With five games to go, let’s look at where 49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo stands in relation to the rest of the NFL in specific metrics.
Per RBSDM, since Week 6, Jimmy ranks 18th in expected completion percentage. Hilariously enough, he’s sandwiched in between Mac Jones and Kirk Cousins. This may surprise some, but Garoppolo ranks seventh in average air yards per attempt during that same stretch. He’s tied with Rams QB Matthew Stafford and one spot ahead of Bills QB Josh Allen — two of the strongest armed quarterbacks in the league.
I’ll avoid using team stats like EPA and success rate, as we can’t give Jimmy credit for throwing one-yard passes when George Kittle tight-ropes down the sideline for 40-yard touchdowns or when he hits Brandon Aiyuk over the intermediate part of the field when there’s nobody around him.
Each week, the NFL releases their QB power rankings. CBS does the same, so let’s see where each site ranks Garoppolo. Let’s start with NFL dot com:
Down 2 spots
San Francisco 49ers · Year 8
2021 stats: 11 games | 66.8 pct | 2,641 pass yds | 8.5 ypa | 15 pass TD | 8 INT | 40 rush yds | 3 rush TD | 5 fumbles
Some games, Jimmy recedes into the background. This was not one of those games. He had some money throws in big situations, two bad interceptions and took a safety. He had a great would-be game-tying drive that was ruined by a deflected pass at the line of scrimmage. Jimmy G is a hero and a goat, a star and a stand-in, someone for Kyle Shanahan to lean on and blame. He is all things to all people, and I am eager to see how this chapter ends.
Teddy Bridgewater and Tua are the two quarterbacks ranked in front of Jimmy here, while Taylor Heinicke and Baker Mayfield are directly below him.
That’s an apt description of Jimmy. He can be four different quarterbacks in four quarters. This isn’t the first time I’ve said this, but I’d love to see Shanahan use more tempo and pace. That seems to be when Garoppolo is at his best and plays freely. It’s when we see Jimmy G scramble, move around in the pocket, play on time, and use the entire field.
Here’s where CBS ranked Garoppolo:
SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS QB
The minute the 49ers absolutely need him to throw his way to victory, he’s not necessarily ready to do it. It’s up to Kyle Shanahan to get their ground game working to remove the burden. (-2)
That’s one spot behind Matt Ryan and one spot in front of Tua Tagovailoa. You can’t blame Shanahan for the running game not working. Nearly 60% of Elijah Mitchell’s carries were into an 8-man front, per Next Gen Stats.
There isn’t an end-all-be-all QB metric. PFF grades are too subjective. If you don’t believe me, Andy Dalton had a higher grade than Kyler Murray this past weekend, and this was their explanation:
For one, Dalton had really bad luck on two INTs, I’d argue three. Kyler threw a ball backwards on his first dropback and was lucky it didn’t bounce too far away and he tried to overthrow Connor on one of the TDs— Steve Palazzolo (@PFF_Steve) December 7, 2021
If you’re wondering why we no longer post the top and worst-graded PFF players, there’s your answer.
EPA and success rate are more team stats. Sports Info Solutions’ “total points earned” metric is as close of a number to capturing how the quarterback played without any human error while also designating the proper assignment of a play to the quarterback.
Garoppolo is ranked similarly in total points earned than he is in the QB rankings above, at 17th — which is where he’s ranked in QB rating, too.
SIS has an “independent QB rating,” which is scaled to QB rating but considers what a QB can’t control, such as dropped passes. Jimmy ranks 15th in this stat.
So, just about any way you slice it, Garoppolo is in the 15-20 range as a quarterback when looking at different rankings or metrics. Does that sound about right, too low, or too high?