 49ers’ loss.

Garoppolo can’t be blamed entirely for those mistakes — the game was played in the midst of a “bomb cyclone”, after all — but nonetheless, they had a major impact on the game’s result.

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It seems Shanahan will have a decision to make. Does he stick with Garoppolo despite his shaky start to the season? Or does he roll with the No. 3 overall pick Lance to see if the rookie can provide a spark?

Whatever Shanahan’s Week 8 choice is, it seems that the leash on Jimmy G is growing shorter by the day.



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