49ers' Jimmy Garoppolo to train with quarterback guru this summer
SANTA CLARA — The final practice of 49ers minicamp ended Wednesday afternoon. The players will have roughly the next 40 days to hang out, relax and take a vacation if they choose.
Except for Jimmy Garoppolo.
The 49ers starting quarterback, who hasn’t played 11-on-11 football since he tore his left ACL on Sept. 23, 2018, will spend the next few weeks preparing for training camp with quarterback guru Tom House.
“He knows the offense pretty well,” Garoppolo told reporters Wednesday in the 49ers’ media work room. “He will really help us going forward. These next 40 days will be big.”
House, 72, is a former Major League pitcher who currently runs a quarterback academy in Huntington Beach called 3DQB. He is famous for refining quarterbacks’ passing mechanics, and has worked with some of the best quarterbacks in the world, including Drew Brees, Matt Ryan, Matthew Stafford, Jared Goff, Carson Wentz, Eli Manning, Joe Flacco, Alex Smith and Tom Brady.
“My agent knew (House) pretty well, so that’s where the connection started,” Garoppolo explained. Garoppolo’s agent, Don Yee, also represents Brady, one of House’s most loyal clients.
Before OTAs this offseason, Garoppolo travelled to Huntington Beach and worked out with House while rehabbing a torn ACL. Garoppolo still is rehabbing the knee, but it is making progress. And now, he wants to fine-tune his mechanics and make sure he’s ready for the upcoming season.
One thing in particular he will work on: deep passes. Every one he threw during minicamp landed incomplete.
“It’s been coming off the hand very well, I thought,” Garoppolo said. “When you have the speed like Marquise Goodwin and Dante Pettis and those guys, their ability to separate from the defense makes it easy. Just don’t underthrow them.”
Garoppolo said he will attend House’s 3DQB clinic along with a couple of 49ers receivers — possibly Pettis, who is from San Clemente, as well as tight end Ross Dwelley, who shares the same agent as Garoppolo.
“During these 40 days, you do so many different things physically and mentally,” Garoppolo said. “You’re trying to recover at the same time while getting ready for training camp. I think just having the timing of the offense down, being in rhythm with the receivers I will work with and just getting comfortable (will be key). It has been a little while since I’ve been in 11-on-11 football, so just getting as comfortable as I can as quickly as I can.”
Garoppolo almost played 11-on-11 football Wednesday during minicamp.
For the first time this offseason, he took the field and faced all 11 defenders, including the defensive linemen. Shanahan instructed the defensive lineman not to rush Garoppolo. They were supposed to stand still and raise their hands, nothing more.
They didn’t follow directions. They ran at Garoppolo, but didn’t touch him. Shanahan immediately stopped the drill and ordered the defensive linemen off the field.
“I thought there was a huge misunderstanding,” Shanahan said. “They said they were just putting their hands up. I thought it looked a little different, so we ended it pretty quick. It wasn’t what I envisioned. I told the D-Line, ‘No one’s allowed to rush.’ And the animals they are, and it’s why we love them, they couldn’t help (but rush). I saw it so I stopped (the drill). I wasn’t going to mess with it.”
Garoppolo will not face a live pass rush when he works out with House the next few weeks. But Garoppolo will face a pass rush in training camp and during the preseason. By then, he must be confident with his mechanics and his surgically repaired left knee. Must be ready to face a pass rush, and mentally prepared to step into a throw while taking a hit.
“The mental part is probably the first step of it,” Garoppolo said. “But you really don’t look at (the pass rush). You feel them while you’re looking at the receivers and the (coverage). All that will come with time. I’ll try to implement as many drills as I can during this 40 days off. Once the bullets start flying, then we’ll really see.”
Pro Bowl tight end George Kittle suffered a hip injury midway through Tuesday’s practice and sat out Wednesday.
“We took him out because he’s had some tightness in his hip and we wanted to be smart with him,” Shanahan said.
Kittle has had minor injury issues since the 49ers drafted him. In 2017, he had a hip injury, but didn’t miss a game because of it. And in 2018, he played half the season with fractured rib cartilage.