Friday’s NFL: Jimmy Garoppolo set to return from injury for 49ers

Josh Dubow
Associated Press

Santa Clara, Calif. — Jimmy Garoppolo will return as starting quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers this week after missing the past two games with a sprained ankle.

Coach Kyle Shanahan said Garoppolo will start Sunday at home against the Miami Dolphins. Shanahan wanted to see how Garoppolo made it through a full week of practice before making his decision.

“Each day he got better,” Shanahan said Friday. “Never felt too sore the next day. So, we needed to hear that today and see him out there today and we feel good to go.”

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo will start this Sunday against the Miami Dolphins.

Garoppolo had hoped not to miss any time with the injury, having played through ankle sprains before. But this was a more severe high ankle sprain which made it impossible for him to move well enough to avoid danger in the pocket.

He was able to show he was healthy in practice and will provide a needed spark for the 49ers (2-2), who lost 25-20 at home last week to Philadelphia.

“Ankle is feeling really good right now,” Garoppolo said. “Got the last couple of weeks off to get it right. The training staff, I tip my hat to those guys, they did a great job with me, just preparing me and everything. But, as far as getting out there, I mean, we’ve had the whole week to work on it. So, it’s feeling pretty good right now.”

San Francisco has a 20-6 record when Garoppolo starts, compared to a 5-21 mark with any other quarterback since Shanahan arrived in 2017.

Garoppolo threw for 3,978 yards and 27 TD passes last season to lead the Niners to 13 wins and was 33 for 49 for 390 yards, four TDs and no interceptions in six quarters this season.

COVID update

All New York Jets players and coaches have tested negative for COVID-19, and Sunday’s game against Arizona will be played on time.

The Jets posted a statement on social media Friday night, hours after their training facility was closed due to a presumptive positive coronavirus test for one player.

“This evening, we received negative PCR COVID-19 test results for all players, coaches and personnel,” the team said. “Following a presumptive positive COVID-19 test and out of an abundance of caution to ensure everyone’s health and safety, we sent all players and personnel home this morning. We also initiated all NFL mandated protocols including player isolation, subsequent testing, and contact tracing.

“As we have thus far, we will continue to follow required health and safety protocols in the best interests of our coaches, players, staff and community. We look forward to our game this Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals.”

During the summer, Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford had a similar false positive.

The league has had 60 cases since testing began in which one player or staff member tested positive and there wasn’t further transmission among the team. By sending everyone home from the facility Friday morning, the Jets took the appropriate steps under the NFL/NFLPA COVID-19 protocols. And then the 100% negative tests were announced in the evening.

ESPN first reported the Jets’ presumptive positive test.

The Tennessee Titans got some good news with no positive test results hours after the NFL rescheduled their game with Buffalo to Tuesday night, a person familiar with that situation told the Associated Press.

The Titans’ outbreak increased to 23 on Thursday with 21 positive results returned since Sept. 29. Now the Titans have gone three of the past five days without a positive test after the latest results, according to the person who spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because neither the NFL nor the Titans announced the latest results.

The NFL announced Thursday night that the Titans (3-0) will host Buffalo (4-0) on Tuesday. The league already postponed, then rescheduled the Titans’ game with Pittsburgh from Oct. 4 to Oct. 25 during the outbreak.

Mum on fight

Whatever happened before, during and after the postgame fight between Los Angeles Rams cornerback Jalen Ramsey and New York Giants wide receiver Golden Tate, neither man is saying.

Ramsey declined to comment when he spoke to reporters, his first media availability following the Rams’ 17-9 win on Sunday.

“We’re gonna talk about football, man,” Ramsey said during a video conference call. “Everybody has kind of answered it already and I keep telling y’all ‘no comment,’ so I’m not gonna get into nothing. We talk about football. We got the Washington Football Team this week and that’s what’s important, honestly.”

