It has been 18 years since the San Francisco 49ers last had a quarterback throw for over 4,000 yards. In 2000, Jeff Garcia threw for 4,278 yards, with 31 touchdowns and ten interceptions in a season that saw the team go 6-10. Garcia’s numbers went down the following two seasons, playoff appearances, and then the organization entered the QB desert for much of the rest of the decade.
On Monday, Bleacher Report put together statistical predictions for the 32 starting quarterbacks around the NFL. For Jimmy G, B/R projects 381 completions in 585 attempts (65.1 percent) for 4,323 yards, 25 touchdowns, and 16 interceptions. It is not an advanced metrics approach, but rather more for some basic discussion — and they see Garoppolo taking a step forward and shining in 2018.
This past season, Garoppolo started five games and appeared in a sixth. In that time, he completed 120 of 178 passes (67.4 percent) for 1,560 yards, seven touchdowns and five interceptions. B/R’s predictions include a slight uptick in touchdown percentage (3.93 percent to 4.27 percent), and slight decline in interception percentage (2.8 percent to 2.7 percent).
Maybe we see a huge breakout season from Jimmy G, but Football Outsiders offered up an interesting statistic that is at least worth pondering. On Wednesday, they posted their 2017 adjusted interception numbers. They take the total number of interceptions a quarterback throws and then add in plays where the quarterback threw a ball that could have or should have been intercepted but was not (defender dropped ball, offensive player knocked it out of defender’s hands). They then subtract interceptions that were tipped by receivers into the hands of defenders. Finally, they subtract Hail Mary interceptions, as well as interceptions thrown in desperation on fourth down in the final two minutes of a game.
Jimmy Garoppolo did not have enough pass attempts to qualify for the leaderboard, but they did give him a mention. His five interceptions in 178 passes resulted in a 2.8 percent interception rate. Football Outsiders charted him as having three dropped interceptions, which gives him an adjusted interception rate of 4.5 percent. His adjusted rate would have ranked fourth worst in the NFL, behind Trevor Siemian, Carson Palmer, and Blaine Gabbert. Not exactly the kind of quarterbacks you want your potential franchise guy linked to.
Garoppolo’s relatively small sample size applies to both the good and the bad of his 2017 season. He helped lead the 49ers to five straight wins, and it is hard not to get excited about where things are going. But that adjusted interception rate will be something to watch early on out of the gate.