Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

Cosell likes 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo’s aggressive play, even if it sometimes come with mistakes

Nov 21, 2019 at 10:14 AM--

Jimmy Garoppolo had a career outing on Sunday when the San Francisco 49ers hosted the Arizona Cardinals and improved to 9-1. The quarterback completed over 75 percent of his passes for a career-high 424 yards with four touchdowns and a passer rating of 115.4.

Of course, naysayers will be quick to point to his two interceptions in the 36-26 win, the last of which could have proved costly had the 49ers actually lost the game. That was a possibility if not for some end-of-game heroics from Garoppolo and running back Jeff Wilson, Jr.

As Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle pointed out this week, Garoppolo has thrown at least one interception in eight of his 10 games and owns the NFL's fifth-highest interception percentage (3.2). Of course, Garoppolo also has a strong defense backing him up and helping to offset some of those mistakes.

Winning covers up some of the team flaws that might otherwise be bigger storylines if not for the 49ers owning the NFC's best record.

ESPN's NFL Matchup analyst, Greg Cosell, who joined KNBR on Wednesday, doesn't sound too concerned about Garoppolo's errors in judgment. He points to the often-forgotten fact that the quarterback still doesn't have much playing experience despite this being his sixth season in the league.

A lot has also fallen on Garoppolo's shoulders over the past few games. He averaged 27 pass attempts and 29.3 dropbacks in the 49ers' first seven games of the season. San Francisco's run-game struggles have seemingly changed that.

"Because they've been unable to run the ball in the last three games with any efficiency, he's averaging over 45 (46.3 per Pro Football Focus) dropbacks per game in the last three games," Cosell said on the "Tolbert, Krueger and Brooks" show. "And I don't think that's ultimately what Kyle Shanahan wants, but I think the games have played out that way. And I think, for the most part, Garoppolo has played well."

Cosell acknowledges Garoppolo's mistakes and poor decisions, using one of the interceptions against the Cardinals as an example. The quarterback this week discussed his thought process after making a costly mistake like that.

"You kind of assess the situation as it was and kind of try and move on as quickly as possible," Garoppolo told reporters. "Take it for what it is. You made a mistake or a bad throw, whatever it was, and just move on."

Cosell sees Garoppolo's ability to hang in the pocket with pressure around him, a trait that head coach Kyle Shanahan has repeatedly said is essential in his offense, and his ability to make plays on late-down throws as one reason the 49ers offense has been able to overcome mistakes.

"And he may be a quarterback — because I think he's aggressive by nature — that maybe throws a few more picks than you like," Cosell continued while noting Garoppolo's lack of experience.

Added Cosell: "You hope with experience, he just kind of works through that himself. But you like the aggression. You like his ability to turn it loose, particularly versus man coverage, and give his receivers an opportunity."

You can listen to the entire conversation with Cosell below.

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