Jimmy G. - Let Him Be or Time to Flee?
The San Francisco 49ers mortgaged part of their future in the 2021 draft, sending the Miami Dolphins a couple of 1st round picks and then some to acquire the 3rd overall selection. The media had people believing that the Niners were going to take Mac Jones with that pick. I never believed San Fran moved up to acquire Mac Jones because, with all due respect, he's not a guy coming out of college that you'd give up that much draft capitol for. I thought it would either be Justin Fields or Trey Lance because of their dynamic play making ability which would seem to correlate with the way the 49ers run their offense under head coach Kyle Shanahan.
So as we now know, the Niners took Trey Lance with the 3rd pick in last years draft. Some called it a risky move because Lance hadn't played organized football in over a year with the exception of one game to display his talents for the 2021 draft. Lance appears to have the total package. He can throw the ball, he can run it, he has intelligence, he's tough and humble amongst other things. These are great attributes for a young quarterback to have. But his limited play against inferior opponents was a red flag for a lot of teams. However, the 49ers saw fit to draft the kid out of North Dakota State University and didn't mind paying to get him.
When San Francisco's General Manger John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan decided to take Trey Lance, the writing was on the wall that Jimmy Garoppolo didn't have much time left by the Bay area. However, Jimmy G. got the starting nod in week 1 on the road against the Lions and came out with a win. They won again the following week in Philadelphia, beating the Eagles, starting the regular season at 2 - 0.
The Niners began an early season downward spiral once they returned home to play Aaron Rodgers and the Packers. Green Bay won that game 30 - 28, which began a 4 game losing streak for the Gold Rush.
Questions and rumors began to swirl around the Niners #3 draft choice asking - when is Trey Lance finally going to get the signal to go under center? Kyle Shanahan sprinkled in a handful of play packages and plays to get his rookie quarterback some real game snaps on the field. Lance did pretty well with his limited opportunities during the first 5 weeks of the season. Including his first and thus far only NFL start coming against the Arizona Cardinals in a 17 - 10 loss. Trey Lance has 3 touchdown passes as well as a rushing TD against 1 interception with a below average 52% completion percentage.
courtesy of NBC Sports
Rookie quarterbacks are going to have their highs and lows and take some bumps and bruises along the way. Trey Lance had been dealing with a knee injury among other minor injuries that kept him on the sideline for quite some time. That hindered coach Shanahan's plan as far as bringing Lance into the fold more and more every week.
I believe the 49ers were possibly getting ready to make that quarterback change when Garapollo was hurt and Lance got in the game. If not for Lance's setback with his own injury he may had taken over the starting job back in October.
Lately Lance has been practicing full go and may get another crack at starting for the 49ers this Sunday when the Houston Texans come to town. Jimmy G. is having some issues with his thumb on his throwing hand and has not been practicing this week. Which means Trey Lance has been taking all the first team reps and if called upon to play he'll be ready to go.
It remains to be seen who will start Sunday against the Texans but the bigger picture question is - when will Lance officially take over as the 49ers starting quarterback? The team moved up in the draft, which came at a high price to get the player they wanted. So will the Niners just stick it out with Garapollo for the duration of the 2021 season or might they turn to Lance this late in the year during the most crucial part of their schedule? Will that question be answered this weekend?
Although Jimmy G. was the starting QB of the NFC champion 49ers in 2019, doesn't mean he's the number one reason San Francisco made it to the Super Bowl that year. The defense was perhaps the biggest reason along with a great running game behind a monster offensive line who controlled the game clock. Garappolo did play well for the majority of the season. However, when push came to shove in the biggest moments, he didn't bring his "A-Game."
It's become clear that Jimmy G. isn't going to lead a team to the Super Bowl by being one of the best players on the field. He simply isn't on any given Sunday. He misses easy passes. He has a tendency to get overconfident and make horrific throws. He can't pass the ball downfield with any significant accuracy. And the bottom line is that Garapollo isn't good enough to make the big, necessary plays consistently enough when the game is on the line. The clarity is that the 49ers are really good and really young and this is their time to make a run.
Jimmy Garapollo's numbers this year are 19 TD's, 10 INT's, almost 3,500 yards passing with a 68% completion percentage. These aren't terrible numbers, but they're not good numbers either. With a lineup like the Niners have the numbers should be much better. Especially in a passing league where you have a top 3 tight end in George Kittle, a freakish beast of a player with Deebo Samuel, second year pro Brandon Aiyuk with his play making abilities and a great run game where play action plays come in handy. The question is can Trey Lance do better and is this now the time to find out?
courtesy of Niner Noise
Trey Lance will become the San Francisco 49ers full time quarterback.....next season. With only two games remaining on the regular season schedule and the playoffs being controlled by their own hands, the Niners have to trust Jimmy G. at this point. Even if Lance goes out Sunday in Santa Clara and has a 300 yard, 3 TD, no interception game.....it still likely won't matter as far as the playoffs are concerned.
We will certainly see Trey Lance get more opportunities as long as the Niners are still playing in the 2021 season. With a healthy Trey Lance, the Niners can use him in various ways on the field to confuse the defense. However, Jimmy G. will remain the Niners starter for the duration of this season, including the playoffs unless of course he gets hurt. And given Garapollo's track record, that is definitely a possibility.
The future of the 49ers is Trey Lance, assuming he lives up to the standards in which the position he was drafted. The Niners selected Lance for a reason. This won't be a Jordan Love story. The 49ers and their faithful are hoping this is a Patrick Mahomes type story. The furute is Lance but the present in Jimmy G.
Please feel free to leave a comment, whether you agree, disagree or simply have your own opinion!