Stop me if you heard this before: The San Francisco 49ers had some great quarterback play from Jimmy Garoppolo, BUT, he didn’t throw it much, chucked an interception, etc. etc. There’s been a new excuse as to why Garoppolo can’t get respect, whether against a bad Cardinals defense or the fact the 49ers ran too much wand Richard Sherman let the media know about it.
In his press conference following the 49ers’ victory over the Green Bay Packers, Sherman went into a detailed answer on Garoppolo and his [Garoppolo’s] role as the leader of the 49ers. Here is his entire answer:
“He’s the leader of this team. The quarterback is the leader of this team, Jimmy Garoppolo is our leader, and we will follow him into the darkest of darks. We can follow him into a dark alley, and I can guarantee you won’t touch him. He’s goes to battle and fights for us every day, and we have an obligation to go to battle and fight for him. You hear some of the noise and things said about him, and it’s frustrating. Because we see him every day, we see what kind of work ethic he puts in, hours he puts in preparing; the first one in, the last one out. The guy looks for no credit; all he does is encourages teammates and puts more work in. Then you have people nitpicking, nitpicking. We run for 300 yards, and you’re like, “Well, he didn’t throw a lot.”
We ran for 300 yards!
“Then he throws for 400, and they’re like, ‘Well, I think he got outplayed by Kyler Murray.’ And Kyler Murray barely had 100 yards passing. And you start to laugh at these things, but you’re like the goalposts keep moving with him.”
“The one thing you can appreciate and I’ve said this before, is you can appreciate being good that people gotta make excuses for why you’re good. He’s a good enough quarterback that people have to make excuses. They have to move the bar. Oh my God, he didn’t throw for 400 [yards] this day now his passer rating is 145 on prime time against one of the best teams in football, and I’m sure they’ll move the goalposts again. Then they’ll say, “Well, he didn’t run it good enough. He’s not a scrambler, so his yards per run, he needs to pick that up. He took a couple sacks.”
“It’s like, what? What else can the guy do? He’s helping his team win football games, and he deserves a ton of more credit for that.”
For the sake of objectivity, I want to point out that Kyler Murray threw for 241 yards in his first game again the 49ers and 150 yards in the second game. So a bit more than a hundred.
Beyond that, Sherman has a point. Garoppolo has been turning in great numbers, and it seems like everyone expects a five-year vet to walk in and carve every team. Jimmy Garoppolo is going to complete his first full season in 2019, so mistakes and miscues will happen. Inexperience will happen. I went over his first ten starts last week and noted how he’s identical to Steve Young in 1991 (first season starting after the Joe Montana injury) and Aaron Rodgers in 2008 (Rodgers’ first year for Favre). The interception column is a bit high, but if you look at everything else, he does it as well, if not better than those other two names.
The thing a lot don’t look at is his leadership ability. There was a chat Garoppolo had with the team that was caught on film, where Garoppolo told the offense to pick it up against the Packers. There’s also Kyle Shanahan’s offense, which, as I’ve harped and harped and harped, is the hardest offense to learn in the NFL. Garoppolo has gotten better and better as the weeks go by and even said in his press conferences, the offense is getting easier. That mental game is barely discussed and instead his numbers.
That touchdown to George Kittle last night might have been a wide-open Kittle, but Garoppolo looked off Sanders and threw deep. It was what I considered the nail in the coffin. The Packers took five-eight minutes of our lives trying to put a drive together, including help from the officiating crew to give Aaron Rodgers plenty of tries to score a touchdown and two-point conversion. Garoppolo just turns around in two plays and scores right on top of them in a minute. There’s also the Deebo Samuel touchdown where it looked like Garoppolo was looking things off. I haven’t watched the film yet, so I can’t go over where his eyes led.
Will there be mistakes? Yes, but the questions of Garoppolo being an average quarterback or a game manager need to get put to rest. He’s won games by putting the team on his back, and Sherman has a point that there’s some high bar that keeps getting raised.
Garoppolo will only get better with experience, which is exactly what he is getting. He’s only going to get better.
Oh yeah, and those numbers:
14/20 (70 percent completion)
145.8 passer rating.
Here’s the video: