Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Jones-Drew: Why the rest of the NFC is nervous about the 49ers led by Jimmy Garoppolo

Sep 18, 2022 at 10:37 PM--

No one wants to see a player go down with an injury. The San Francisco 49ers were heartbroken when their second-year quarterback, last year's No. 3 overall pick, suffered a broken ankle during the first quarter of Sunday's 27-7 victory over the Seattle Seahawks. Trey Lance will undergo surgery on Monday.

The good news is that the quarterback who led the team to the NFC title game in two of the last three seasons is still on the roster, ready to see if he can create the same type of magic this season before hitting free agency in 2023.

NFL analyst Maurice Jones-Drew believes Jimmy Garoppolo returning to the lineup likely has the rest of the NFC more worried. No one, including the 49ers, really knew what they had in Lance. Everyone was still trying to figure that out. The potential was high, but the experience was minimal. While this setback halts Lance's development, San Francisco now looks very much like that roster—if not better—that did a lot of damage in last season's playoffs.

Are the 49ers still a Super Bowl contender with Garoppolo replacing Lance?

"Yes," Jones-Drew responded. "And I think everyone in the NFC is nervous about this. With Trey Lance, you were going to see more read-option, as you saw there in the play where he got hurt. Kind of a quarterback read. They were going to experiment there a little bit, still trying to figure out their offense with him.

"But with Jimmy G, you know your offense. You know what's going on. You know that you're going to run the ball, play-action pass. You're going to see the check downs. You're going to see the Deebo Samuel quick screens. You're going to see what you saw last year, which ran them all the way to the NFC Championship Game.

"I think the NFC needs to be careful here with this situation because all of a sudden, the Niners are back rolling again. We didn't really know what they were with Trey Lance. Now, they have an identity. They know who they are. They know their game plan. They know where they want to go with it. And this is going to be scary because, defensively, they're playing really well right now."

Next up will be a road game against the Denver Broncos. After that, San Francisco will return home to face another division rival on Monday, October 3—the Los Angeles Rams. In a wide-open NFC, the 49ers could be a headache for opposing teams.

Jones-Drew added, "At the very end of the day, man, this is very scary for the NFC, [the 49ers] having Jimmy Garoppolo."


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