The San Francisco 49ers are a bad football team, but so are the Chicago Bears. The future of both franchises is murky at best, but there are certain building blocks in place that could result in some optimism. Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo is one of those potential building blocks, albeit one with a whole lot of questions and few answers.
And, at least for now, few opportunities to provide answers. Garoppolo’s performance over the next few weeks is important, but the 49ers are in such a way and the circumstances are such that anything big in either the positive or negative direction can be discounted for a slew of reasons.
But all of that aside — hopes for 2018, expectations regarding the sure-to-come roster turnover as the 49ers try to add more weapons on offense and the like — what do we reasonably expect out of Garoppolo on Sunday?
In just a couple snaps against the Seattle Seahawks, Garoppolo scored a touchdown. Of course, he was playing against a team that already knew they had won, and one that didn’t prepare for him because he wasn’t the starter. Should we expect Garoppolo to come out slinging the ball around against the Bears?
Probably not, but it’s certainly possible. The things working against Garoppolo are numerous, though the big three are easy: bad offensive line, injured wide receivers and a lack of full understanding of Kyle Shanahan’s offense. Many think Garoppolo won’t have a full grasp of Shanahan’s scheme until 2019, let alone 2018 and let alone on Sunday.
The Bears have a decent pass defense, ranking 12th in the league in yards allowed, though they are likely to be without one of their starting safeties and potentially their top two nickle cornerbacks on Sunday. They also rank 11th in the league in passing touchdowns allowed with 14 on the season.
On the ground, they’re a bit worse, ranking 15th in the league in rushing yards allowed. I expect a heavy dose of the running game on Sunday, with a short passing game dominating most of what is called.
My expectations are fairly lukewarm overall. I’m hoping for an efficient day of passing above all else, with no egregious mistakes. I just want a decent completion percentage and no injuries. What about ya’ll?