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Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Arik Armstead says Jimmy Garoppolo criticism unfair, is ‘expecting great things’ from Trey Lance

Jun 21, 2022 at 11:38 AM--

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The biggest San Francisco 49ers-related storyline heading into the offseason was the quarterback situation. The team looked to transition from its starter of the past four-and-a-half seasons, Jimmy Garoppolo, to second-year quarterback Trey Lance, last year's No. 3 overall pick.

Deebo Samuel stole many of the offseason headlines after requesting to be traded. Still, the quarterback situation remains one of the more significant storylines heading into the 2022 season.

San Francisco expected to trade Garoppolo in March, before the start of the new league year. However, Garoppolo undergoing offseason shoulder surgery halted all talks with other teams. Now, the market has seemingly dried up, so it will be interesting to see what the 49ers do as training camp nears and Garoppolo remains on the roster.

Garoppolo himself is a polarizing figure among the Niner fanbase. Many are ready to move on and have been critical of the veteran quarterback's performance on the field. Others, remembering what things were like before Garoppolo's arrival, are grateful for the return of a winning culture.

49ers defensive lineman Arik Armstead joined the Jim Rome Show on Tuesday and was asked about Garoppolo. Why does the 30-year-old quarterback shoulder so much blame for the team's inability to win a championship in recent years?

"I think we've been close to the top of the mountain sometimes," Armstead told Rome. "I feel that, obviously, when you don't win the Super Bowl, then people start pointing fingers and questioning why. Sometimes it's really not too many reasons. Not everyone can win each year. ... The quarterback position is obviously important, so he becomes the number one prime suspect of why we can't get over the hump.

"Is it fair? I would say, 'No, not fair.' I think Jimmy's a great quarterback, and like I said, I was part of a lot of losing seasons before he joined our team, and he brought a sense of a new refound energy at that position to help us win. I think he's obviously proven he's a phenomenal quarterback and can win games."

While Armstead has a lot of confidence in Garoppolo as his quarterback, it sounds like he has the same confidence in the potential of Garoppolo's successor—Lance. The 22-year-old quarterback has been a hot offseason topic himself, with speculation surrounding his readiness to take over head coach Kyle Shanahan's offense all over the place.

"I'm really excited [about Lance]," Armstead shared. "I love what I saw out of him in OTAs, even if it was a lot of 7-on-7. Only time will tell, but I think he has the right demeanor. He has an extremely high ceiling and an amazing skill set to be successful. I think he goes about things the right way. And I think when you have that combination, it usually turns into a [premium] player.

"I'm expecting great things from him. I'm excited to see what he's going to do, but he's not alone when he takes the field. Our team is very talented, and it's not just 'The Trey Lance Show.' He's surrounded by a lot of talented, great players, and we're all going to go out there and do what we can to help us win games. It's not just going to be on his shoulders."

You can listen to the entire conversation with Armstead below.

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