Jimmy Garoppolo makes his first start of the season for the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday versus the Chicago Bears. Given the famously complex system coach Kyle Shanahan employs, it's fair to wonder how much of the offense will be available to a quarterback who has been with the team just a month.
Shanahan isn't worried about Garoppolo knowing the entire playbook on Sunday but rather just the plays he's most comfortable running.
"It's not a big inventory of our training camp and OTAs," Shanahan said Wednesday, via NBC Bay Area. "What's our game plan to beat Chicago? We put that in all Monday night and Tuesday with the idea that we were going to go with Jimmy. This game plan is for Jimmy and he'll work at it all week."
Garoppolo has worn a wristband with the play calls for every game and practice with the 49ers. Both the QB and coach said Wednesday he'd only ditch the crutch if the rest of the week goes smoothly. Keeping the wristband and simplifying a game plan tailored to Garoppolo's strengths would give the new 49ers QB the optimal situation in his first start.
"Whatever he doesn't feel comfortable with and doesn't get down in these three practices, then we'll take it out," Shanahan said, noting he'll meet with the QB later in the week to discuss the call sheet. "Whatever we go with on Sunday, he'll know 100 percent of it."
Shanahan's system includes a bevy of complex calls that takes a smart, savvy quarterback to translate, distribute to teammates, and execute. To understand the time it takes to master the system simply watch this sit down NFL Network's Mike Silver did with Matt Ryan and Shanahan last season. (The play call example at 3:30 of the video: "Exit to East Right Nasty, Two Scat Cherokee, CAN with 3 Scat F-C-O-Y Cross.")
"He's been in a complex offense before," Kilgore said. "He knows how to study. He backed up Tom Brady, one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play the game. I would say he feels much more comfortable since Day 1. How much more comfortable is he?
"Out of 10, he's anywhere from a six to seven, from what I see. He just has to go out on Sunday and have fun."
Kilgore noting the "six to seven" out of 10 underscores the notion that the Garoppolo we see Sunday in Chicago will still have strides to make in the final month of the season before Shanahan and the 49ers can make a true evaluation of whether he can be the long-term answer.