Kyle Shanahan is sticking with Jimmy Garoppolo and plans for the veteran quarterback to start on Sunday against the Chicago Bears.
Garoppolo is coming off of a rough outing against the Indianapolis Colts where the quarterback connected on just 59 percent of his throws for 181 yards, one touchdown, two costly interceptions and a fumble. San Francisco's offense struggled overall in moving the ball, being held to a mere 1-of-11 on third downs and committed a whopping four total turnovers.
As the 49ers sit at 2-4, naturally, questions have begun circling around the team's potential to make a change under center. The 49ers invested heavily in Trey Lance, trading up to the third pick in the draft to acquire the quarterback. However, despite the disappointing loss, Shanahan believes Garoppolo gives the 49ers the best chance to turn their middling season around.
"I thought Jimmy had his worst game yesterday," Shanahan said on Monday. "I thought Jimmy's done some good things in the three and a half games that he's played. He did some pretty good things in our first game, getting us up to a 41-17 lead. I think he came back and made some unbelievable plays to give us the lead with 30 seconds left against Green Bay on Monday Night Football... And then he got hurt early in the game versus Seattle. He just got his first game back last night in that monsoon and it didn't go very good for any of us."
Meanwhile, Lance's status for Sunday is all but certain. The rookie missed Sunday's contest while working his way back from a knee injury sustained in Week 5 against the Arizona Cardinals.
Per Shanahan, the rookie "is on pace" to make a limited return to practice this week. But regardless of the rookie's health, Shanahan reiterated there's no "open competition" nor are there plans on rotating quarterbacks.
While fans might have to temper expectations when it comes to Lance's control of the offense, there are likely three cases where the 49ers could see the rookie getting more opportunities under center: during plays that complement his skillset, when Garoppolo's health is in question, or if the team finds themselves out of contention and opt to further develop the rookie, which Shanahan feels isn't the case seven weeks into the season.
"We know Trey is the future here, and we're trying to do what's best for him and for our team," Shanahan said. "Trey is coming off a pretty big injury, and we're going to keep bringing him along and keep getting him prepared as good as he can be to always be ready to come in and help on the plays we ask him to, always be ready to take over if Jimmy gets hurt, and being ready to be the future for us, too."
In other news, safety Jaquiski Tartt suffered a bone bruise on his knee on Sunday night and is expected to "be out a few weeks." Rookie Talanoa Hufanga, who stepped in against the Colts in the veteran's absence, is an option to see more snaps with Tartt out.
As for players working their way back from injury, the 49ers were without left tackle Trent Williams, who popped up on the 49ers injury report last week after re-aggravating an ankle injury sustained in Week 5. Shanahan initially expected Williams to play against the Colts, however, the head coach revealed his ankle responded "worse than anticipated" as he remained "day-to-day."
As for Javon Kinlaw (knee), the 49ers are still evaluating the defensive tackle and anticipate a decision to be made this week on whether he is on track for a timely return or if he is an Injured Reserve candidate.