Much has been made of San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo’s style of play. Turnovers will drive a fan crazy, especially when they come at the most inopportune times. For me, an aggressive mentality is what separates the good from the great. Garoppolo isn’t there yet, but he has the right mindset.
ESPN’s NFL Matchup analyst and long time film guru Greg Cosell was on KNBR the other day discussing Garoppolo’s throws and decision making. Jimmy G has thrown an interception in eight games this season, and is throwing an interception at the fifth-highest rate in the NFL, as Eric Branch pointed out. How you bounce back from turnovers are equally as important. That’s an area where Garoppolo has excelled this season. On ten drives for the 49ers following his interceptions this season, Garoppolo is 32 for 35 for 288 yards, two touchdowns, zero interceptions, and a 120 passer rating.
Cosell believes the lack of running game has something to do with it:
“Because they’ve been unable to run the ball in the last three games with any efficiency, he’s averaging over 45 dropbacks per game in the last three games. And I don’t think that’s ultimately what Kyle Shanahan wants, but I think the games have played out that way. And I think, for the most part, Garoppolo has played well.”
Shanahan has gone the route of throwing quick passes in exchange for running the ball lately, and that’s worked. It’s be the trade-off for not being able to run the ball, so I don’t think that has been the reason. Cosell also cited Garoppolo’s inexperience. The interception Garoppolo threw directly to the Cardinals defender has nothing to do with inexperience. He’s had a few head scratchers this season. As mentioned above, Garoppolo has done a fine job of not dwelling on the bad throws and moving on.
I agree with Cosell when he mentions how Garoppolo’s ability to stand in the pocket with bodies flying all over the place and him not flinching. That’s a critical trait for a quarterback, and pair that with Jimmy’s quick release, and that’s been a big part of the reason this offense is so efficient. The touchdown pass to Kendrick Bourne last Sunday is a prime example of hanging in the pocket and a quick release.
Cosell noted that interceptions could be in the Garoppolo’s nature:
“And he may be a quarterback — because I think he’s aggressive by nature — that maybe throws a few more picks than you like,” Cosell continued while noting Garoppolo’s lack of experience. You hope with experience, he just kind of works through that himself. But you like the aggression. You like his ability to turn it loose, particularly versus man coverage, and give his receivers an opportunity.”
It’s possible that Garoppolo can grow and improve as a player while continuing to throw interceptions. In Shanahan’s offense, it’s tough to turn over the ball this much. While inexperience may not be the reason, I doubt Garoppolo will continue to throw the jaw-dropping interceptions that make you throw your drink.
Here is the entire interview: