Fred Warner Jersey

The 49ers’ release of Reuben Foster thrust rookie linebacker Fred Warner even further into the spotlight. The third-round pick from BYU has gone from nice complementary piece to one of the foundations in the middle of a rebuilding 49ers defense.

Defensive coordinator Robert Saleh knows Warner is equal to the task of running the show in his defense. The 22-year-old is already one of the smartest players Saleh has coached.

“It goes back to what I had mentioned earlier about Fred. He’s one of the smartest interviews I’ve ever had,” Saleh told reporters Thursday. “He can take in information better than anyone I’ve been around. He’s up there with [former NFL linebacker] Paul Posluszny to me, and Paul Posluszny was darn-near a rocket scientist.”

Warner quickly earned the green dot on the back of his helmet, which means he has the radio in his helmet and gets play calls from Saleh. He then relays them to the rest of the defense and ensures everyone is lined up in the right place. It’s a significant additional responsibility that requires an exceptional football IQ.

That cerebral approach to the MIKE linebacker spot gives the 49ers something different than they had with Foster in that position. Foster was moved to the WILL linebacker spot prior to his exit from Santa Clara.

“When you look at Reuben, Reuben’s personality, he wants to run, hit and hurt. That’s his personality, so just let him go do that,” Saleh said. “Not that he wasn’t capable of playing the MIKE, because he’s very, very capable. He’s very intelligent, very smart. But, when it came to Fred, just his intelligence and his IQ is off the charts.”

That IQ is why the youngest player on the 49ers’ roster is able to take on such a vital leadership role in San Francisco’s defense.

“When you talk about the MIKE linebacker and having presence in front of the huddle, he’s staring at a bunch of veterans,” Saleh said. “For them to have trust and belief in what is coming out of his mouth as truth, that’s more important than anything. Because of what he’s been able to do, his study habits and his work habits, he’s got full trust of the huddle and because of it those guys can trust that their play will be right.”

Part of a rookie’s journey to gaining respect from veterans is on-field production. Warner leads the 49ers with 84 total tackles. No other player has more than 40. His tackle numbers put him at No. 17 in the NFL, No. 10 in the NFC, and No. 4 among rookies.

Warner is also outstanding in coverage – an essential aspect of playing linebacker in the modern NFL. He’s broken up a pass in three consecutive games. He’ll be the first 49ers player since Patrick Willis to break up passes in four consecutive games if he breaks up one more Sunday against Seattle according to a release from the 49ers. Pro Football Focus has him as the top-graded linebacker in coverage from Weeks 8-12, and the No. 3 linebacker overall.

The statistical production is key for San Francisco, but Warner’s ability to orchestrate the defense and be the quarterback of that unit is what has him primed to now be the face of the 49ers defense.

“Even though everyone’s responsible for their own alignments and getting lined up, like I said, he’s the trump card and his voice has to be the loudest to get people lined up and he’s got to do it with great conviction,” Saleh said. “You can’t have great conviction unless you know what you’re doing. So, that’s what makes him special.”

Dante Pettis Jersey

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Let’s get one thing straight: The 49ers do not need a No. 1 wide receiver.

Would they like to get one? Of course. Do they need one? No. After all, championship teams of late rarely are headlined by a All-Pro caliber wide receiver.

But what the 49ers want to accomplish this offseason is to add a starting wide receiver to strengthen the overall depth chart. Dante Pettis, a second-round pick last season, is projected as a starter.

The other starting position is up for grabs between Kendrick Bourne, Marquise Goodwin and a player or two not yet on the team’s 90-man roster.

“I have big expectations for Dante,” 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis. “We did before we drafted him. We had it throughout this year, and we expect him to continue to get better. I think he went through the normal rookie-type ups and downs that a lot of them do as receivers.

“I expect him to come in (this) year and be even better. He’s a guy who can play all three of the positions. He’s also a good returner, and we’re very excited that we have Dante.”

Due to Pettis’ versatility, the 49ers have the flexibility acquire a big, possession-style receiver or a speed-burner to match with Pettis on the outside.

On the roster: Dante Pettis, Kendrick Bourne, Marquise Goodwin, Trent Taylor, Richie James, Max McCaffrey, Steven Dunbar, Jordan Smallwood.

