When the 49ers made the Super Bowl despite their quarterback throwing just 27 passes in two playoff games, many analysts said that showed a lack of faith in Jimmy Garoppolo by Kyle Shanahan. Niners fans, myself included, defended Garoppolo and Shanahan’s faith in him by saying the ground game was too successful to go away from. Yesterday, we finally got the truth from Kyle himself when he was asked about turnovers.
“I know as a play caller throughout my career, having a lot of experience of that type of stuff, what you try to do the most when you’re turning the ball over a lot, especially at the quarterback position, which to me has to do with your whole team, but it always starts and ends with the quarterback. What I’ve learned and I’ve always tried my hardest to do is run the ball when it’s like that...I feel like you’re trying as hard as you can not to turn the ball over.”
Last year’s playoff run bears that out. After Jimmy Garoppolo’s 2nd quarter interception in the Divisional Playoff game against the Vikings, he only threw 14 more passes before the Super Bowl.
In today’s Shanaplan podcast, Kyle Posey and Akash Anavarathan wondered if that philosophy will extend to a different quarterback next season.
“I don’t think Kyle Shanahan as a head coach is that conservative,” Akash said, “He’s a young, aggressive play-caller, but the one thing he despises is turning the ball over...If you bring in another guy who may be more experienced, who may throw picks, does Kyle still have that tight leash, or does he let that quarterback grow?”
You can hear the entire debate in today’s episode by clicking on the player below.
I also wonder if Kyle’s philosophy would be different from a rookie quarterback as opposed to bringing in a veteran like Matthew Stafford. Would he have more patience with a rookie’s interceptions as opposed to a 12-year veteran like Stafford?
Also, what are the effects of all these giveaways on Shanahan’s psyche? Does he just become so turnover-averse that he begins to favor a more conservative quarterback with a lower ceiling over a gunslinger with more potential?
Only time will tell, but one thing we do know is that Kyle, like all of us, just can’t deal with giving the ball to the other team any longer.