The San Francisco 49ers are getting respect, but there are still a few far away from Niners Nation that don’t trust Jimmy Garoppolo. Let’s talk about that Baltimore Ravens game. Is it Jimmy Garoppolo’s longest year as a starter by far? Yes. Should we really expect anything different? NO.
While it baffles several members of the 49ers roster and me as well, a small vocal minority wants to criticize Garoppolo. So I’ll just keep making comparisons. For those of you new to the program, my constant argument has been that Jimmy Garoppolo is still raw, no matter how high his ceiling is, and he will need one, maybe two seasons of starter experience before we’ll see him carving defenses. This is further compounded by his experience in Kyle Shanahan’s offense, one of the most difficult in the league. Had he stepped into New England being in Josh McDaniels’ offense after all the time spent as a backup, he’d still need a year to acclimate himself to in-game situations. Like the other quarterbacks I’m going to bring up.
First, let’s bring up those Garoppolo numbers through 12 weeks via Pro Football Reference:
Alright, not too shabby. The interception totals haven’t gone up in the last few games, but those touchdowns have.
The big season I compare Garoppolo to is Aaron Rodgers in 2008. That was Rodgers’ first season starting after sitting behind Brett Favre for several years. With that said, let’s look at those numbers from 2008:
It’s a good comparison. Jimmy Garoppolo’s yardage numbers are nearly identical to Rodgers. Oh, and one more touchdown. The same number of picks. And look what happens when you let a quarterback play, grow, and develop. Rather than this, “I don’t think he’s reliable get someone else.”
So you’re saying start over? Get a whole new quarterback to do things all over again? Nah.
This is what I’ve been harping on. Aaron Rodgers wasn’t made in a season, neither was Tom Brady, Joe Montana, or Steve Young. Jimmy Garoppolo needs time. He’s going to make mistakes, but given his inexperience, he’s played quite well. To be fair, Rodgers got the same criticism early on in his career, too, and it was just as ridiculous then.
But as you know, while I compare numbers, I always like to bring in a special guest quarterback. I mean, take this guy below who had some hellacious seasons to start his career. He eventually left the team that drafted him, moved elsewhere, and won a Super Bowl. Now, Iet’s see who that is:
Hey! We know that guy. He’s going to be the guy the 49ers defense feasts on this Sunday. This is the second year Drew Brees was in New Orleans, which gives him two years in Sean Payton’s system. Besides the yardage totals, look at those interceptions. And one less touchdown too.
Alright, bad comparison. Brees has just as many completions as Garoppolo has attempted, but my point still stands. Those aren’t exactly magnificent numbers. Two years later? Brees wins a Super Bowl. Speaking of that Super Bowl Season, all his numbers ballooned from what was above. His rating was a 111.3, his completion percentage was 69.13, and he had 29 touchdowns. He also threw the ball less. Much less, partly because New Orleans was playing ahead most of the time that year, if I remember correctly. It probably also helped that New Orleans wasn’t rebuilding anymore.
My point? Unless he goes into the absolute tank, one year is not enough to judge Garoppolo. Neither is 12 games, but if you compare his 12 games to quarterbacks on their way to Canton early in their careers/new offenses, you’ll see similar results. Did Brees have as many bonehead throws as Garoppolo? No, but he certainly had quite a few more interceptions that year—that says something.
Is Garoppolo Rodgers or Brees? No way. Not even close. I have him probably in the 15s somewhere (and yes, I put Russell Wilson ahead of him to somewhere mid-top-10). The point is everyone seems to want a Brady Year Five when, in fact, Garoppolo is in his first year starting. He’s going to make mistakes; he’s going to have trying games. It’s going to frustrate the hell out of everyone, but other great quarterbacks paid their dues the same way.
I’ve been more than satisfied with what I’ve seen and heard about Garoppolo. Not only has his improvement been displayed every week, but he’s also been a natural leader to the team. Were the Ravens his best showing? No. But Garoppolo’s play was the last thing that really concerned me with that game.
As far as his numbers. I find it quite fascinating.