On the market: The wide receivers scheduled for free agency include Golden Tate (Philadelphia), Tyrell Williams (L.A. Chargers), John Brown (Baltimore) and Donte Moncrief (Jacksonville). Tate is the most-productive of the group, but he is 30 and figures to receive a sizable contract as an unrestricted free agent. Williams (6-foot-4, 205 pounds) is coming off a 41-catch season that totaled 653 yards and five touchdowns. He started 10 of the Chargers’ 16 games. Brown and Moncrief may not be improvements over Bourne, who caught 42 passes for 487 yards and four TDs as a second-year player.

Offseason approach: The 49ers showed no interest in adding Antonio Brown in a trade. However, Odell Beckham might be a different story. If he were to become available in a trade with the New York Giants, the 49ers would almost certainly be interested. Then, all of a sudden, there’s a No. 1 receiver. Otherwise, it is difficult to see the 49ers spending big money to lure one of the free agents currently on the market. The team’s most likely approach would be to invest their second-round pick, No. 36 overall, on the top available rookie wide receiver on their draft board.

Mike McGlinchey Jersey

Mike McGlinchey was an industrial-size baby who was the first of six siblings, making him, by size and birth order, a natural protector.

The 10-pound, 6-ounce infant grew into a 6-foot-8, 315-pound rookie right tackle who will make his NFL debut when the 49ers visit Minnesota in their season opener Sunday. His ability to shield others from harm made him a first-team All-American at Notre Dame and the No. 9 pick in the draft.

His elite skill to safeguard isn’t limited to quarterbacks.

As the oldest sibling by three years, McGlinchey’s protective instincts kick in with his gigantic and athletic family. It includes an uncle, brother and eight cousins, including Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan, who have played college football.

And McGlinchey, who has 24 first cousins, is particularly fierce when it comes to two relatives who could not play organized sports.

McGlinchey’s brother, Jim, 15, was diagnosed with autism at 18 months. And his cousin and best friend, Dan McCain, 26, continues to deal with significant health issues: He was born with microscopic holes in his lungs, had open heart surgery at 16 and underwent another procedure in February to replace the valve that was inserted 10 years earlier.

At one point when discussing his bond with Dan, McGlinchey, a genial giant with a passion for karaoke, politely but firmly made a request when it came to how his cousin would be portrayed: “As long as he’s perceived as my biggest fan, best friend and coach,” McGlinchey said, “and not the story that’s heartwarming.”

And when it comes to both Jim and Dan, McGlinchey protects them from potential pity. This story, he says, is not about what he’s done for them.

“It’s hard to put into words what the two of them have shaped me to be,” McGlinchey said, “but they certainly have had their fair share in my development, that’s for sure.”

McGlinchey credits his brother and cousin for keeping him grounded and connected to his family-first, blue-collar suburban Philadelphia roots.

Last month, a few weeks after signing a four-year, $18.4 million fully guaranteed contract, McGlinchey bought a house that remains largely vacant and undecorated. The only artwork is a framed picture that Jim, a talented artist, drew for him the day after he was drafted. It depicts them, together, celebrating his selection above the words, “Congratulations, Mike McGlinchey!”

A few weeks ago, Dan, after receiving permission from his cardiologist to fly, was the first of McGlinchey’s brothers or cousins to visit him in the Bay Area. On an off day, Dan toured the 49ers’ facility and met quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, among others.

“They keep me tied back to home, which is where I should be,” McGlinchey said. “They have given all of us perspective on what to appreciate out of life and what’s important to us. Like my grandfather always said, remember who you are and remember where you came from. And Jim and Dan are the anchors in which all that is experienced in our family.”

In a family filled with accomplished athletes, McGlinchey stood out.

Despite his size, McGlinchey played eight positions, including quarterback and wide receiver, at William Penn Charter in Philadelphia. As a high school sophomore, he dunked on Ryan, then an NFL quarterback, during a driveway game that’s part of family lore. And that same year, he took up the shot put to strengthen his lower body for football. The result: He won two state titles in the event.

“I figured out how to do it pretty good,” he said.

