Much has been made about the 49ers quarterback situation this year and how Jimmy Garoppolo has handled the acquisition of Trey Lance. While Jimmy may have appeared cool on the outside, that may not have been the case internally early in the season. 49ers great, and NBC Sports Bay Area’s Joe Staley joined Levin Black, and I on today’s Niners Nation Gold Standard podcast and said he thinks Garoppolo reached an inflection point around Week 8.
“I think the Chicago Bears game was a huge turning point, not just for him but also the team. I think it was because Jimmy kind of said ‘F it.’ I think he was sick of having to look over his shoulder with the new situation. He was putting in too much time thinking about that, probably. It was weighing on him. ‘If I throw this pass, if I’m too aggressive, if I take a shot, am I going to get pulled?’
This is all just my own opinion. It looked to me that he kind of just said, ‘F it.’ I am just going to play as I can play, and be as aggressive and not care or worry about if I’m getting pulled or yanked or if a young kid is going to take my job. And I think from that point on he has been more aggressive.”
While it’s impossible to say for sure, there has been an improvement in Jimmy’s numbers since that Bears game. In his first five games of the year, Garoppolo threw for 221 yards per game, averaged 7.63 yards per attempt, completed around 65% of his passes, and scored 7 total touchdowns with 4 interceptions. From Week 8 onward, Garoppolo improved to 270 yards per game, averaged 9.14 yards per attempt, completed 69.9% of his passes, scored 16 total touchdowns with 8 interceptions.
“The narrative around him has always been turnovers, you can’t let him lose the game, and all this. I think it comes from everybody’s respect for Kyle and his X’s and O’s and the way that he builds his offensive game plan. Everybody kind of looks at it and says, ‘Jimmy just has to get out of the way and not turn the ball over and then we’re gonna be good.’
A lot of the reason why I think Kyle’s offense is able to run the way it is is because of Jimmy as well. Those short passes across the middle, the play-action stuff, the ability to throw out of very tight windows when you have pressure breathing down your neck, to manipulate defense and understand coverages and where to go, is a lot of quarterback play. It’s not highlighted because it’s not sexy. It’s not a 50 yard bomb down the field and it’s not rolling to your left and throwing to your right no-look passes like Mahomes - it’s not sexy to talk about so you don’t think about it. I think Jimmy is pretty under-appreciated overall by the fan base because of the X’s and O’s that they do creatively.”
While it might be easy to write off Staley as a homer because he went to a Super Bowl with Jimmy Garoppolo,
Joe was very generous with his time, and we covered a ton of issues during the interview. We’ll be posting more of the best moments in the days to come. In the meantime, you can listen to it here or watch it here.
Other topics covered in today’s show
- Why do the 49ers start slowly so often? (8:40)
- How Kyle Shanahan has changed his offense this year (9:53)
- Which Kyle Shanahan narratives are true and which are bull? (15:34)
- Why Joe would start Trey Lance next year (27:09)
- How Kyle Shanahan praises players publicly and crushes them privately (28:33)
- How the 49ers can defend against Micah Parsons (34:44)
- How the 49ers D-line will match up against the Cowboys O-line (38:35)
- The most important matchup of 49ers Cowboys (40:07)
- DeMeco Ryans deserves a ton of credit for his improvement (42:16)
- Why losing Mike McDaniel would be a huge loss for the 49ers (47:37)
- Would Joe ever work on Jim Harbaugh’s coaching staff? (50:12)