San Francisco 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan is optimistic quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo can return this season and the coach is likewise dedicated to Garoppolo being the franchise QB beyond this year.
"I expect Jimmy to be our starter next year," Shanahan said Tuesday, via The Athletic's David Lombardi. "I mean, I expect him to come and play with us this year. We have six games left. We are not out of the playoffs yet."
Despite having led the 49ers to a Super Bowl berth last season, Garoppolo's stay as San Francisco's franchise quarterback has come under a firestorm of scrutiny. Currently, Garoppolo is one of myriad 49ers starters sidelined by injury as he's on injured reserve with an ankle injury -- his second ankle ailment of the year as he's missed four games this year.
Pundits have pointed out a perceived lack of confidence from Shanahan in Garoppolo making big throws in big situations, the prime examples coming in last year's postseason. Garoppolo threw just a combined 27 passes in NFC Divisional and NFC Championship Game victories before a two-interception showing in the Super Bowl loomed large in a loss.
Nonetheless, Garoppolo is 22-8 as a 49ers starter (2-1 in the playoffs, 3-3 this season). In his six games this season, Jimmy G's completed 94-of-140 passes (67%) for 1,096 yards, seven touchdowns and five interceptions.
Overall, Tuesday was one in which Shanahan cast of very sanguine outlook for this season.
"I've been on a team that was 3-6 going into a bye week that ended up winning their division. I think we have guys on this team capable of finishing this the right way," Shanahan said. "We've gotta do it one game at a time and I hope Jimmy can come back and be part of that, but to think that we've made any decisions on anybody going into the future isn't the case. Jimmy has won a lot of games for us this year. It's a lot harder to win games when he's not here. Just hoping we can get him back."