There were some rumors in the offseason that San Francisco 49ers general manager John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan would look to upgrade the quarterback position after Jimmy Garoppolo’s poor fourth-quarter performance in the Super Bowl.
Lynch admitted that they had discussions about potentially bringing in six-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady, while ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith claimed the Niners would have won the title if they had Aaron Rodgers.
NBC’s Sunday Night Football analyst Chris Collinsworth was on Matt Maiocco’s podcast and shared his thoughts on why Garoppolo is a better fit in Shanahan’s system than Rodgers (h/t NBC Bay Area):
“Green Bay wants Aaron Rodgers to start fitting within that system. Think of if Aaron Rodgers were inside the San Francisco 49ers system, which effectively it is. It’s the same style of play. Would you expect Aaron Rodgers to continue to do what he’s doing now? Which is sort of dropping back, and moving around, and finding space up in the pocket or make those snap throws you see from Garoppolo in this offense ... So to some extent, the fact that Garoppolo wants to play inside this offense, makes him valuable to Kyle Shanahan.”
Collinsworth added that Rodgers improv-style isn’t suited for Shanny’s system, which relies on quick, specific reads. Garoppolo struggled with his decision-making at times last season, but that is something we hope he will show improvement in his second full season as a starter in Shanahan’s system.
The Niners and Green Bay Packers both finished with 13-3 records in 2019, but San Francisco absolutely dominated Green Bay in both meetings, outscoring the Packers 74-28. Garoppolo outplayed Rodgers in the Week 12 game when he threw for 253 yards and two touchdowns. Jimmy G only had eight pass attempts in the NFC championship game when the 49ers’ rushing attack ran roughshod over Green Bay.
Garoppolo is eight years younger than Rodgers and beat him in nearly every statistical category last season. Jimmy G had a higher completion percentage, a higher percentage of touchdowns thrown, more yards per completion, had a higher passer rating and QBR, higher adjusted net yards per pass attempt, and threw for one more touchdown. Rodgers threw for 24 more total yards than Garoppolo and had nine fewer interceptions.
The Rodgers/49ers storyline has been a thing since San Francisco took Alex Smith over him at the 2005 NFL Draft.
Rodgers has had a great career. He was the best QB in the league for a few seasons and has some jaw-dropping highlights on his reel. But, he is also on the downside of his career. Shanahan and Lynch were right to double-down on Garoppolo as their starter going forward. Hopefully, Jimmy G can reward their faith with a championship in 2020.