Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports


Overall health, not just QB, is the 49ers’ biggest concern

Feb 20, 2021 at 10:40 AM


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If one scoured across the internet and 49ers' social media you would see that quarterback, Jimmy Garoppolo, is the most polarizing and debated topic discussed. Garoppolo has been the starting quarterback since the end of the 2017 season, but missed most of the 2020 season with an injured ankle and was only able to complete two games in 2018 due to a torn ACL.

There are other reasons why people want a change at quarterback, but his health seems to be his biggest concern, which is valid. However, Jimmy Garoppolo and his injuries are a microcosm of the 49ers' major issue: their overall team health.

Garoppolo would be the poster child for this concern as he plays the most important position on the field, but his injuries, along with those to other significant players, derailed the 49ers' 2020 season.

The season was nearly over by the end of Week 2 because of injuries. Dee Ford did not make it past Week 1, and Nick Bosa, Solomon Thomas, and Jimmy Garoppolo sustained serious injuries against the Jets in Week 2.

Bosa and Thomas suffered season-ending ACL tears and Garoppolo sustained an ankle injury that never healed throughout the year. The 49ers did not have much of a chance right out of the gate. Major contributors like Raheem Mostert, Jeff Wilson Jr., Deebo Samuel, Jaquiski Tartt, and Richard Sherman also suffered serious injuries.

Even during a successful 2019 campaign, injuries to many of the team's better players accumulated throughout the season. Joe Staley, Kwon Alexander, Dee Ford, Weston Richburg, Ronald Blair, and Akhello Witherspoon missed significant time during the season. Mike McGlinchey, Kyle Juszczyk, D.J. Jones, Tartt, and George Kittle all missed multiple games on top of that.

There are some who like to label the 49ers' 2019 campaign as the "perfect season." However, the injuries alone tell us that it was anything but, and the 49ers were good and lucky enough to manage a 13-3 record and a Super Bowl appearance.

All that said, the 49ers have an injury problem, and Jimmy Garoppolo is not excluded. Even if the 49ers decide to keep Garoppolo as their starting quarterback in 2021, they would be a top contender in the NFC (health withstanding).

So while a lot of the talk is surrounding faith in Jimmy, the team needs to figure out the best way to keep the whole roster in a healthier state and to ensure there is proper depth at all positions, most notably at quarterback.

The 49ers have made unsuccessful attempts at prioritizing health and preventing injuries over the last couple of years by revamping the strength and conditioning team, while also adopting an analytical approach to player restoration and maintenance, but more is needed.

It is time for the 49ers to further self-evaluate their player acquisition strategy and how that has severely hampered the team and its cap situation. The team has placed some of its largest investments in players like Garoppolo, Dee Ford, Kwon Alexander, Pierre Garçon, Malcolm Smith, Weston Richburg, Nick Bosa, and Richard Sherman.

Out of that short list, three are no longer on the 49ers' roster and missed significant time after signing big contracts with the team (Garçon, Smith, Alexander). Two are currently being looked at as cap casualties who have barely played (Ford, Richburg). Then you have Sherman (FA), Bosa, and the controversial Garoppolo.

The 49ers have been risk tolerant by placing large gambles on assets that could be viewed as volatile. In fact, most of the 49ers' biggest investments have been on players with significant injury pasts. It is no surprise that the injury bug hit again on those players and has spread to others on the 53-man roster.

So while Jimmy Garoppolo takes the most heat, the team needs to do its part by maintaining its roster's health and making smarter acquisitions that do not financially hamper the organization. The 49ers would be a perennial contender if they could get this right, quarterback aside.
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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