Jimmy Garoppolo’s thumb may have been the single most talked about NFL body part over the last two weeks. However, after Kyle Shanahan’s Monday conference call, that title may well shift to Jimmy Garoppolo’s throwing shoulder, which was sprained in the second quarter. During yesterday’s media session, Jimmy G. made it clear that the injury was an issue last week.
“Well, I mean the shoulder, yeah, being a quarterback it affects every throw. So it definitely had some impact, but if I’m out there and I’m being put in that spot, I still have to make the plays that I normally make. So no excuses or anything like that. The injury is what it is. We’re all dealing with stuff now.”
When Garoppolo was only dealing with a thumb injury, Kyle Shanahan said he watched every throw Jimmy made during the week and wouldn’t have hesitated to go with Trey Lance if he saw any variance in Jimmy’s passes. There certainly seemed some variance in the second half of the Cowboys game.
As Garoppolo himself said, he needs to be able to make plays if he’s under center regardless of how much he’s hurting. He can’t miss Brandon Aiyuk when he’s 10 yards away from the closest defender against Green Bay next week, and he certainly can’t throw the interception that occurred in the fourth quarter. The margin for error against Aaron Rodgers is just too thin.
When Garoppolo himself was asked whether he was confident he’d play on Sunday, he replied, “Yeah, we’ll feel it out throughout the week, but yeah, just feeling good right now.”
This season, the 49ers haven’t been afraid to create doubt about who their starting quarterback will be. It’s entirely possible they’re doing the same thing this week before the biggest game of the season.
If this isn’t just gamesmanship and there is a chance Garoppolo doesn’t play, a Divisional playoff game against the Packers in Lambeau Field with freezing cold temperatures expected is a hell of a spot for Trey Lance to be in. Obviously, that’s not the situation you’d choose for your 21-year-old quarterback with two career starts under his belt, but dealing with adversity and the unexpected is life in the NFL, particularly at quarterback.