Late last week, I looked back on Jimmy Garoppolo’s season and concluded that he was “good enough” for the San Francisco 49ers to win a Super Bowl. I have nothing new to say about Garoppolo, and that won’t change until July comes around when the 49ers take the field for training camp. He had a good season, and when you use a little nuance to factor in injury, Jimmy was better than good. Saying that doesn’t absolve him from the mistakes that were made, which there were plenty. We saw head-scratching decisions Week 1 and in the Super Bowl. That has to change if the Niners are going to win double-digit games in 2020.
A panel of NFL.com editors created a composite ranking of all 57 quarterbacks that played in 2019. The ranking didn’t include future projections, but it did factor in regular season play and the postseason. I’m not in the belief that Garoppolo is a top-five quarterback, so I don’t get upset at these rankings. As you scroll, you see Ryan Tannehill at No. 6. Kirk Cousins and Matt Stafford tied for eighth. Carson Wentz was at No. 10? That was enough to discredit the list, which you always try and avoid, but these guys made that impossible to do. Garoppolo came in at No. 15, behind Tom Brady and Kyler Murray. Here is the blurb on the Niners:
RANK 15 Jimmy Garoppolo
Individual Rank: Bhanpuri: 15 | Blair: 14 | Filice: 15 | Parr: 14
2019 regular season stats: 16 games | 69.1 pct | 3,978 pass yds | 8.4 ypa | 27 pass TD | 13 INT | 62 rush yds | 1 rush TD | 5 fumbles lost
Blair: Jimmy G was mostly solid in his first full season as a starter, but even as someone who wants to give him the benefit of the doubt, I have to admit that it’s not exactly encouraging that his best playoff performance featured eight total passes, or that he was 3 for 11 for 36 yards with 0 TDs and a pick while the Niners’ 10-point lead collapsed in the fourth quarter of Super Bowl LIV.
That summation is leaving out over 500 passes and focusing on three bad series—which tells you all you need to know about this list. To me, it’s the other way around. I had more question marks about Garoppolo the first half of the season. Then the team acquired Emmanuel Sanders, and Jimmy G looked like the player he was before the injury at the end of the 2017 season.
If you remember, Garoppolo was ranked 24th by PFF heading into the 2019 regular season. Most of that was the unknown on what he would be as a quarterback after his ACL injury, and what Jimmy G had proven. This past season Garoppolo showed us that he could win. In a bottom-line business, that’s what you look for in a quarterback. I know people refuse to acknowledge quarterback wins, but when you talk to players and coaches, they echo a similar sentiment. During Super Bowl week, Arik Armstead was asked what makes Patrick Mahomes such a special player. He said, “getting his offensive weapons the ball in open space. The greatest trait of a quarterback is getting the ball to his playmakers so they can operate in space.” Jimmy showed he could win in 2019. Now, in 2020, show us that you can win while overcoming obstacles. That’s the next step for Jimmy G.