Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Cynthia Frelund discusses an underrated aspect of 49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo’s play this season

Sep 18, 2019 at 8:00 AM--

NFL Media's analytics expert, Cynthia Frelund, was high on Jimmy Garoppolo entering the regular season, predicting the San Francisco 49ers quarterback would throw for over 4,100 yards with 26 touchdowns and 11 interceptions in 2019. Of course, she also predicted the 49ers would end up 8-8. It would be interesting to hear if San Francisco's 2-0 start has changed that projection.

Frelund joined KNBR on Tuesday and shared one of the more underrated aspects of Garoppolo's game through two games this season.

"The thing that's interesting about Jimmy Garoppolo that he's kind of underrated good at is he's keeping his team getting first downs," Frelund told Greg Papa and John Lund. "That is a really key component when the game is still within reach. The ability to earn first downs, right now, he's tracking at quarterback number six for me in that.

"Again, it is a tiny sample size. It is two games, but that is still really, really important. That's something that's an underrated important factor. Can you create a first down when the game is still within reach?"

Frelund acknowledges that when you are blowing out a team, as the 49ers did to the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday, the quarterback's efficiency will be different because a defense's play will change compared to a tight game where a single play might determine the outcome.

While there is a limited sample size, Frelund also noted how much better the 49ers' defensive pressure percentage is through two games compared to last season. The team worked hard to upgrade its pass rush this offseason with the additions of edge defenders Dee Ford and Nick Bosa.

"Obviously, it's not quite fair to do apples to apples because it's not the same O-lines they're facing, not the same set of circumstances, but its almost double," Frelund said. "And obviously, it's only two games, but that's a lot more. It's significantly higher."

Frelund also briefly commented on the loss of starting left tackle Joe Staley, who is out six to eight weeks with a broken fibula. She called the absence of the veteran offensive lineman "a huge loss."

You can listen to the entire conversation with Frelund below.

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