During the broadcast of the game Sunday on CBS, something Ian Eagle said caught my ear.
For anyone that doesn’t know, the broadcasters calling the game meet with players and coaches to discuss current storylines, strategy, player usage, and more. Generally, everyone is pretty candid with each other, and there’s sort of an understanding as far as what’s on the record and what’s information provided for context that can’t be shared publicly.
With about 4:36 left in the game, Ian Eagle dropped this little nugget about Kyle Shanahan and Jimmy Garoppolo.
“We asked [Jimmy] about his relationship with Kyle Shanahan. He said, ‘The relationship has actually taken big steps.’ They’re now talking the same language.
We asked Kyle about it, he said, ‘We’re in a really good place. He knows how I feel about him, and he knows that I believe in him.’
My kingdom for a follow-up question - or twelve. Keep in mind, so far this year, Jimmy Garoppolo is playing far differently than he has throughout his tenure in San Francisco.
Through 5 weeks, Jimmy Garoppolo has a Big-Time Throw Rate of 4.3% -- it's the highest it's ever been since he came to the #49ers.— Akash Anavarathan (@akashanav) October 10, 2022
He also has a Turnover-Worthy Play Rate of 2.4% -- it's the lowest it's been since 2017.
49ers need this version of Garoppolo going forward.
That is basically the exact opposite of what Jimmy Garoppolo has done in a 49ers uniform. Usually, you get very few big-time throws combined with too many turnover-worthy plays.
Has something changed between the coach and quarterback that has allowed this kind of growth? What were the “big steps” that the relationship took? Also, why are they just now speaking the same language after four-plus seasons (and 48 regular season starts) together? Most quarterbacks generally take a leap forward in their second straight year in an offensive system. We all know by now that Garoppolo’s time with Kyle has been staggered by injuries, but he’s long since passed the 32-start mark with this team. You would think that a leap forward would have happened by now, if it was going to happen at all. That said, it’s not impossible.
Also, if the relationship took big steps forward recently, what was it like before this? It’s possible that some fence-mending had to be done after the drafting of Trey Lance and everything that took place this offseason. How was that accomplished, exactly?
Kyle’s comment, too, leads to questions. Shanahan has generally praised his quarterback in public while being harsh towards him on the sidelines and in private. Has something changed recently in that arrangement? Certainly not based on what we see on the sidelines during games. Could Kyle have thawed a little bit privately? That, too, is possible but unlikely.
Apparently, something changed between the two men, and Jimmy Garoppolo is playing differently than he has ever played before in this system. We may never know what or how, but the change seems to be for the better. Let’s just hope the good vibes continue.
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