ESPN’s Dan Graziano created a quarterback confidence index and ranked teams according to the strength of their entire quarterback room, not just the starter. The pundits on the NFL Live show discussed the list and offered points and counter points to the rankings. It was difficult to argue with the Eagles being at the top of the list with the one-two punch of Carson Wentz and Nick Foles on the same roster. The 49ers, however, were ranked 22nd, which seems a little out of balance with how the team performed at the end of the season with Jimmy Garoppolo directing the offense.
Here’s what Graziano wrote specifically about the 49ers QB situation:
No team is more fired up about a relatively unproven QB than the Niners are about Jimmy Garoppolo. And hey, I get it. He has literally never lost a game (7-0 in his career). Garoppolo is a bit like Watson in Houston, in that a continuation of the small-sample-size performance we saw last year would necessitate a big jump on this list the next time we do it. A spring and summer spent really digging into Kyle Shanahan’s offense will tell the tale, as will the way Jimmy G handles things when he inevitably does lose a game. But the contract extension screams confidence, and away they go by the Bay. C.J. Beathard, who was starting last year until the Jimmy G tornado swept into town, is in place as the backup and obviously knows the scheme.
Former 49ers GM candidate and ESPN analyst Louis Riddick disagreed with the Chiefs being ranked at 27. He believes that the team has a lot of confidence in Patrick Mahomes even though he only has one career start. With 53 starts under his belt, Chad Henne is his back up.
Chris Mortensen disagreed with Washington being ranked 14. Looking at Alex Smith’s performance last season, he thought confidence should be much higher. Colt McCoy and Kevin Hogan are the backups. Mortensen added that the Colts could move up quite a bit based on the health of Andrew Luck. He also agreed with what former Chicago Bears head coach John Fox had to say about the 49ers.
Fox chose the 49ers as his counter point. He obviously watched film on Beathard to prepare and then coached against Garoppolo in the latter’s Week 13 starting debut in Chicago. The 49ers won the game 15-14. He expressed that he thought the 49ers were ranked, “way too low” for how the team ended up playing at the end of the season, adding that Beathard, “didn’t do bad” when he replaced Brain Hoyer midseason. Fox finished by saying Garoppolo playing behind, “one of the best in the league” and having more time in Kyle Shanahan’s system this season should have pushed them higher on the list.
Where do you think the 49ers should be ranked realistically? Who do you think is ranked too high on the list or too low?