I don’t know about you, but there’s something about a reckless mindset at quarterback that is enjoyable to watch. I wouldn’t label San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo as “reckless,” but it’s evident that Jimmy G loves to take chances. I’d categorize Garoppolo as brashly efficient. He knows where to go with the football, and he wants to make a play. That’s what you want in your quarterback.
We’ve seen the “oh no” throws each preseason game. The most recent throw being the one into triple coverage towards the end of the first half against the Kansas City Chiefs. Here’s what Garoppolo had to say:
“A big part of that is it still being preseason, or in practice, you try things like that,” Garoppolo said on KNBR radio, via NBC Sports Bay Area. “You know, during a real game, you wouldn’t make that throw or that decision, but there’s a trust factor between quarterback and ... whoever’s catching the ball. The more you try those things, you see who’s going to make the play for you in a crucial situation. If you put it in a good spot for them to make a play, you expect them to make a play. They expect you to give them a chance to make play, so I think it works both ways. Them trusting me, me trusting them. ... [That] comes with reps.”
Now, you can make an argument that these throws show up during the regular season. They do. It also doesn’t mean that these throws won’t happen during the season. They happen to everyone.
When you watch Garoppolo, you can see that he understands the offense. While some throws—the interception against Denver—should never leave his hand, it’s plays like the one below that give me confidence in the quarterback.
Nothing flashy. Nobody is open down the field, so he checks it down. The gunslinger mentality is there, but he’s not chucking it into coverage at each opportunity.
Expectations have changed in a year. This time last year, Garoppolo was riding high after finishing the 2017 regular season strong. This month we’ve talked about preseason throws and five-interception practices. The first three games of the season are set up for the offense to get off to a hot start. I’ll judge Garoppolo on those games, instead.