Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

49ers still searching for identity, says Jimmy Garoppolo

Rohan Chakravarthi
Nov 12, 2021 at 8:00 AM--

After an offseason filled with uncertainty at the quarterback position, the 49ers have started 3-5 to begin the 2021 NFL season, marking yet another disappointing campaign to date under the Shanahan era.

Jimmy Garoppolo, who has been swirled into trade rumors for what seems like an eternity, has started all but one game this season, only missing San Francisco's Week 5 matchup with the Arizona Cardinals due to his calf strain.

The 30-year-old quarterback was a factor in the 49ers' 2019 Super Bowl run, where the offense had a clear identity that pushed them to a February matchup against the Patrick Mahomes-led Kansas City Chiefs.

Has that identity surfaced this season? According to Garoppolo, the team's still searching for it, with injuries transforming that identity as the season has prolonged.

"I think [developing that identity] just comes naturally. You never want to say this is our identity at the beginning of the year, and we have to stick to it. I think with injuries, as the season progresses, your identity kind of changes with the season, in a way."

Despite the struggles, the starter pointed out where the offense was able to effectively execute the gameplan in route to a win against the Bears, while adding that the team's looking to develop consistency.

"I think we've had some games where our identity is clear-cut. Like [against] Chicago, we ran the ball very well, hit some play-action off of it, and I think we're just trying to find that still."

The loss at Levi's Stadium to the Colt McCoy-led Arizona Cardinals dropped the 49ers to 3-5 on the season, and Monday Night's matchup is nothing to look past. San Francisco faces their division rival Los Angeles Rams, who recently added Odell Beckham Jr. to their already impressive offensive core.

One step towards gaining a team identity could be getting back safety Jimmie Ward, a key defensive leader, who could potentially practice Friday, according to head coach Kyle Shanahan. Ward missed last weekend's matchup with a quad injury that he suffered during San Francisco's Week 8 matchup against the Chicago Bears.

Still, facing an upward battle against the Rams, the 49ers will need to find their identity sooner than later, or this season is going to get more embarrassing than it already has.

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