At Notre Dame, McGlinchey was a two-time captain, and his blend of size, skill and character placed him on the 49ers’ wish list. Adam Peters, the team’s vice president of player personnel, acknowledges that background work on college prospects often yields varying degrees of positive feedback. McGlinchey was different.

“With Mike, it was superlatives, superlatives, superlatives, superlatives,” Peters said. “And then you meet him, and he’s everything that everyone described. … He’s more mature than a lot of the (veterans) we have. He might be more mature than I am.”

In their digging, the 49ers presumably didn’t track down the senior-citizen stadium ushers McGlinchey befriended at Notre Dame. Or the maintenance workers with whom he connected in high school. McGlinchey’s mom, Janet, says Mike’s upbringing is why her son’s lofty accomplishments didn’t cause him to elevate himself.

“Growing up, we called Mike ‘Midas’ — everything he did turned to gold,” Janet said. “But Jim and Dan have helped him keep him grounded to know that there is another world out there. And some people aren’t as gifted as you. So stay humble, remember where you came from, and remember to give back.”

McGlinchey has given as much as he has gained in his relationships with Jim and Dan.

Like many with autism, Jim craves routine, which explains why he attended only four of his brother’s games in college (Dan went to too many to count). Last season, when Notre Dame played in the Citrus Bowl in Orlando, the family tried to cajole Jim by explaining it was the home of Disney World. Jim wasn’t interested. Moments after McGlinchey was drafted, Jim, who has not flown, made an announcement: He was never traveling to San Francisco.

McGlinchey’s football prowess means little to Jim, who think he’s at his best in another role.

“He’s good at being my brother,” Jim said in 2016 in a Bleacher Report video on their relationship. “He takes care of me.”

Mike has done that since Janet sat down her older children shortly after Jim’s diagnosis. At the time, they were told they would have to take particular care to look out for Jim as he grew up. In later years, it was explained they would care for Jim if there came a time when Janet and her husband, Mike Sr., no longer could.

“I explained this is our family,” Janet said. “This is what happens.”

And what has happened with Jim has been unexpected. He initially was not expected to talk, but now “he won’t shut up,” says Janet, laughing. He was an honor student in middle school, and the family has started rethinking whether he could live independently.

Jim still struggles with emotional control and social cues, and he has a very specific list of intense likes (hotel pools) and dislikes (being told what to draw). McGlinchey highlights his brother’s grades, spot-on drawings of Nickelodeon characters and gift for creating videos.

“Jimmy,” McGlinchey said, “is absolutely smarter than everybody in our family.”

Unlike Jim, Dan grew up as sports-crazed as his four younger brothers and collection of cousins. However, his health issues meant he couldn’t truly channel his competitive drive into athletics.

He was born with a heart murmur and a disorder that caused his lungs to leak oxygen. Dan slept with an oxygen tank growing up, and Mike, with his size, often would lug it upstairs when the family members gathered for their annual summer vacation in North Wildwood, N.J.

“Mike, from an early age, sensed that Dan had a tough time with things,” said Dan’s mother, Mary. “He’s always been that type that just wants to protect people. … Mike isn’t happy until he gets Dan happy. He’s shared all his success with him.”

Mike and Dan grew up in the same neighborhood and were constant companions. In pickup football games, Dan was the all-time quarterback. In Wiffle ball, he was the all-time pitcher.

However, there were times he got carried away in a family in which the boys once played a tackle football game, in suits, at McGlinchey’s grandmother’s wake. As Mary says, even “Monopoly became fisticuffs.”

“Dan always went at it with them on our front lawn,” Mary said. “I couldn’t even watch. If I tried to hold him back, he’d get really mad at me.”

Mike and Dan were separated for the first time when Mike went to Notre Dame, but the pattern was established: Dan would remain in the game.

Through McGlinchey’s college career, Dan was a regular in South Bend and became friends with several of his Notre Dame teammates. Mike would FaceTime Dan the day after every game to “get his report,” which could include praise and critiques.

In 2015, after previously unbeaten Notre Dame lost 24-22 at Clemson, McGlinchey called Dan twice the day after the game. No response. He texted him. Nothing. Finally, Dan called back about four days later.

“He was like, ‘Sorry, I had to take some time to decompress from that one,’” McGlinchey said, laughing. “I told him, ‘Yeah, I hear ya.’”

