Those of you who have been around Niners Nation for awhile know that I’ve been making a point to compare San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo’s numbers to some of the best quarterbacks in the game. The point is that he’s being compared to quarterbacks with 3-5 years of experience starting in this league under a consistent offense. Garoppolo has come back from a knee injury and is still learning not only game-day ins and outs, but also the most difficult offense in the league.
With that said, let’s get those numbers up. Here is Jimmy Garoppolo’s numbers for 15 games in the NFL:
Garoppolo is in the top-10, or just outside of it in several categories right now. He’s fifth in completion percentage (68.5), fourth in touchdowns (27), ninth in passer rating (101.0) 11th in yards (3693 yards). Not too shabby for a quarterback in their first full season starting. With 307 yards Sunday, he’ll have 4,000 passing yards and be the first 49er to do it since Jeff Garcia. Needless to say, he’s had a great season coming back from that injury.
As you know, the quarterback I’ve compared him to is Aaron Rodgers in Rodgers’ 2008 season. This was the first year Rodgers was the starter for Brett Favre and hadn’t played much football himself. The comparisons to Garoppolo are fair here given their situations. He quickly made himself a force in the league passing and has been regarded as one of the best quarterbacks since. So here’s Rodgers numbers from that 2008 season for 15 games.
Oh my... dare I say it, Garoppolo is OUTPLAYING Rodgers in the same situation Rodgers was once in. They are tied in interceptions, but from there, Garoppolo beats Rodgers in several categories; touchdowns, completion percentage, and passer rating. If you also look at that season, you could argue Rodgers had easier competition as well because the NFC North was a bit of a dumpster fire that year.
Now, Rodgers has the edge on completions, but he threw the ball a bit more, so that makes sense. He also took fewer sacks than Garoppolo did (and the Green Bay offensive line then was about as head-scratching on the interior as the 49ers was on the interior this year). Rodgers also has three rushing touchdowns to Garoppolo’s one, but rushing touchdowns are more icing on a cake than anything about the actual cake itself.
There will still be criticisms about Garoppolo. I’ve been one of them to tell him to move around the [site-decorum] pocket rather than be a statue and get nailed. I’ve been saying this far too many times, screaming at my TV, “MOVE AROUND!” but I also know that’s going to come with time.
The fact Garoppolo has done this despite playing little football only shows just what he’ll be capable of in a few years. The other thing is, he still is putting wins together late in the season. Usually, when quarterbacks have numbers like this, it’s taking a few teams by surprise and regressing in the latter half of the season (Blake Bortles comes to mind here). Garoppolo has bad games but shows up when it matters.
Sky’s the limit for this guy. He’s doing just fine.