As much as quarterback discussion has dominated the 49ers preseason, so too has the discussion of drops by wide receivers.
Jimmy Garoppolo and Trey Lance have a collective completion percentage of just 40% this preseason. But, when you factor in all of the drops by the pass catchers, that completion percentage jumps up to 70%.
Some of Jimmy’s drops can be attributed to poor ball placement. When it comes to Lance’s throws, NBC’s Chris Simms offered a different explanation on Pro Football Talk Live:
“There’s not tremendous spin or spiral, and it has a wobble. That, to me, shows maybe lack of control of the football. Anybody will tell you...balls like that are hard to catch. It’s like a cement brick coming at you all the time. [Josh] Allen, [Patrick] Mahomes, [Aaron] Rodgers - they can throw the ball that hard, but since the ball spins so fast and it’s a perfect spiral, it’s easy to focus on a target as it comes into your hands. Your eyes can stay right on [the end of the football], and because of that perfect spiral, it just digs right into their hands. Now, if the ball is wobbling, all of a sudden the point hits the palm and you might drop it and do those type of things. That’s just where I’d like to see Lance clean it up a little bit and become a little more efficient.”
Certainly, no quarterback throws spirals all the time, but as Chris said later in the show when you combine a wobbly football with the velocity with which Lance throws, that’s a tough combination on any receiver — especially without perfect ball placement.
Does that completely absolve the receivers of blame? Of course not. Those guys are paid to catch any pass, not just the perfect ones. But like most things, the blame doesn’t lie solely on any one side.
The receivers need to turn up the speed on the jugs machine to get used to Lance’s strength, and Lance needs to firm up his mechanics and deliver a more catchable football.
Other topics in today’s episode of Stats & Eggs
- The rough stretch Simms saw from Lance that could hurt his chances of starting Week 1
- George Seifert gets disrespected by the Pro Football Hall of Fame voters - again
- Proof of why Brandon Aiyuk should be the return man this season