Before the injury was announced that Jimmy Garoppolo would be out for an extended period, the San Francisco 49ers had a quarterback problem. Now that Jimmy G will likely miss the next six weeks, that QB problem will be under a magnifying glass.
Here’s my read on the situation: The Niners like Garoppolo, and maybe even more so now that they got a look at what they looked like with Nick Mullens and C.J. Beathard under center. And I think they’d be fine going forward with him in 2021. But are their eyes going to be open to a potential upgrade? I think they will be. Maybe they’ll wind up with a high pick, and a shot at someone like North Dakota State’s Trey Lance, regarded by scouts as a strong fit for the Shanahan offense. Maybe a Shanahan-connected QB like Matt Ryan or Kirk Cousins will be available. Or maybe their best option will be to stick with Garoppolo.
WHAT NEEDS HELP
Pass blocking. The Seahawks came into the game with one of the worst pass rushes in the league but managed three sacks against the Niners. Seattle fooled San Francisco’s line with blitzes and made life difficult with the sacks and eight quarterback hits.
Emmanuel Moseley. The cornerback was no match for the physical DK Metcalf on the outside, getting beat twice for touchdowns. Metcalf had 12 catches for 161 yards, with most of the damage coming against Moseley.
The 49ers were confused by the call due to the deception by Wilson. Kyle Shanahan wasn’t sure how Ward was supposed to defend on the play.
“I mean, you can just give him the first down, which happens a ton because guys are scared as can be to get those penalties,” Shanahan said. “They’re not trying to be cheap and they’re not trying to get fined. It’s a big point in the game if they get a first down, it’s pretty much over and they’re right there at the sticks.
“He is very good at what he did, waiting until the last second. It’s just a huge challenge that not just our team has, the whole NFL has that. It’s a tough play and I understand why we do it, you have to protect the quarterback and protect everyone, but it’s very tough for our guys. I thought they tried to hold on as well as they can.”
SF 49ers Candidate No. 2: Dak Prescott
Prescott’s franchise-tag signing this offseason was a story in of itself. The Cowboys, under so much pressure to finally cruise deep into the playoffs amid a terrible NFC East, elected to pay other offensive stars, wide receiver Amari Cooper and running back Ezekiel Elliott, instead of keeping Prescott around. Even though that would have been massive money.
Things got messy enough with Dallas’ 2-3 start to the season and horrible defense. But when Prescott suffered a serious ankle fracture against the New York Giants, everything in the Cowboys’ immediate plans went out the window.
This trade is all about Alexander’s departure and the 49ers’ ability to receive a much-needed draft pick for next year.
The 49ers shed approximately $2.5 million of Alexander’s pay for the remainder of this season. They pick up half of Alonso’s $1.7 million salary, which makes the deal more palatable for the Saints.
More importantly, the 49ers wipe Alexander’s scheduled pay of $12.65 million and $12.75 million the next two years from their books.
The verdict: NOT AN OVERREACTION. Garoppolo is fine, and obviously the Niners have won a lot of games with him — he’s 22-8 as the starter in the regular season. San Francisco’s injury situation this season is unrivaled leaguewide, and it might be unfair to judge anyone as a result. But Garoppolo’s inconsistencies — be they of performance or availability — have become too much for an otherwise steady team to ignore.
Again, he’s not their biggest problem. But they have given him enough of a chance to prove he can be the steadying, consistent presence they need at the position. That the jury has remained out this long might tell them all they need to know.