For Dan, Mike’s setbacks and successes cause wild emotional swings.

“I definitely have that competitive drive,” Dan said. “I don’t think it’s as prevalent as it was back then (growing up) because I’m not playing. But I definitely like to consider with Notre Dame, and now all the way up to the 49ers, (Mike’s) wins are kind of like my wins in a way.”

Dan’s lung disorder eventually resolved itself, but for years, it stressed his other organs, particularly his heart. In February, the valve that was inserted when he was 16 was replaced. Doctors didn’t think his body could withstand a second open-heart surgery, so they performed a TAVR procedure, which is less invasive and involves guiding a catheter through the leg to the heart to replace the valve.

However, it is a temporary fix. And it’s unlikely the TAVR can be repeated when Dan requires another procedure in as soon as five years. The families are praying a medical advancement can resolve the issue.

The uncertainty is a reason the months after the surgery were difficult for Dan, and Mike hoped his recent visit to the Bay Area would raise his spirits. His plan worked. After Dan arrived home, it was clear he officially was part of his best friend’s new team.

“He feels like he belongs,” Mary said. “… It gives him a whole new kind of purpose.”

For Mike, he has a specific purpose as he begins a journey that, if his Midas touch remains, will include fame to go along with rookie fortune. He wants to keep the proper perspective as a pro. And he thinks that those he has safeguarded the most will shield him from losing his way.

Postgame calls to his best friend, and a picture on his otherwise vacant wall, will protect him from forgetting who he is and where he came from.

Kwon Alexander Jersey

FILE - This is a June 6, 2018, file photo showing Tampa Bay Buccaneers outside linebacker Kwon Alexander during a studio photo session at the team training facility, in Tampa, Fla. The San Francisco 49ers have agreed to sign linebacker Kwon Alexander to a four-year contract worth $54 million. A person familiar with the contract said the sides came to an agreement Monday, March 11, 2019, soon after teams were allowed to contact pending unrestricted free agents. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the deal can’t be finalized until the new league year starts Wednesday. (AP Photo/Chris O’Meara, File)

The 49ers remain unclear when their most expensive free-agent acquisition, linebacker Kwon Alexander, will be ready to play with his new team.

But they should have a better idea when Alexander returns to team headquarters in Santa Clara on April 2 to have his surgically repaired torn ACL examined by San Francisco’s medical staff.

“It’s kind of an empty feeling that we know he was in good hands with the (Tampa Bay Buccaneers),” general manager John Lynch said Monday at the NFL owners meetings. “But all of a sudden once we acquire him, he can no longer start doing his rehab or continue doing his rehab with the Bucs.”

Alexander, 24, signed a four-year, $54 million contract with the 49ers despite suffering the injury Oct. 21 in a victory over the Cleveland Browns. His contract includes $14.25 million in guarantees for 2019, even though there’s a chance Alexander misses time or doesn’t return to 100 percent.

“We’re going to get to assess exactly where he’s at,” Lynch said. “I can tell you … when you do a deal like that, you want the return right away but we had discussions that, hey, when you’re making an investment like this, we’ve got to make sure he’s right. So we will hold true to that. … Our conversations with the people from the Buccaneers (indicate) that he’s on track.”

Alexander’s $13.5 million average annual salary is higher than star linebackers such as Carolina’s Luke Kuechly ($12.4 million) and Seattle’s Bobby Wagner ($10.75 million). Alexander was brought in to play the “stack linebacker” position vacated by the release of 2017 first-round draft pick Reuben Foster in November.

Alexander’s contract includes just $3 million in true guarantees over the remaining three years of the contract after 2019, perhaps insulating the 49ers if Alexander can’t return to his pre-injury form. He led the NFL in solo tackles in 2016 and was named a Pro-Bowl alternate after the 2017 season.

McKinnon to remain in the fold

The 49ers’ addition of free-agent running back Tevin Coleman raised questions about the future of Jerick McKinnon, a free-agent signing in 2018 who didn’t play last season because of a torn ACL suffered before the season opener.

