Someone asked Richard Sherman to name what's impressed him most from the first two practices of Organized Team Activities. His response? Jimmy Garoppolo.
"Jimmy was threading it today. He got the ball right where he wanted to," Sherman said of the San Francisco 49ers franchise quarterback. "Today he had a lot of reps and he looked really good. He was putting the ball in some risky spots, and they were real confident throws. He completed every single one of them. It just shows where he's at in his progress."
Garoppolo is in the process of returning from a torn ACL suffered in Week 3 of the 2018 season. Sherman's review of Garoppolo's performance at OTAs indicates that the quarterback is continuing to come along nicely. The corner referenced one throw in particular from Tuesday's practice.
Jordan Matthews was running a 15-yard dig route from right to left during a 7-on-7 drill. Matthews wasn't Sherman's responsibility, but the veteran corner saw an opportunity for some early bragging rights over Garoppolo. Sherman pursued the route in the hopes of intercepting the pass, or at worst getting a hand on it to force an incompletion.
Instead it was Garoppolo who won this battle, fitting his throw beyond Sherman's fingertips and into Matthews' arms.
"It was a great ball, and it was a confident throw from him," Sherman said. "It was exactly what you want to see from your quarterback coming back from his rehab. He's only in Day 2, and he's making those throws already."
Sherman approached Garoppolo in between drills to banter about the play. It's those little things that Garoppolo missed so much during his absence. Now the quarterback has retaken the reins of the offense for the first time since late September.
Garoppolo said he's comfortable in the brace he's wearing over his left knee, and that he's almost back to lifting equal weight on both legs. His practice reps will continue to be limited to individual and 7-on-7 work. He'll rejoin full-team drills during training camp as a precaution to avoid the risk of any defensive lineman getting too close to his knee. Garoppolo's comfort with the awkward, reactionary movements that come with being a quarterback is one of the final dominoes left to fall in his return.
"That's the point where we're at," Garoppolo said. "The big steps have been taken. Now we're focusing on the little things."