Jimmy Garoppolo, George Kittle still aren’t in game shape, Kyle Shanahan says

The 49ers’ offense was stunted in their 11-10 loss to the Denver Broncos on Sunday, and Kyle Shanahan believes that was partially a result of players missing time on the field prior to their Week 3 contest.

There is no argument that Jimmy Garoppolo has had much better performances than the one he had Sunday. The veteran quarterback closed out his first start of the season completing 18 of his 29 attempts for 211 yards, one touchdown and one interception.

The 49ers’ head coach knows that missing OTAs and training camp while rehabilitating his shoulder after offseason surgery caught up with Garoppolo at Empower Field at Mile High in Week 3.

Garoppolo did not get any reps with the first team until the week prior to Sunday’s matchup because as the No. 2 quarterback, his job was to “play the role of opposing quarterback” during practice. One week was not enough for Garoppolo to be back in mid-season form.

“I think that’s the same for any player that didn’t do preseason,” Shanahan said Monday. “It takes guys some time to get into game shape. You don’t really simulate exactly games on a practice field, that happens in the games.”

Sunday night after the loss, Garoppolo did report that his arm was “feeling it” but added that his shoulder felt fine. The quarterback cited that the change in his preparation for the season was needed, although it definitely had an effect on his performance as the starter.

“I think that’ll come sooner than later,” Shanahan said. “If he said that, I’m sure he was tired as the game went, but we just have to get him practicing more and get him playing in games more, the game shape will come.”

All-Pro George Kittle was in a similar situation as Garoppolo, playing in his first full NFL game since the Jan. 30 NFC Championship Game against the Los Angeles Rams. The tight end did play in nine snaps in the club’s third preseason contest but sat out the next two weeks with a groin injury.

“You can’t underestimate, when guys miss time, how hard it is to go out and play a game like that,” Shanahan said. “So yeah, George, he did some good things, but he’s not there yet because he hasn’t ‘t been playing much.

“It was nice to get him back in practice more last week. It was nice to get him through the game healthy and if we can keep that trend, I know he’ll keep getting back to himself.”

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Kittle didn’t feel a drop off from the time he spent off the field. The tight end believes it won’t be long before the offense is clicking again like they were at the end of the 2021 season.

“I mean, I didn’t feel disconnected at all,” Kittle said. “I didn’t really feel a change. Like I said, this is my first game this year and I’ll ask him. Last year was with Jimmy as well. He was fine in the huddle, communicated well there. Like I said, we didn’t execute, didn’t do anything on third down, three turnovers and a safety.”

The 49ers have an extra day to prepare to host the Los Angeles Rams at Levi’s Stadium for Monday Night Football. With another week of practice under their belts, the expectation is that the 49ers will come out of the tunnel with more efficiency than they did in Week 3.

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