But Lynch on Monday quelled any speculation that McKinnon wouldn’t be in the mix in the 49ers’ backfield, confirming he would be on the roster beyond April 1, when his 2019 salary becomes fully guaranteed. He’s due $3.7 million and would cost $5.75 million against the salary cap if his various bonuses are realized.

“Jerick is going to be a part of us. We’re excited to see that through,” Lynch said. “Jerick is working incredibly hard. It was an unfortunate blow that happened to him, but you never like to see that and this year, last year, we were extremely excited that we had him, but he’s always had kind of a chip on his shoulder because that was his first opportunity to be the guy and I’m sure he’ll have a bigger chip on his shoulder.”

San Francisco dealt with several injuries to running backs throughout 2018 but could have a quality duo if Coleman and McKinnon can stay healthy. Coleman last season had a career-best 1,076 yards from scrimmage and has scored 28 touchdowns over the past three seasons.

The 49ers were surprised they were able to get Coleman — who played under coach Kyle Shanahan when he was the Falcons’ offensive coordinator in 2015 and 2016 — on a two-year, $8.5 million contract.

“We saw an opportunity with Tevin and we pounced on it because we knew the player he was, and that’s one where Kyle had first-hand experience with him,” Lynch said. “If we can do it at that price, absolutely we’d be involved. And we worked hard to get it done and we’re really thrilled.”

Dee Ford Jersey

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It’s not often premier pass rushers become available in the NFL. By and large, teams are limited to finding an elite pass rusher via the draft.

For example, when generational pass rusher Von Miller’s contract was up, the Denver Broncos franchise tagged the outside linebacker and signed him soon after to a lucrative long-term deal. Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald is another example of the value placed on top talent. In 2018, Donald was set to enter the final year of his contract before the Rams signed the four time All-Pro and five time Pro Bowler to a multi-year extension.

When the Kansas City Chiefs put Dee Ford on the trade block, the San Francisco 49ers jumped at the opportunity to add him. The 49ers acquired Ford in a trade with the Kansas City Chiefs in exchange for a 2020 second-round pick. San Francisco subsequently signed Ford to a five-year contract. The cost was steep, but well worth it given Ford’s ability as well as the scarcity at the position.

Ford recorded 13 sacks last season and his pressures led to 10 takeaways for Kansas City’s defense. He also racked up a league-leading seven forced fumbles, and no NFL defensive lineman totaled more pressures (78).

His standout campaign begs the question, should Ford be considered among the league’s top pass rushers?

“I think he would be,” general manager John Lynch said on Thursday during an appearance on 49ers Live. “He has some qualities. I’ll put his first step right off the line of scrimmage – his get off – up there with anybody in the league. And that excites us.”

The 49ers are hopeful Ford can replicate his dominant 2018 season. Adding the edge threat should complement San Francisco’s series of first-round interior rushers in DeForest Buckner, Arik Armstead and Solomon Thomas.

“When you start pulling tackles off the guys we have inside, now all of a sudden they can’t be so inclined to say ‘you’ve got to watch 99 (Buckner), you’ve got to watch 94 (Thomas), you’ve got to watch 91 (Armstead),’” Lynch explained. “Now they’re going to have to say ‘55 is out here and we’re going to have to fly out to get him.’ You start to provide that collectively we want to be a dominant group up front. We’re starting to have the makings of that. Now they’ve got to go do that. And they’re fully aware of that.”

There’s still much to prove before Ford enters the conversation with the likes of Miller, Donald and the rest of a lean list of pass rushers who rightfully claim the label of “elite.” But as of now, the 49ers believe in Ford’s trajectory and potential.

“We studied all kinds of different players. Dee is the guy we want,” Lynch added. “He’s got some rare qualities that we think will blend real well to any team, but our team specifically.”

George Kittle Jersey


Dec 24, 2017; Santa Clara, CA, USA; San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle (85) celebrates with center Daniel Kilgore (67), offensive guard Laken Tomlinson (75), quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (10) after a touchdown against the Jacksonville Jaguars during the third quarter at Levi’s Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Up until a few days ago George Kittle was ranked as my No. 3 tight end in dynasty leagues, behind only Travis Kelce and Zach Ertz. I felt good about this ranking — Ertz, though three years older, is the more established name and the more productive player last year, coming off of a historically great 2018 season. Here’s an impressive stat on Ertz: last year, he was Philadelphia’s first read on 31% of the team’s passing attempts — only DeAndre Hopkins (39%), Michael Thomas (36%), and Julio Jones (32%) ranked higher.

