49ers

Garcia surprised by lack of 49ers franchise QB, fully believes in Shanahan

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AP

Garcia surprised by lack of 49ers franchise QB, fully believes in Shanahan

The succession of 49ers Pro Bowl quarterbacks ended a decade-and-a-half ago with Jeff Garcia.

After Joe Montana came Steve Young. And when Young retired, Garcia stepped onto the field with the 49ers and earned three consecutive trips to the Pro Bowl. Garcia set the franchise record with 4,278 passing yards in 2000.

Since Garcia’s departure, no other 49ers quarterback has come within 900 yards of his mark.

“It is surprising with the way the game has opened up and you see the amount of yards quarterbacks are throwing for on a consistent basis,” Garcia said.

“It is surprising that they haven’t been able to develop a quarterback to become that face of the franchise.”

Garcia believes the 49ers’ passing game will be rejuvenated this season under first-year head coach Kyle Shanahan and quarterback Brian Hoyer. And Garcia will be a keen observer in his new role as analyst on NBC Sports Bay Area for “49ers Pregame Live” and “49ers Postgame Live.”

“Obviously, football is something that’s comfortable and familiar to me,” said Garcia, who has done some work in the past with the NFL Network. “I thought this was an opportunity to get back in front of the camera and share my knowledge, my enthusiasm and my personality.”

Garcia, 47, lives in San Diego and has four children – all the under the age of 10. After one season of coaching in the Canadian Football League, one season as an assistant with the St. Louis Rams and several years working as a private quarterbacks coach, Garcia said his focus is now on his family.

But the Gilroy native has continued to keep close tabs on his former team through the years. Two years after Garcia left the 49ers, the club selected Alex Smith with the No. 1 overall pick of the 2005 draft.

“They wanted a franchise quarterback in Alex Smith and it didn’t work out that way,” Garcia said. “When you go through inconsistencies of coaching staffs and offenses you’re trying to learn year-in and year-out, it doesn’t put you in a position to have great success.”

The 49ers thought they had a franchise quarterback with Colin Kaepernick, but his production leveled off after a strong start upon taking over for Smith in the middle of the 2012 season.

“When you look at Colin and break down his skillset, it’s not one of a natural passer,” Garcia said. “He struggles with accuracy. I think he struggles with processing his decision-making, going through the reads 1, 2 and 3.

“I don’t think they could truly build a pro-style offense around what he offered on the field.”

Garcia has deep appreciation for the system Mike Shanahan ran while head coach of the Denver Broncos. Garcia said he sees similarities in what first-year 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan has done throughout his coaching career.

“When his dad was in Denver, there was a time I almost signed with Denver just because I wanted to play in that system,” Garcia said. “I like how they move the quarterbacks, and use different set-up points, how they set up opportunities in the passing game because of their great run game and the zone scheme they work with and the play-action and the movement. All those things part of my skillset would’ve been great in that system.”

Hoyer, 31, begins his ninth NFL season with his seventh different team. Garcia believes Hoyer, who enters the first regular-season opener of his career as a starting quarterback, has the ability to thrive in Shanahan’s offense.

“With Hoyer, I think you have a quarterback who understands the game very well,” Garcia said. “He’s been around. He’s mature. He’s been around Tom Brady. He knows how to prepare. He understands the ins and outs of how to prepare as a leader. And he had a stint in Cleveland with Kyle Shanahan.

“I think Brian has enough of the skillset and mentality to make good decisions and be a productive quarterback.”

Inactives: 49ers third-round pick yet to make his debut

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USATSI

Inactives: 49ers third-round pick yet to make his debut

As the 49ers take on the Rams on Thursday Night Football, the team will be without five defenders and two from offense. 

Ahkello Witherspoon, who the team drafted in the third round of the 2017 NFL Draft, will have to wait to make his debut another week. 

Below is the full list of inactives from Insider Matt Maiocco. 

49ers building defensive identity: 'We can help ourselves a lot by...'

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AP

49ers building defensive identity: 'We can help ourselves a lot by...'

SANTA CLARA – After spending the past three seasons with the Seattle Seahawks, inside linebacker Brock Coyle knows how it is supposed to look.

And he believes the 49ers have gotten off to a good start under the direction of first-year defensive coordinator Robert Saleh, who has installed a scheme based on the Seahawks’ blueprint.

“What’s really cool about this defense is if you look at Seattle, Jacksonville and Atlanta, they all have their different traits, their different personalties and their characteristics,” Coyle said. “And we’re building our own identity on defense.

“You see guys flying around and growing. And this was just our second regular-season game together in this defense.”

Saleh uses such terms as “all gas no brakes” and “extreme violence” to describe the kind of style he wants to see from his defense. In the 49ers’ 12-9 loss to the Seattle Seahawks, the 49ers seemed to compete physically with the Seahawks for the first time in a long time.

On the first possession of the game, 49ers safety Jaquiski Tartt set the tone when he separated Seattle tight end Jimmy Graham from the ball with a big hit. Graham was never a factor in the game, catching just one pass for 1 yard.

“If you’re looking from a progress standpoint, I don’t look at so much production as much as what it looks like on tape and the violence, the speed, attacking the ball, that’s what I’m excited about,” Saleh said.

The 49ers will have another chance on a quick turnaround to establish that identity on Thursday night against the Los Angeles Rams at Levi’s Stadium.

Rookie linebacker Reuben Foster will miss his second game in a row with a high-ankle sprain. Ray-Ray Armstrong started against Seattle, alongside NaVorro Bowman, but Saleh said Coyle also fits into his plan.

Coyle entered the game at Seattle in the first half in place of Armstrong, and Saleh hinted he could use both players more interchangeably until Foster returns.

“He deserves it,” Saleh said of Coyle. “He works his tail off and he works hard and we wanted to make sure that we got him some more reps. And to be honest with you, I feel he should probably get a little bit more.

“He’s a great communicator and knows everybody’s job on the football field. He’s very, very strong at the point of attack and he is pretty athletic and fast.”

The 49ers' physicality is showing up on the early downs, as the defense leads the league in allowing just 2.7 yards per play on first downs. But the 49ers have to get a lot better on the down that matters most. The 49ers rank 23rd on third downs, allowing the opposition through two games to convert 46.9 percent of their opportunities.

“Third down is a major emphasis -- every week it is," Saleh said. "We faced 12 more plays than we needed to that first drive just because a lack of execution on that first third-down and 9. We were in great position to get off the field.

"We’ve got to tackle and that takes all 11 running to the ball because a lot of times that first guy does miss, but we can help ourselves a lot by being better on third down for sure.”