The 49ers’ first loss of the season to the Packers in Week 3 opened the door for quarterback discourse that had been pounding the door nearly off its hinges since Trey Lance was drafted third overall. Jimmy Garoppolo did not play well, and for the second week in a row had just as many lows than highs. In the days that followed the Packers’ loss, the fans were vocal in calling for a change of starting quarterback. Those calls, however, are likely fruitless given what we know about head coach Kyle Shanahan and the 49ers’ quarterback situation.
Garoppolo isn’t surprised by its up-and-down beginning. Shanahan and the 49ers knew exactly what was coming. They knew that for every great play, there would be one embarrassing one. Garoppolo’s skills set would severely limit their offense. Shanahan isn’t keen for Lance to start yet, even though Lance has a high ceiling.
He has been insistent since camp began that Garoppolo will be the starting quarterback . This stance has not wavered and the play under center isn’t bad enough to warrant thinking about a change. Shanahan even expressed his satisfaction with the performance of his quarterback this season.
“I thought Jimmy did a great job tonight,” Shanahan stated after Sunday’s defeat to Green Bay. He was allowed to go way too soon. It was a play-action screen. When he turned around it looked like 97. He tried to get rid it but it was still in his face.
Now Garoppolo’s inconsistent play could be a problem if the 49ers drop four or five games in succession, but there is no reason to believe Garoppolo will string together enough poor performances to lose that many games. He hasn’t done it yet which is why he’s still here.
There’s no reason for us to think he will play consistently like he did against Green Bay. Although he is far from perfect, he can still play at a high level which is why he has so many wins.
Such are the ups and downs, loops twists and turns that the Garoppolo roller coaster offers.
Consistency is the issue more than his ceiling or the limited passing offense. They moved up to No. 3 because of their consistency on the field, and his availability. To take Lance, they drafted number 3 in the draft. They didn’t want Garoppolo to be replaced this year. If things go his way defensively, he can win the Super Bowl. Lance is a great backup for the starter in case he is unable to play. He will be a great backup in the event of an emergency.
The 49ers, for all their offensive shortcomings the last two weeks, are probably going to be in contention as long as Garoppolo is healthy which is why he’s not going anywhere this season – even if it does mean scuffling through a game against the Eagles and then needing a furious rally only to lose in the waning seconds to the Packers.
The 49ers were able to identify the Garoppolo rollercoaster when they started it. They won’t get off the first steep drop, because there’s more. It is the nature of his play, and it has been throughout his time in the Bay Area. It’s not optimal, and San Francisco will likely move away Garoppolo after 2021.. But they’re fine with suboptimal this year if it means optimizing the astronomical talent waiting in the wings.