Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports


49ers’ Jimmy Garoppolo: The Good, The Bad, & The Gorgeous

Oct 28, 2020 at 10:53 AM


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First off, I need to put this out there: I was strong-armed into inserting the final portion of this article by my wife. Say what you want about Jimmy Garoppolo, his looks have generated countless female fans around the NFL.

The Good:

This guy is a winner, plain and simple. He was 19-7 in his final 2 years at Eastern Illinois while throwing for 84 touchdowns. He was then drafted by the New England Patriots, in the 2nd round of the 2014 NFL Draft, in the middle of their dynasty, and won two Super Bowl rings as Tom Brady's backup. The 49ers traded for him at the 2017 deadline, then four weeks later he became the starter and proceeded to reel off five straight wins to conclude the season. His overall record as a starter is 26-8, which is a .765 win percentage. To put that into perspective, the only QBs with a better win percentage (with a minimum of 30 games started) are Tom Brady (.767), Patrick Mahomes (.791), and Lamar Jackson (.800). Jimmy G just wins, baby.

When evaluating his abilities on the field, it's hard to argue that anyone has a quicker release than Garoppolo. When he was being scouted by NFL talent evaluators during his senior season at Eastern Illinois, Sean Edinger, the team's strength coach, recalls a Jaguars scout commenting that Garoppolo's release was too quick (side note: comments like that make it easy to see why the Jaguars have so much trouble drafting QB talent). A quick release can be a quarterback's best friend in crucial moments like 3rd and 4th downs. The ability to get rid of the ball at a moment's notice gives Garoppolo the advantage to fit the ball into tight areas.

Other key factors to Garoppolo's success are his toughness and leadership. Jimmy has a linebacker's mentality at the QB position and often welcomes contact as a way to get himself into the game. This toughness, combined with his quick release, allows him to hang in the pocket and deliver balls to his playmakers. On top of that, his teammates absolutely love him and can't speak highly enough of his leadership. If there are any questions about team chemistry, simply refer to George Kittle and his plethora of Jimmy G shirts, along with other team leaders like Richard Sherman, Kyle Juszczyk, and Emmanuel Sanders (while already a member of the New Orleans Saints) going to bat for him. Leadership can't be overvalued. No throw 20+ yards down the field can replace that.

The Bad:

Jimmy Garoppolo continues to struggle with throwing the ball down the field with accuracy and placement. 49ers' Twitter collectively celebrated on Sunday as Garoppolo completed his first 20+ yard throw downfield this season, and then immediately expressed frustration as well because the ball wasn't accurately placed and led WR Brandon Aiyuk out of bounds instead of leading him into the end zone. Despite effective deep ball accuracy in previous years (in 2019 he led the NFL in deep passing efficiency, with a league-leading 58.1 completion percentage and 20.3 yards per attempt, seven touchdowns, and a QB rating of 102.6 on long throws), he is currently struggling to reproduce that success and needs to find his rhythm if the 49ers stand any chance of making another Super Bowl run.

Another area where Garoppolo doesn't seem quite as sharp this season is in his overall accuracy. His completion percentage (66.9%) continues to climb after his poor performance against the Cardinals and pitiful showing against the Dolphins, but in film study, it's obvious that even his completed passes are off-target, often slightly behind the intended receiver. Then there are the inexcusable throws, those that are sailing on him, resulting in passes over the intended target, which have led to half of his interceptions. The second interception he threw against New England (the throw to Brandon Aiyuk to end the first half) isn't one that most coaches would be upset by, but it showed, once again, his lack of arm strength and deep accuracy, not even giving his receiver a chance to make a play. Eventually, the 49ers are going to have to push the ball down the field, but the question still remains: can Jimmy do that?

The Gorgeous:

My wife would very much like me to simply say, "Jimmy's chin line," and leave it at that, but it does go a little deeper than just his looks. Being a lifetime fan of the 49ers, I know that there is nothing more beautiful than a 49ers victory. Whether you want to believe it's HC Kyle Shanahan's game plan executed by a game manager or a team unified under determined leadership by its QB1, the 49ers are winning at an impressive rate when Jimmy Garoppolo is on the field.

The 49ers currently lead the league in salary taken up by players on Injured Reserve, and yet the team continues to win and is firmly in contention for another playoff run, which means Garoppolo's chin line isn't the only thing looking good in Santa Clara.
The opinions within this article are those of the writer and, while just as important, are not necessarily those of the site as a whole.


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