So yes, I felt good about this ranking up until only a few days ago — when, in a dynasty startup draft of my own, I took Kittle over Ertz. Ertz has some red flags — sophomore tight end Dallas Goedert (a personal favorite) is waiting in the wings, and there’s now more target competition in Philadelphia, following the arrival of DeSean Jackson, but more than anything, it was Kittle’s drool-inducing, statistically great sophomore season that forced me to adjust my rankings.

Kittle was phenomenal last season, leading all tight ends in PFF grade and PFF receiving grade. He also led all tight ends in receiving yards (1,377), yards per route run (2.83), yards after the catch (873), yards after the catch per reception (9.9), and missed tackles forced (17).

Not only was he the league’s best tight end in all these stats last year but, in almost every case, these numbers were historically great. Last year, Kittle set the record for most receiving yards by a tight end in NFL history. His yards per route run was the best of the PFF era (since 2007), and best by 11% over the previous record year (Rob Gronkowski, 2014 — though Kelce also broke Gronkowski’s mark in 2018). His 873 yards after the catch in 2018 was also a PFF-era record and by 217 more (and 28% better) than the next-closest season (Gronkowski, 2011). His 9.9 yards after the catch per reception in 2018 also made a new record.

Perhaps most impressively, Kittle did this while catching passes from three different quarterbacks, all of whom graded below average and ranked below average in passer rating last year. Although Kittle was just the ninth tight end drafted in 2017, it was just as obvious to us that that was a mistake then as it is to everyone now. In 2016, PFF’s Josh Liskiewitz called Kittle the best all-around tight end in college football.

Earlier this offseason, I tried to show just how top-heavy the tight end position has become for fantasy. The top-three tight ends were more productive in 2018 than ever before, while nearly everyone else (positionally) hit all-decade lows. You’d think the tight end position would be entering a period of crisis, with names like Gronkowski and Greg Olsen seriously contemplating retirement. However, I think we’re going to be in good hands.

Kelce is now the unanimous No. 1, Kittle is an ascendant superstar following a sophomore-year breakout, and, clearly, I like Ertz as well. Hunter Henry – another young tight end I love – will be returning from a year-long injury absence. However, if there’s a tight end most likely to breakout this year, in the same way Kittle broke out last year, I’d bet it’s O.J. Howard.

Kittle was our highest-graded tight end, but Howard ranked right behind him. Kittle’s 2.83 yards per route run ranked best of the PFF era, but Howard’s 2.26 YPRR ranked second-best last year and 15th-best of the PFF-era. Howard averaged 12.0 yards per target last year, which ranked third-best of 429 qualifying tight end seasons in the PFF-era (behind only Gronkowski in 2016 and Antonio Gates in 2010). He also ranked tied for fifth in fantasy points per game (12.1), despite splitting time with Cameron Brate. At age 24, he should be considered a top breakout candidate for 2019, as our Daniel Kelley argued here.

Jimmy Garoppolo Jersey

SANTA CLARA — One day after the 49ers ended their disappointing 2018 season with a 4-12 record, quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo spoke about his rehab from a torn ACL.

“It feels good,” Garoppolo said Monday. “Obviously there are some things that we’re limited with. The side-to-side lateral stuff is still questionable, but I’m happy where I’m at now.”

Garoppolo has had running back Jerick McKinnon as a rehabilitation partner throughout the season, both having torn ACLs. McKinnon is a few weeks ahead of Garoppolo, and the QB jokingly said he’s been trying to catch up to his running back.

They both agree it’s been nice to have each other throughout the process. Before they were allowed on the field during games, they were up in the coaches booth together. The duo also has watched film together, and Garoppolo said they’re already on the same page with what they see.

Once he started standing on the sideline unable to play, though, Garoppolo admitted it was an odd experience.

“You don’t know how to act or react,” Garoppolo said, “and then once you get onto the field, that 5, 10 minutes before the game is the hardest part because you get all your juices flowing and you’re excited. You try to find the silver lining in everything, but it was tough. I’m not going to lie.”

