The most common refrain from those against starting Trey Lance this year was that it was unwise to hand the reins of a so-called Super Bowl roster to a quarterback that still needed to go through the ups and downs of development. Now that Lance is out for the year, the team now falls back into the hands of Jimmy Garoppolo. On today’s Oh, Hey There! podcast, Jason Aponte said that means the expectations for this group have changed.
After Trey Lance went down, Kyle Juszczyk was asked what it felt like when Jimmy Garoppolo entered the game. He said, in part, “It felt like 49er football....there were zero hiccups from him.” At least some players couldn’t wait to tell Mike Silver how much better they thought the team would be under Jimmy Garoppolo.
Those people now have what they wanted, so Aponte said the barometer for success this season has gone up.
“Now there’s no excuse about wasting a Super Bowl roster, guys. None. I know that this wasn’t the way that we wanted to get to it, but now there’s no excuse. The expectations of this team have changed. You went from, ‘Okay, we’re going to go with the development process and we’ll take the good with the bad’ to now, there’s no development. Now you can just go win ballgames now, right? You can go do it, right? That’s all I’ve heard, ‘[Garoppolo]’s a winner,’ right? Okay, now go win.”
It might seem crazy for a team to go to Super-Bowl-or-bust after losing their starting quarterback for the entire season, but let’s be honest here: everything about this season for the 49ers is crazy. So why should the ultimate expectations be any different?
Jason is right. If you had doubts about Trey Lance getting control of a team in a Super Bowl window before the season, it’s only logical now to say that anything less than a sixth championship is a failure. Based on the quotes in Silver’s article, it’s clear that multiple 49ers players and coaches also believe this. For a team that supposedly doesn’t leak, there’s an awful lot of water coming from 4949 Marie P. DeBartolo Way.
In the span of a single play, the trajectory of this 49ers season was knocked into a different orbit. Backup or not, the team now turns to the guy that’s been the starter for the past 4+ years, and the expectations are higher than ever.