Jeff Garcia

Garcia: Rookie QB Beathard not the key to turning around 49ers' offense

Garcia: Rookie QB Beathard not the key to turning around 49ers' offense

The most popular player among every fan base of a struggling offensive team is the backup quarterback.

And while there might be a small percentage of 49ers fans who are clamoring for rookie C.J. Beathard to trot off the sideline to replace Brian Hoyer, that does not seem to be a realistic option at this point.

Hoyer has experienced some success during his journeyman career. And he was 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan’s top choice to join him as his anointed quarterback after spending the 2014 season together with the Cleveland Browns. Hoyer entered the regular season as the unquestioned starter and someone who earned the confidence of his teammates through the entire offseason.

But there is no getting around the facts:

--The 49ers did not score a touchdown in their first two games for the first time in franchise history;
--The 49ers have converted just four of 23 (17.4 percent) of their third-down opportunities.
--Hoyer has thrown for just 292 yards in two games with no touchdowns and two interceptions. His passer rating is an abysmal 60.7.

“I have to play a whole lot better,” Hoyer said following the 49ers’ 12-9 loss to the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday. “I’m disappointed with myself.”

Former 49ers quarterback Jeff Garcia, a four-time Pro Bowl selection, said on “The 49ers Insider Podcast” the 49ers’ offense has a much better chance to improve with Hoyer – and not the rookie.

“It comes back to your quarterback and decision-making and accuracy,” said Garcia, an analyst on NBC Sports Bay Area's 49ers pre- and post-game coverage. “And if you’re not able to establish that, then you better get back to what you have within your team and what’s going to give you a better option. But right now Brian is the best option.

“I don’t think it’s a time where they go with C.J. Beathard. It’s not that time. Brian is the guy that has to battle through these inconsistencies. His play has to step up to another level.”

Garcia: 49ers game plan for season requires two things

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AP

Garcia: 49ers game plan for season requires two things

SANTA CLARA – Balance and patience.

Former 49ers quarterback Jeff Garcia, now an analyst on NBC Sports Bay Area’s coverage of 49ers games, believes his old team will need plenty of both qualities this season in Kyle Shanahan’s first year as head coach.

Running back Carlos Hyde gained 44 yards on seven carries against the Carolina Pathers’ stout defense in the first half of the 49ers’ season opener. But after the Panthers scored two field goals late in the first half and added a touchdown on their first possession of the second half, the 49ers were forced to abandon the run.

In the first half, 49ers quarterback Brian Hoyer completed 11 of 15 attempts for 88 yards and had a well-thrown pass 40 yards down the field go through the hands of receiver Marquise Goodwin. But Hoyer and the 49ers' offense struggled in the second half as they tried to play catchup.

“The way this offense works is through balance,” Garcia said on the “49ers Insider Podcast.”

“And the way Hoyer can be successful is through balance. He is not going to be your pure drop-back, Drew Brees, 50-times-in-the-air type of guy. He’s an efficient quarterback when he’s given an opportunity to have that rhythm.

“When it’s forced upon him to be an every-down thrower, that’s not how this team's makeup is going to allow them to be successful. They don’t have those kinds of weapons.”

The 49ers’ regular-season opening roster is comprised of 30 players who are new to the organization after the club went 2-14 last season, prompting to the firings of general manager Trent Baalke and coach Chip Kelly.

The 49ers’ 23-3 loss to the Panthers to kick off the Shanahan-John Lynch era featured plenty of physical errors, mental errors and some miscalculations as the 49ers unsuccessfully went for it on fourth downs in the second quarter, leading to Carolina field goals.

But the 49ers’ less-than-inspiring opener does not necessarily mean there is no hope for the season, Garcia said.

"There has to be some patience," Garcia said. "They can walk away from this game and realize, 'There’s a half-dozen plays out there -- six plays -- that if we just execute better, if we don't make the mental error that we made, this is a different ball game.'"

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.”