Garoppolo tried to take advantage of being as involved as possible during game days, as well as in as many meetings as his schedule would allow. He wore a headset during games, running through plays as if he was on the field. While the 49ers struggled during the season, he was proud of the mettle they showed.

“There’s a lot of fight,” Garoppolo said. “We have a good locker room. Going through a season like we just went through, it’s tough. You can get a lot of guys who start pointing fingers and stuff like that, but whether it was offense or defense or special teams, everyone stayed locked in and stayed the course. It’s good to see that.”

A few other NFL quarterbacks made their way back onto the field after ACL surgeries this season. Garoppolo has taken note of the progress of both DeShaun Watson and Carson Wentz.

“ACL, it’s a little different for a quarterback. We’re not moving around as much as a normal football player I guess. It sounds bad saying that,” Garoppolo said, laughing a little, “but you know what I mean. It’s encouraging seeing those guys.”

Garoppolo really just can’t wait to get back to his usual routine and move on to 2019.

[RELATED: Sherman believes young 49ers will learn from 2018]

“Getting out on the field,” he said. “It’s been a while. It’s that feeling of getting out there with the guys and being in the huddle. Just little things like that. You miss a full season of it, you realize how much you really appreciate it when you do have it.”

The progress of the 49ers’ younger players as the season progressed has Garoppolo looking forward for things to come.

“I think there was ups and downs throughout the whole thing like any season,” he said. “But I think we’re going in the right direction. That’s the encouraging thing. You see young guys coming along and really finding their own way in the NFL and that’s exciting stuff. It will be a fun offseason.”

SANTA CLARA — One day after the 49ers ended their disappointing 2018 season with a 4-12 record, quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo spoke about his rehab from a torn ACL.

“It feels good,” Garoppolo said Monday. “Obviously there are some things that we’re limited with. The side-to-side lateral stuff is still questionable, but I’m happy where I’m at now.” 

Garoppolo has had running back Jerick McKinnon as a rehabilitation partner throughout the season, both having torn ACLs. McKinnon is a few weeks ahead of Garoppolo, and the QB jokingly said he’s been trying to catch up to his running back.

They both agree it’s been nice to have each other throughout the process. Before they were allowed on the field during games, they were up in the coaches booth together. The duo also has watched film together, and Garoppolo said they’re already on the same page with what they see. 

Once he started standing on the sideline unable to play, though, Garoppolo admitted it was an odd experience.

“You don’t know how to act or react,” Garoppolo said, “and then once you get onto the field, that 5, 10 minutes before the game is the hardest part because you get all your juices flowing and you’re excited. You try to find the silver lining in everything, but it was tough. I’m not going to lie.” 

Garoppolo tried to take advantage of being as involved as possible during game days, as well as in as many meetings as his schedule would allow. He wore a headset during games, running through plays as if he was on the field. While the 49ers struggled during the season, he was proud of the mettle they showed. 

“There’s a lot of fight,” Garoppolo said. “We have a good locker room. Going through a season like we just went through, it’s tough. You can get a lot of guys who start pointing fingers and stuff like that, but whether it was offense or defense or special teams, everyone stayed locked in and stayed the course. It’s good to see that.” 

A few other NFL quarterbacks made their way back onto the field after ACL surgeries this season. Garoppolo has taken note of the progress of both DeShaun Watson and Carson Wentz. 

“ACL, it’s a little different for a quarterback. We’re not moving around as much as a normal football player I guess. It sounds bad saying that,” Garoppolo said, laughing a little, “but you know what I mean. It’s encouraging seeing those guys.” 

Garoppolo really just can’t wait to get back to his usual routine and move on to 2019. 

“Getting out on the field,” he said. “It’s been a while. It’s that feeling of getting out there with the guys and being in the huddle. Just little things like that. You miss a full season of it, you realize how much you really appreciate it when you do have it.” 

The progress of the 49ers’ younger players as the season progressed has Garoppolo looking forward for things to come. 

“I think there was ups and downs throughout the whole thing like any season,” he said. “But I think we’re going in the right direction. That’s the encouraging thing. You see young guys coming along and really finding their own way in the NFL and that’s exciting stuff. It will be a fun offseason.”