This is about to be the most unpopular opinion ever. What happens if Jimmy Garoppolo regresses?
It’s been a question for a while and something more so after NFL network had a quick video on how he’s going to be under a lot of pressure in 2018. Make no mistake, Jimmy Garoppolo was very impressive for a few games, but so was Scott Mitchell, Matt Cassel, heck, you could probably lump Austin Davis into this.
The quarterbacks named above have had great early success, some even thinking with development could be a quarterback of the future, but things simply didn’t work out.
Scott Mitchell is now considered one of the biggest free agency busts ever. After filling in for Dan Marino with some nice games with the Miami Dolphins, Mitchell signed a nice deal with the Detroit Lions and had a career that was lukewarm at best (his second season in 1995 was the only time he had a QBR above 80).
Matt Cassel won 11 games with the New England Patriots in place of Tom Brady and flamed out after two seasons once he was traded to the Kansas City Chiefs. A trade that could best be described as a circus.
And Davis? Well he was touted as the next Tom Brady. He didn’t even make it through the same season he impressed with the (then) St. Louis Rams before getting benched for Shaun Hill after a handful of games.
The one of the longer survivals is Colin Kaepernick, whom managed to go three seasons before the league began figuring him out and this happened. Though Kaepernick’s later struggles can be attributed to coaching, and his stats in 2016 weren’t near as bad as some would want you to believe once he had a system that worked for him (Chip Kelly).
It’s an all too common tale. A quarterback comes out, impresses, and then the league gets film, compiles a book, and figures them out. Some think Garoppolo could be similar to Tony Romo, who had his fair share of criticism when he helmed the Dallas Cowboys. Sometimes being the brunt of the laughing stock the Cowboys were in some years.
There’s a difference though: it’s not that Garoppolo won, but how he won. Down with only the two minute offense at your side? Check. One of the best defenses in the league going up against you in an important game? Check. Infancy in one of the most difficult offenses within the league and memorizing a gameplan? Check. Check. Check.
This of course was all done with him coming in mid-season. Still, Garoppolo has shown tendencies that you hope get squashed and that opposing defenses don’t capitalize on. For one thing, there were far too many erratic passes that easily could have been intercepted, but Garoppolo’s receivers did him a favor. For another? Well that’s pretty much it.
Garoppolo very well could suffer the fate of the quarterbacks above, the fate of time and teams getting film on him. There’s one difference though—he won in several different ways, and didn’t even know his own offense. He’s under pressure, but I can’t help but think of the arrow going up in his favor now that he actually knows what the hell he’s doing in his own offense.
And there’s one more thing to consider: His own teammates vouching for him. No not 49ers teammates, New England Patriots teammates. Cassius Marsh (who played with Garoppolo with the Patriots) recently quoted how Garoppolo would shred the first-team defense during the two’s time in New England per a recent conversation with Eric Branch:
“I already knew that was going to happen; I called it before anybody,” Marsh said of Garoppolo’s 5-0 finish as a starter. “I knew because I was with the Patriots and he would shred our defense every day. He’d shred the first team every day, and it looked no different than when Tom (Brady) was on the field. He’s a much better athlete than Tom; he’s super disciplined and works hard. I’m very happy to have him as my quarterback.”
Don’t worry about the pressure or the regression. Garoppolo is only going to get better, not worse.