'Mobile' QB Jimmy Garoppolo plays Justin Fields role in 49ers' Bears prep

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'Mobile' QB Jimmy G plays role of Fields in 49ers' Bears prep originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

SANTA CLARA -- The 49ers learned from first-hand experience last season what Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields can do with the ball in his hands.

Fields might not be a polished passer with a lot of pocket presence at this stage of his NFL career, but he is ultra-dangerous when he has space to run.

When the 49ers and Bears met last season, Fields was nearly sacked on a fourth-and-1 play. But after avoiding Arik Armstead, Fields scrambled across the field and ended up outrunning the 49ers’ defense for a 22-yard touchdown.

The 49ers’ defense must prepare to face Fields’ speed and elusiveness Sunday in the season opener at Soldier Field.

So who is playing the role of Fields during 49ers practices this week? Well, it's Jimmy Garoppolo, of course.

“The mobile quarterback? That’s Jimmy G,” 49ers defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans said Thursday with a laugh.

“Nah, Jimmy’s done a great job. He’s given us some great looks, as far as getting the ball out, moving around, scrambling. Jimmy has done an excellent job of that.”

The backup quarterback typically runs the scout team and is tasked with mimicking the opposition quarterback. But because Garoppolo did not take part in training camp this summer, he needs all the work he can get in case he is called upon — for whatever reason — to replace first-year starter Trey Lance.

Of course, Garoppolo does not have the athletic skills of Fields, whom the Bears selected with the No. 11 overall pick of the 2021 NFL Draft.

Fields appeared in 12 games last season and rushed for 420 yards, including a career-best 103 yards on 10 attempts in the Bears' 33-22 loss to the 49ers on Oct. 31.

RELATED: Mooney believes Fields will make 49ers "pay" for passing on him

Garoppolo has a quick release and he is accurate as a passer. It's fair to say running does not crack the list of Garoppolo's best attributes.

In five seasons (46 games) with the 49ers, Garoppolo gained 182 yards on 117 carries for a whopping 2.5 yards per game.

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