Jimmy Garoppolo’s critical Friday practice has produced a result for Sunday.
Garoppolo is nursing a calf injury that knocked him out of San Francisco’s Week 4 loss to Seattle, prompting the 49ers to insert Lance in place of Garoppolo. Lance completed 9 of 18 passes for 157 yards and two touchdowns, but wasn’t able to lead the 49ers to a comeback victory over the Seahawks, a triumph fueled by a flurry of Seattle points aided by a Trenton Cannon fumble on an ill-fated kick return.
He’ll face an even tougher challenge in Week 5 against the Cardinals, the lone unbeaten team remaining in the NFL. Arizona is coming off a statement win over the Los Angeles Rams in Week 4 and has scored 31 or more points in each of its first four games. He’ll also potentially be without a top target, tight end George Kittle, who is doubtful to play with a calf injury.
“Just with this being his first start, just trying to give him stuff he’s comfortable with, stuff we’ve put him through,” Shanahan said Friday of his plans for Lance. “You don’t want to sit there and make up too much new stuff. There’s only a couple days of practice, you just want to make sure he’s as comfortable as possible.”
Lance will be tasked with attempting to keep pace with the high-flying Cardinals, while Garoppolo will be left only to watch from the sidelines as his long-term replacement attempts to keep the 49ers from falling below .500. Jimmy G was unable to practice all week, leading Shanahan to determine he won’t be available Sunday.
“It’s a group effort, but when you got guys like Jimmy, guys like Kittle, sometimes you got to protect them from themselves,” Shanahan said. “They’re all thinking they can go, but a lot of that is hope.”