I remember it like it was yesterday. On April 27, Mike Florio complimented the San Francisco 49ers and their draft. It was unexpected, as we’ve seen Florio go out of his way to talk down on the Niners since the inception of the internet. There hasn’t been much to discuss for Florio to talk about the 49ers since, but that changed Thursday. On KNBR, Florio addressed Jimmy Garoppolo’s future with the team and said he has to step his game up or else...
Here’s what it comes down to. He was marginalized in the playoffs once he threw three passes that were all interceptable balls. All by Eric Kendricks and Kendricks caught one of them. It was the third one in the third quarter that caused Kyle Shanahan to say, throw out the passing plays lets just run the ball until they stop us and that carried over into the NFC Championship game where Garoppolo had a Bob Griese stat line, Bob Griese from the early 70s like, you know, six throws.
And then you fast forward to the Super Bowl, and I was sitting right above the press box where this unfolded. Emmanuel Sanders breaks open, and I’m thinking, “Oh my god, the 49ers are gonna take the lead, and it’s gonna be up to Patrick Mahomes to try and win this game in the final seconds, and the ball lands five yards in front of where Emmanuel Sanders is. Just like Jared Goff last year, championship moment, championship throw. The ultimate litmus test for a quarterback. It’s pass-fail, and he failed.
I think he’s going to have to bump himself up that list if he wants to keep that job. They’re saying what they have to say to support their guy. They’ve got the financial commitment made. They thought about Tom Brady. They decided to stick with the guy they have, but, unless he comes out and addresses some of those flaws and shows the kind of performance that doesn’t have Kyle Shanahan abandon the passing game and focus solely on the running game, these rumors are going to continue.
And you know the guy we’re going to hear about the next offseason. It’s going to be an Aaron Rodgers homecoming that becomes the topic of plenty of speculation in San Francisco if Garoppolo doesn’t take it to the next level.
That was a lot to digest as Florio word vomited for a minute and a half. There is some truth to what Florio is saying. Garoppolo does have to play better, or the rumors aren’t going anywhere. Jimmy did throw six interceptable passes during the playoffs. The 49ers did strongly consider Brady. The missed pass to Sanders was on the quarterback. All of those points are true.
Florio goes full Florio by mentioning Griese and Rodgers and ignoring the matchup advantages the Niners had against the Packers. Green Bay continually had a “light box” against San Francisco. Any quarterback is going to check to a run when you have the numbers advantage. I don’t expect Florio to use nuance in his arguments, so, if you listen to the KNBR clip, he comes off as aggressive and anti-Jimmy G.
If the 49ers move on, it’s probably not going to be for a quarterback that is going to break the bank. The Niners offseason next year is going to be fascinating with how many unrestricted free agents they have. There will be some tough decisions to make in the front office. Paraag Marathe is going to earn his check.
I’ll end with this comparison from 2019:
Completion percentage over expectation: 17th
Completion +/- (NGS): 28th
Those stats are from Rodgers but don’t tell anybody. Here are Jimmy’s stats:
Completion +/- (NGS): 9th
I find myself arguing with 49ers fans over Jimmy G as they reference so many parts of football that have nothing to do with...football. Many of you understand that Garoppolo has flaws. It does not make you any less of a fan to admit that. I pride myself on telling it how it is. Garoppolo needs to improve. If we are telling it like it is, and you remove the names on the back of the jersey, Garoppolo outplayed Rodgers in 2019. The eye test backs it up as do the advanced stats.
Because Garoppolo has areas he has to improve doesn’t mean he’s a bad quarterback. He was better than a lot of the big-name vets like Rodgers, Tom Brady Philip Rivers, Carson Wentz, Matt Ryan. The list goes on and on. I’m a hard critic, and that’s not going to stop. Why? Because I’ve seen Jimmy throw the ball. He has the potential to be a top quarterback, as Shanahan mentioned.
Consistency is key. That’s what I want to see out of Jimmy this season.