The 2018 regular season is fast approaching, and that means preview content is arriving fast and furious. The Ringer is running a series of content this week to celebrate “Value” in the NFL. On Wednesday, Robert Mays took a deep dive into Jimmy Garoppolo and the San Francisco 49ers.
Mays focused on the acquisition of Garoppolo and his subsequent contract extension. The bigger picture theme is the 49ers going all-in with Garoppolo, but the nitty gritty of the article provides the base leading up to that. It’s a fantastic read from start to finish, but I wanted to point out a few of the more interesting things I took from the article.
The article was structured on a timeline from the 49ers initial interest to the deal getting done to Kyle Shanahan getting on board with Garoppolo being a potential long-term answer to the contract extension this past February.
Shanahan was a big fan of Garoppolo’s mechanics. We’ve heard previously about how Garoppolo was one of the players Shanahan put on tape when showing what he wanted in a quarterback. Mays was able to draw out more specifics.
Most quarterbacks’ throwing motion involves an exaggerated follow-through that ends with the body leaning forward and the right foot lifting off the ground. Garoppolo’s release, meanwhile, features a stationary back foot; rather than forcefully stepping into throws, he creates torque with his upper body and hips ...
He notes that by throwing from a stationary position, QBs are able to elude interior linemen who wreak havoc in a crumbling pocket. “Anyone who doesn’t throw like that, they’re going to blame the O-line all year,” Shanahan says. “I’m not going to name 100 quarterbacks who are like that, but their O-lines are always not good. The guys who can throw like this, when the O-line’s bad, as long as you have good people out on routes, you can get rid of it.”
I’m not a “football guy” in terms of knowing a lot of the specifics on mechanics, so I’m open to hearing what people have to say about this. But, it’s a little more detail than we previously had.
Garoppolo and Cousins
We’ve always known Kyle Shanahan has had it bad for Kirk Cousins, but I don’t recall seeing any mention of how early it came down to Garoppolo vs. Cousins. We heard about the reports the 49ers talked to Bill Belichick early in the 2017 offseason, but Mays wrote it up as that the 49ers had decided it was either going to be Cousins or Garoppolo prior to first approaching Belichick. It seems like they quickly whittled down the list to just the two guys.
I figured they would have had a slightly bigger list than just two players, but I suppose Shanahan figured signing Cousins was a sure thing if it came down to that. And Cousins seemed to figure it was a possibility as well. He acknowledged as much to Mays:
“[That seat] wasn’t necessarily filled because there was a lot of football left,” Cousins says. “I’ve just learned to play the next play, the next week. You try to not look that far ahead or that far behind.”
Shanahan and Lynch and patience
This article provided a broader look at just how well the relationship works between Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch. Shanahan had his reservations about moving on from Cousins, but he clearly saw potential in Garoppolo. That being said, he was not prepared to make a long-term financial commitment right away. However, he recognized the talent and agreed with Lynch and Paraag Marathe that a second round pick was worth it for a chance to effectively run Garoppolo through an extensive tryout over the final two months of the 2017 season.
Lynch was eager to see what Garoppolo was capable of, but Shanahan was able to convince him of the value of putting him in a position to succeed. They took their time and of course, the rest is history.
When you get a minute, the article is well worth your time.