ESPN’s Bill Barnwell put together an extensive article on everyone’s favorite quarterback, Jimmy Garoppolo. Barnwell broke the lengthy piece up into three spots: What we definitely know, what we probably know, and what we don’t know. From there, he brought up just about every single Jimmy Garoppolo storyline going into 2018.
It’s long, but it’s probably the best compilation of discussions we’ve had about the 49ers signal caller over at ESPN and I strongly suggest everyone put some time aside to read. For those of you wanting the Cliff’s notes version, I’ve copied and pasted the subject of each argument Barnwell made below along with my own thoughts.
What we definitely know about Jimmy G
He’s going to lose a game ... eventually
I don’t think anyone here is going to argue this point. If you do, you’re as delusional as one of those football teams up north. It’s going to happen. It’s not that you lose, it’s how you lose.
The schedule is going to get more difficult quickly.
The 49ers have one of the more brutal first halves of a schedule in the NFL. It’s not going to be quick, it already is difficult. To open up the season, the 49ers head to Minnesota in Week 1 to face the Vikings. The Vikings have their own injury issues, but that depth is still scary. This goes with the first statement. Garoppolo will lose, and soon.
He’s not very mobile
Here’s the first time I disagree. He’s not as mobile as say an Aaron Rodgers or an Alex Smith, but he can run when need be. There’s been nothing to suggest that he can’t run it. He’s had a few scrambles in 2017 and he certainly didn’t look laughably bad like Tom Brady or Peyton Manning do when they leave the pocket. He’s not going to win a footrace, but I think he’s mobile enough to take off on a play or two and get a few chunks of yards. The 49ers just got done with mobile quarterbacks — we know how that turned out.
What we probably know about Jimmy G
Digging further, we all know the sample size of Jimmy G. This could all turn into a Scott Mitchell/Detroit Lions or a Matt Cassel/Kansas City Chiefs situation. I’ve written extensively on this. The last thing we need to see on Garoppolo is how teams adjust to his film. Once we see him adjust to defenses, we’ll have all the evidence we need to know we have one of the best quarterbacks in the league.
His coach is an excellent offensive mind
All you need to see is this. Moving on.
Garoppolo’s offense is going to be among the league’s best on first down
I never really thought about this until Barnwell brought it up. Lately it seems like the 49ers are having more 3rd down conversions than 1st downs, but that will all change once the regular season begins I suppose. I’m not sure how the 49ers first down offense will shape out, but I have a feeling most of this will turn back to the 3rd down play like we’ve seen.
Garoppolo handles pressure well
Oh yes he does. He hangs out right in the pocket and doesn’t get flustered unless absolutely necessary or if the play calls for it. Just look at those highlights.
What we don’t know about Jimmy G
Whether he can stay healthy
Heaven help us. Garoppolo only started two games in New England before going down with an injury and I’m holding my breath each and every time he’s hit in a 49ers game. We know someone like C.J. Beathard can take a beating. We don’t know if Garoppolo can. Given his past injury history, its a huge concern. Especially if that offensive line’s struggles return.
Whether his weapons can stay healthy
If disaster strikes, the 49ers have managed to procure plenty of weapons for Jimmy Garoppolo’s disposal. If Jerick McKinnon goes down, Matt Breida can come in. If Breida goes down, dial up Alfred Morris who was recently signed. The 49ers have an underrated wide receiver corps and if one goes down, next man up. Garoppolo demonstrated he could play without a No. 1 wide receiver in 2017 with the loss of Pierre Garçon. Now that could have been possible thanks to the elevated play of Marquise Goodwin, but Garoppolo had to get him the ball.
How the line will play
This is scary on so many levels. The 49ers managed to improve the offensive line through the offseason and draft, but it still remains a question mark. The good news is, it wasn’t near as bad at pass protection as it was at run blocking, so that’s a positive in Garoppolo’s favor. Barnwell makes another good point.
Whether interceptions are going to be a problem
Barnwell would later go on to say that he wouldn’t place a lot of Garoppolo’s interceptions on the quarterback. I don’t look so much at Garoppolo’s interceptions, but his near-interceptions. Coin flips that somehow worked out in Garoppolo’s favor. Those are the ones that are most concerning. It makes sense to think that some of Garoppolo’s interceptions were miscues, but I’m also playing devil’s advocate on these and saying there’s a lot more interceptions Garoppolo could have had also. The point is, this can lean either way: Either all these misfires and picks/near picks are from his unfamiliarity with the playbook, or they just come with the fact he’s a gunslinging quarterback with a bit of a reckless streak.
Like I said, Barnwell certainly goes into detail on all of this and it’s a well thought-out article, so give it a read.