Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Rival coach on 49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo: ‘I don’t know why people have a hard time giving him props’

Jul 27, 2020 at 8:45 AM--

Hot on the heels of Pro Football Focus' latest tiered quarterback rankings comes Mike Sando's via The Athletic. While the former broke the NFL's passers into four tiers, the latter further breaks them down into five.

Sando's ranking — his seventh — is based on responses from 50 NFL coaches and evaluators. Two quarterbacks earned unanimous Tier 1 selections, but for the first time within this specific ranking, their names aren't Aaron Rodgers or Tom Brady. Patrick Mahomes of the Kansas City Chiefs and Russell Wilson of the Seattle Seahawks are now the top vote-getters, tying for the No. 1 spot.

As was the case in Pro Football Focus' rankings, San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo fell into Tier 3. Sando notes that winning is the No. 1 goal in the NFL, and the 49ers passer has proven he can do that. The writer notes that head coach Kyle Shanahan's underutilization of Garoppolo in the playoffs undoubtedly impacted voters' evaluations.

"Garoppolo had a good season," one rival NFC West coach told Sando. "I don't know why people have a hard time giving him props. I think he is what he is and it's OK. Not everybody is Aaron Rodgers. We haven't given out a bunch of ones this year. Can he strap it on his back and win it if he has to? I don't know if he is that, either. They had such a dynamic run game, he kind of hid in behind that. I think he's a three and he's gotta prove it. Last year was his first full year of doing it. That is a good start."

Many feel Garoppolo needs a strong supporting cast around him to be successful, and he isn't necessarily a quarterback who can carry a team on his shoulders, like those found in Tier 1.

"He's good, not great," one NFL executive said. "He does some good things with a good cast. You worry about the deep ball, the consistent accuracy, but he's not bad. Just when you think he is going to be a two, he does something and you are like, 'Damn.' Even in the playoff game against Minnesota, he wasn't very good. He got lucky a few times and they just ran the ball, played good defense."

A veteran offensive coordinator compared Garoppolo to Kirk Cousins, the Minnesota Vikings quarterback whom Shanahan for so long coveted. Another head coach felt Garoppolo is doing something right because he helped put his team in a position to reach the Super Bowl.

"When he gets going, he is not bad," that coach added. "You can kind of tell what the coach is thinking with some of his calls."

Garoppolo finished the 2019 regular season having passed for 3,978 yards with 27 touchdowns compared to 13 interceptions. He completed nearly 70 percent of his passes in his first full season as a starter.

"My [message] to Jimmy is that you're just getting started," Shanahan recently said of his quarterback. "Last year was your first year playing quarterback for a whole season. You never had longer than a [five]-game stretch. Last year, you got 16, and look how good you did. Look how far we got. And, oh my God, we almost got all the way."

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