Ramsey took essentially the same approach Tate did in his first interview Thursday, continuing the lack of clarity about what led up to the fight and what happened when they faced off. The Fox broadcast only showed the aftermath as teammates, coaches and staffers tried to separate the two men after they exchanged punches and ended up on the turf at SoFi Stadium. Rams and Giants players who spoke immediately after the game did not provide any details.

Tate and Ramsey repeatedly exchanged words during the game, with Ramsey making a hard tackle on Tate during a key stop in the fourth quarter of the first on-field meeting since their feud started.

“I don’t want to backpedal and discuss that because I don’t think, you know, going back to that is going to help us this week,” Tate said Thursday.

Ramsey said he does not expect to be disciplined by the NFL. He and Tate could be fined or suspended for their involvement in the fight, but the league has yet to announce any decision. Rams coach Sean McVay has said Ramsey would not be punished by the team, and Giants coach Joe Judge said the same regarding Tate.

The long-simmering quarrel revolves around the relationship between Ramsey and Breanna Tate, the mother of Ramsey’s two young children and Golden Tate’s sister. Ramsey and Breanna Tate broke up last year.

Golden Tate has lambasted Ramsey on social media for how the relationship ended, but he did not comment on the situation before playing the Rams. Ramsey did not speak to reporters last week.

Ornery Bear

Coach Matt Nagy unloaded on the Chicago Bears’ struggling offense, venting about incorrect route running, breakdowns in blocking technique and missed opportunities for quarterback Nick Foles in the win over Tampa Bay on Thursday night.

It was an unusual tone for the usually upbeat Nagy. But he was clearly agitated a day after the Bears beat Tom Brady and the Buccaneers 20-19.

“The details right now in this offense are not there,” he said. “So that’s our job as coaches to make sure that we get these freakin’ details right. It’s as simple as that.”

Nagy is thrilled that the Bears are 4-1, their best start since the 2012 team won seven of its first eight games. But the margin between 4-1 and 1-4 or even 0-5 is a thin one.

The Bears once again had to rally from a double-digit deficit, this time after falling behind 13-0 in the first half. They joined seven other NFL teams with three victories in the first five games after trailing by 10 or more, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

Chicago also staged two big fourth-quarter rallies to win in Weeks 1 and 3, rallying from 17 down at Detroit and wiping out a 16-point deficit at Atlanta. In between, they nearly blew a 17-point lead against the New York Giants.

Masking up

Panthers head coach Matt Rhule said the team’s coaching staff will be masked up for future victory celebrations in the locker room that include the singing of “Sweet Caroline.”

A decision on whether the players should also wear masks is under evaluation.

The Panthers have celebrated their first two wins of the Rhule era with a new tradition that includes assistant special teams coach Ed Foley leading players in a spirited rendition of the famous Neil Diamond song in the locker room following the game. Videos from the team’s Twitter account show players gathered in close proximity to Foley — and each other — and singing along without masks on.

Rhule said after it was brought to the team’s attention that this could be a potential social distancing issue, a decision was made that coaches will wear masks for future celebrations given the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Extra points

Pro Bowl left tackle Tyron Smith is having season-ending neck surgery, another blow to the Cowboys’ offensive line that will be without both starting tackles for the rest of the year. Dallas has been without right tackle La’el Collins all season because of a hip issue that ended up requiring season-ending surgery. The team also has been without backup tackle Cameron Erving, who injured a knee in the opener but could be close to returning

...Julio Jones was held out of practice for the third straight day with a hamstring injury but has not been ruled out for the Falcons’ game against the Panthers.

...Colts linebacker Darius Leonard and left tackle Anthony Castonzo have been ruled out for Sunday’s game at Cleveland. Linebacker AnthonyWalker (ankle) is questionable.

...The Chargers have placed running back Austin Ekeler on injured reserve

...The Giants have placed outside linebacker Oshane Ximines (shoulder) on injured reserve.

...The Dolphins placed rookie left tackle Austin Jackson (ankle) on injured reserve.