Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports


George Kittle explains why 49ers are fortunate to still have Jimmy Garoppolo

Sep 24, 2022 at 9:26 AM--


The San Francisco 49ers feel fortunate right now. After spending all offseason trying to get rid of Jimmy Garoppolo and not finding a trade partner, the team signed the quarterback to a restructured one-year deal to serve as Trey Lance's backup. The Niners likely hoped a trade partner would emerge later in the season—a destination Garoppolo would have approved, voiding his no-trade clause.

San Francisco getting stuck with Garoppolo turned out to be a blessing. Lance broke his ankle five quarters into the season and was lost for the season.

Enter Garoppolo; the one-time castoff turned savior.

It's like 2021 again. The veteran quarterback received all the practice reps this week and will make his first start of the season on Sunday night against the Denver Broncos.

How was practice this week with Garoppolo back as QB1?

"Couldn't really tell a difference since last year," tight end George Kittle said on Friday. "We're very fortunate to have Jimmy, especially after just that horrific injury [to Trey Lance]. Just someone that wasn't new to the team, knew the guys and the strengths, knows how to run our offense, not confused by all the long play calls on those wristbands that are wild. So, very beneficial for us. It was just a good energy this whole week."

The locker-room attitude might not have been as positive had the 49ers managed to trade Garoppolo. The championship hopes remain. Without Garoppolo, it's very likely the offense would have been in the hands of rookie Brock Purdy.

The 49ers tight end was asked about that hypothetical. How would the energy have been different without Garoppolo?

"I think it definitely would have been different," Kittle responded. "I don't think the game plan would look the way that it [does]. I think it would be much smaller and not nearly as creative, with all the things that we're used to doing.

"Nothing against Brock Purdy or anything like that, but being a rookie quarterback in the NFL is pretty difficult. So having a guy who's quarterbacked this offense since [the second] half of 2017 has been pretty helpful."



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