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Gold Standard: Why the 49ers might be making a huge mistake by rotating QBs

QB rotation, here we come

As you would expect, the focus of yesterday’s media cycle was Jimmy Garoppolo, all but saying he’s been told he’s the Week 1 starting quarterback. However, what jumped out to me about his session with the media was something he said later on in that same press conference.

When Garoppolo was asked about what he discussed with NBC’s Drew Brees, he said something else that caught my eye:

“We were just kind of talking ball really. We talked about the situation for a little bit and how him and [New Orleans Saints QB] Taysom [Hill] did it. And it’s a thing that I wasn’t really used to, I guess you could say. Just the in and out part of it. So, I was trying to pick his brain, how he handled that. He’d come out for a play or two and then go back in, how that all works.”

Just how much is Kyle Shanahan planning on rotating his quarterbacks? Remember what Shanahan told Albert Breer about two weeks ago in the Monday Morning Quarterback:

“I think I can ride it out week-in and week-out, personally,” he says. “I think our guys trust us to make the right decision. It’s cool being in a building where no one has an agenda, whether it’s me, the GM, the owner. Everyone’s on the same page, there’s no pressure—Hey, you have to do this or You have to do that. And our players know that too, that’s what’s great about our place here. When players know you’re on the same page with the personnel department, with the owner, then they don’t really care. They just want to win.

“And I think when this is all said and done, there’s gonna be two guys they believe will help us win and I think they’ll trust us to make that decision, whether it’s permanently, for one game, for a series or just a situation. We gotta balance that out right, though. It’s tough to do, but it is as easy as ‘How do you win the game?’”

Which is to say, yes, Shanahan would feel comfortable playing matchup ball with his QBs.

“Yeah, I do,”

Changing quarterbacks by the game would be a hideously bad decision. Changing them by the series, doubly so. I’ve made no secret of my desire to see Lance play from day one, but I’d even support Garoppolo as the starter over a two-QB system. As I said in today’s Niners Nation Gold Standard Podcast, any quarterback rotation would be a terrible decision because it weakens every part of the offense.

It takes the current starting quarterback out of rhythm with the rest of the offense. It stunts the growth of Trey Lance because he would be missing out on reps in practice that he loses to the starter. Plus, it makes it harder for receivers and tight ends to build chemistry with any particular passer.

We’ll have to wait to see for sure what the team is going to actually do, but trying to Frankenstein a starting quarterback out of multiple players doesn’t seem like the best idea.