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Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

Simms explains why he’s not yet sold on Jimmy Garoppolo

Sep 13, 2020 at 8:57 AM--

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo has a lot to prove this season. Not necessarily to his teammates or coaches but to his critics within the media. That includes his head coach's buddy, Chris Simms of NBC Sports.

Garoppolo endured much scrutiny this offseason after a fourth-quarter collapse in the Super Bowl eliminated a lead over the Kansas City Chiefs. That followed two playoff performances where head coach Kyle Shanahan relied more on his No. 2 ranked rushing attack than his franchise quarterback. Much more.

"I like Jimmy Garoppolo a lot. There's no doubt about it," Simms recently told Laura Britt of NBC Sports when questioned about ranking the 49ers passer No. 20 this offseason among NFL quarterbacks (h/t to Ali Thanawalla of NBC Sports), "... With Jimmy Garoppolo, I like his talents, certainly, but I do look at a lot of his success that he had last year.

"And again, I'm not trying to take (away) credit for him, but also ... he's got a special play-caller, serving up a lot of plays for him on what I call a silver platter. Like 'Hey Jimmy, if you can just look this way, there's going to be a guy open for a 20-yard gain, all you gotta do is put it somewhere near him.'

"And because of that, maybe do I dock Jimmy Garoppolo for that? Yeah, I think offensive football is made a little bit easier for him than maybe some other quarterbacks. He has the type of talent and ability to be a top-10 quarterback."

The relentless criticisms didn't stop despite and seemed to overlook Garoppolo passing for 3,978 yards with 27 touchdowns, winning 13 games, and a division crown in his first full NFL season as a starter. The passing-yard total ranked fourth all-time in franchise history, behind only two players — Steve Young and Jeff Garcia.

"I think you know what scares me," Simms continued. "What I saw in the playoffs, some other shaky moments during the regular season. I just want to see him take a next step.

"And I guess the thing I need to see is, if the Shanahan tricks and run game aren't working for two or three weeks, can Jimmy Garoppolo carry the squad or be the band-aid at the quarterback position to be like, 'Hey guys, jump on my back. I got it.' And that's where I'm not quite sure, totally sold yet."

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