San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan met with the media on Tuesday in Palm Beach, Fla. for the NFL's Annual Meeting. In a nearly 30 minute sit down with the media, Shanahan gave insight into the team's offseason moves so far, including the team's quarterback situation, coaching turnover and his thoughts on the league's new overtime rule. Here are five things we learned from Shanahan's session with the media:
1 - Holding onto Jimmy G "is a Good Thing"
Three quarterbacks remain on the 49ers roster after the first wave of free agency, which isn't an issue for Shanahan and Co. Although the expectation was for the team to trade Jimmy Garoppolo in exchange for draft picks after the 2021 season, the quarterback's procedure on his throwing shoulder became a concern for a number of teams heading into offseason programs.
"We're not just going to get rid of a good quarterback because we have other quarterbacks on the roster," Shanahan said. "Quarterbacks are really hard to come by and some teams don't have any at all. The fact that we have three that we're happy with, it is a good thing."
Shanahan mentioned that Trey Lance wasn't ready to beat out Garoppolo last year, however, he believes the now-second year quarterback has made significant strides at leading the team heading into his sophomore campaign. No matter who ends up under center, both quarterbacks can benefit from competition in training camp.
"Jimmy's done a great job for us. We brought Trey here to be that eventually. And I think that'll be sooner than later. But when Jimmy gets a surgery, we can't upgrade our team by getting some good picks until people feel good about that. I'm alright with that. We're not just getting rid of him to get rid of him. Jimmy is a good player that we all really like as a person and as a teammate, and we're going to wait to see whatever helps the Niners the most."
2 - Shanahan Feels Indifferent to the League's New Overtime Rule
While the regular-season overtime rules will remain the same (a touchdown on the opening drive wins the game), the NFL agreed to change its overtime rules in postseason contests, guaranteeing that both teams have a chance to possess the ball. Fortunately for San Francisco, they have had very few games decided by the former overtime rule. However, Shanahan has no preference in any of the new or old changes to the rule.
"Everyone wants to change, but I don't mind too much," Shanahan said. "I don't have a preference either way … I don't mind when they change it and I like how it used to be also. I've never had too big of an issue with it. I've definitely lost games where we haven't gotten the ball. But we've also been able to hold people to a field goal and come back and win on a touchdown the next time. So I really don't have a strong opinion on which way it goes. What everyone else decides, just tell us the rules and we'll figure it out when we get to overtime."
3 - Why Brian Griese was the Best Candidate for 49ers Quarterback Coaching Position
In advance of the 2022 season, the 49ers experienced one of the largest offensive coaching staff turnovers since Shanahan and general manager John Lynch took command in 2017. One of the most eye-catching names among the changes is former NFL quarterback and ESPN analyst Brian Griese. Although having never coached before, Shanahan believes Griese was a good fit given his NFL experience and ability to relate with a young quarterback like Lance.
"He has a huge passion for football," Shanahan said. "I personally think he was the smartest football player I've ever been around. The way that he prepared, how organized he was, he's as detailed of a guy as I've ever been around.
"I thought he could bring something different to the quarterback position. I deal with the quarterback a ton, Bobby Slowik deals with the quarterback a ton. We were always working with the quarterback so that was neat to bring in somebody who could bring something a little bit different … I love that Trey has someone that has been through the battle. I can tell him about it and what I've seen with guys, but someone has actually had to go through the ups and downs and the pressures of having a good game and then throwing that pick that loses the next game, how to deal with the media, how to deal with just NFL season and it's hard to find a player that's done it at such a high level that's willing to go through that commitment. Brian seems all on board, we've had him here for a month and it's been great."
4 - How Lance is Developing in the Offseason
Lance took to Southern California this offseason to focus on his mechanics with throwing coaches ahead of the start of OTAs scheduled later next month. He's also been spotted training with teammates, including Brandon Aiyuk and Nate Sudfeld. Given the aforementioned timeline of Garoppolo's return to the field, San Francisco has full expectations for Lance to take the reins heading into spring training.
"I wanted him to get away for a little bit," Shanahan said. "He needed some rest. Trey's the guy I talk to all the time. He's down in Orange County right now working with a bunch of guys throwing all the time … Trey's always working, he's got some guys he's with who really focus on the throwing part and the mechanics of that. They work with a lot of NFL guys.
"Trey's working his tail off, he knows how I feel about him. He knows what our expectations are for him … Trey is preparing hard for these nine OTA days, so when he can come back, he can get the most out of the nine practices you're allowed to do with them, because that's how you get better."
5 - Meeting the 49ers Top Needs in Free Agency
The biggest goals for the 49ers in free agency were to add more talent to the cornerback position and special teams unit. Shanahan was glad to have checked those boxes with the free agency signings of linebacker Oren Burks, cornerback Charvarius Ward, defensive tackle Hassan Ridgeway, wide receiver Ray-Ray McCloud III, safety George Odum, defensive lineman Kerry Hyder Jr. and cornerback Darqueze Dennard.
"The offseason has gone how we expected it to go," Shanahan said. "We went into free agency and personally I thought we really needed to get a corner, that was our number one need, and we got that. That's what I was really happy with. We also needed to improve our special teams, and we got three special teams players who also will contribute on offense and defense too which is very important to me. I'm very excited about that.
"I just liked how (Ward) played bump coverage the most. They put him on an island a lot. He's got extremely long arms, he never panics, he's got very quick feet and he stays on top of guys. They put him in some positions that a lot of guys would just back up and play a little timid, but I never saw him change. I just liked his style, and getting to meet the guy, I'm real happy that he's a 49er."