Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Thanksgiving Thanks: 49ers GM John Lynch grateful for Jimmy Garoppolo

Nov 23, 2022 at 11:08 AM--

With Thanksgiving tomorrow, it's time to reflect on everything you are thankful for. For San Francisco 49ers general manager John Lynch, that is quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo.

Garoppolo entered the season as Trey Lance's backup. No one even expected him to be on the roster come Week 1. However, offseason shoulder surgery plummeted his trade value, and the 49ers eventually opted to hold onto their veteran quarterback—at a reduced cost, of course. The two sides agreed to a restructured contract, Garoppolo remained, and he stepped back into the starting role after Lance suffered a season-ending ankle injury during Week 2.

If not for Garoppolo, rookie Brock Purdy, the final selection in this year's draft, might have had to step into the starting role after Lance went down. Owning a roster stacked with talent and ready to make a playoff run, the 49ers probably feel better about having Garoppolo, an experienced quarterback who is very familiar with the offense, under center.

"I think in a week of Thanksgiving, I'm extremely thankful for him and for the way he's always handled things, from the time that we traded for him (in 2017) to right now," Lynch told KNBR's Markus Boucher and Marcus Thompson this morning. "Yeah, there were a lot of twists and turns. Thank goodness that we saw fit to reach out to Jimmy, and that Jimmy really liked it here, and kind of put his pride aside and said, 'OK, let's do this. I'll stay in a backup capacity,' at the beginning of the year."

Over the past three games, Garoppolo has completed 73.2 percent of his passes for 703 yards, six touchdowns, no interceptions, and a passer rating of 123.2. His 104.1 passer rating this season is his highest with the 49ers and ranks fourth in the NFL in 2022.

When Lance went down, the 49ers knew their season wasn't over. After all, Garoppolo has helped guide the team to two NFC title games and a Super Bowl.

"I think Jimmy's got a lot of confidence in his abilities and thought that at some point this year, he was going to have an opportunity," Lynch continued. "And he got that when Trey got hurt, and he hasn't looked back. He had a stretch right when he got here (in 2017) that was pretty darn good, where he was lights-out, but I think [this is his] best period of extended play. And you're seeing it in all facets of his play—his poise in the pocket, his command of our offense.

"The part I love is he's making a lot of second-reaction plays where the play is extended. He's making plays. You saw the one to Kittle the other day where he stepped up in the pocket, found him behind the coverage."

That play gave the 49ers a 14-3 lead on the way to a 38-10 rout of the Arizona Cardinals at Estadio Azteca in Mexico City.

"We saw one last week versus the Chargers where he extended the play, rolled to his right, and hit Ray-Ray [McCloud]," Lynch continued.

"So I think you're seeing that element of his play, and it looks to me like a guy—we've always known he's extremely talented—but just very comfortable in his own skin, feeling his abilities, trusting his teammates, and as a result, playing really, really good football. We're very grateful for him, and it's awesome to have him."

You can listen to the entire conversation with Lynch below.

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