SANTA CLARA (AP) — San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo is going to play at least one possession in the preseason opener Thursday night against the Dallas Cowboys, coach Kyle Shanahan said.
“He’ll play somewhat into the first quarter. We’ll see how long the opening drive is,” Shanahan said Tuesday.
Garoppolo will be taking his first snaps in a game since signing a five-year, $137.5 million contract in February. Garoppolo has looked good during training camp, including Tuesday’s practice when he hit receiver Aldrick Robinson for a pair of touchdowns during full-team drills.
Shanahan said he hasn’t determined which veterans will play and which will be given the night off.
Cornerback Richard Sherman was ruled out earlier after suffering a hamstring injury during practice Friday. He spent Tuesday doing conditioning drills and will be re-evaluated next week when San Francisco returns to practice.
Former first-round pick Jimmie Ward is expected to start in Sherman’s place despite also missing recent practices with a hamstring injury. Ward returned to full-team drills on Monday to play Sherman’s spot at left cornerback after playing free safety in 2017.
Free agent guard Jonathan Cooper, who signed a one-year deal in the spring, inserted himself into the competition to start at right guard this week by participating in team drills for the first time since offseason knee surgery. But Cooper hasn’t had enough time in practice to play against the Cowboys.
“He’s not able to get through a practice yet,” Shanahan said. “We’re just putting him in, I want to say it’s two plays a period. We’re very selective with those plays we put him in. Just trying to build back his confidence from coming off his injury.”
Shanahan said the game will dictate how many snaps the defensive starters get.
“It’s kind of a feel. We don’t want to keep them out there too long, but we definitely want guys to get some reps,” he said.