Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports


Jimmy Garoppolo gets vote of confidence from 49ers legend Patrick Willis

Feb 19, 2021 at 1:09 PM--


Patrick Willis hasn't lost faith in Jimmy Garoppolo's ability to be the long-term answer at quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, assuming the seventh-year signal-caller can stay healthy and get more help from the defense.

Willis weighed in on Garoppolo and other subjects in an interview conducted with Fox News that was published Friday. The 49ers legend reportedly said he thinks his former team should keep Garoppolo in the starting quarterback spot and that Garoppolo will have success if two key conditions are met.

"I think they've seen him at his best," Willis is quoted as saying. "Now if they go get him that defense, that same type of defense they had when they went to the Super Bowl and he can stay somewhat healthy, then yes, obviously they can win with him."

Garoppolo has been the subject of a wide amount of speculation this offseason after a 2020 showing that saw him limited to six games due to ankle issues, which was the second time in three years he's had the majority of a season wiped out due to injury. Garoppolo's high-priced contract, injury history, and occasional on-field inconsistencies have led some fans and media members to think the time is right for the 49ers to search for a different solution at quarterback.

RELATED Patrick Willis: 49ers can return to glory by focusing on defense this offseason

49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch told reporters at the end of the season that they envision Garoppolo as the team's starting quarterback in 2021, but that did nothing to stop the speculation and reports that the team might be interested in exploring other options. Willis seemed to wonder if the chatter could eventually have an adverse impact on Garoppolo mentally.

"I personally went through that a little bit myself having some injuries, but I was still able to somehow find a way to perform and be productive, and with Jimmy, I feel that, yes, he's had some injuries, but I feel like at this moment … I feel like it could be tough. Part of him is probably like, I'm here but I'm not seeing my coaches necessarily come out and say like they did a couple of years ago, 'this is our guy.'"

The 49ers will almost certainly add help at the quarterback position this offseason due to the impending free agent statuses of backups Nick Mullens (restricted free agent) and C.J. Beathard (unrestricted free agent), along with the fact that Mullens is coming off elbow surgery. But whether or not the team decides to make any moves that could affect the status of Garoppolo remains to be seen. More should be known when free agency and the draft process begin to kick into high gear in March and April.

And as for the defense, the 49ers have some questions they need to answer on that side of the ball as well. But if defensive end Nick Bosa can fully rebound from a season-ending ACL injury and the team can use free agency and the draft to plug a few holes in the secondary and elsewhere, things will be off to a good start for that portion of Willis' equation.





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