There is this panic with 49ers fans that has me confused to the point that I question my own sanity about Jimmy Garoppolo, the now franchise quarterback that upon his arrival in 2017 brought the 49ers up from the dirt rising like a Phoenix.
Did I imagine all of that "prime time" I witnessed year before last?
Or did I really see a brand new QB who didn’t even know some of his own new teammates names, and had to refer to them by labels that he placed on them during the huddles?
Yet that same young quarterback that had been sitting behind one of the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history as his understudy, and backup ended his brief season with 5 starts in 2017, averaged 308 yards passing per game which would have been first among NFL quarterbacks, if he had the playing time necessary to qualify. The same goes for his 8.76 yards per attempt. There was no one better during that stretch of games, no one.
The 49ers during Garoppolo’s 5-0 win streak had the league’s 3rd-ranked offense averaging 410 yards per game.
That has been completely gotten over, by many, and it seems at times that some have blotted that season ending run completely out of their minds as if it never happened. There’s more…
Garoppolo was using rehearsed plays from the Shanahan manual of "How to Destroy a Defense".
Wait it gets better. The picture of success Jimmy Garoppolo was painting on was on an offense that was fronted by an offensive line that had no more strength than balsa wood. Defenders were able to tear through that line as fast as the ball was snapped. Never mind that though, Jimmy G was not going to be denied on most plays. He was getting that ball out so quick that everybody who didn’t know any better thought the line was showing sudden improvement.
I’m not done yet! The running back was Carlos Hyde who has since left the team at the end of the 2017 season. Hyde is on his third team since his exit. Hyde shared time with what was unknown at that time, but a better running back in Matt Breida who didn’t get nearly as many carries as he probably should have.
The receivers consisted of his ace in 2017 Marquise Goodwin, Trent Taylor, and Kendrick Bourne. The now hugely famous George Kittle was showing signs of a star, but nothing like we see now from him. Also Garrett Celek was a major contributor. Kyle Juszczyk was also a big weapon, and that was it.
Jimmy Garoppolo was an add lib master that year which demonstrated his knowledge of the game and his ability to think on the run.
There are those who mistakenly believed that the franchise QB was in regression in the following season of 2018 due to them not fully understanding that it takes a minute to get comfortable enough to go fast in Shanahan’s complex offense.
Interestingly enough as the first few games went along even without his starting running back who went down for the season with a torn ACL, and a new playbook modification due to that injured running back having had several roles, going down Garoppolo was starting to adapt.
Sadly Garoppolo too went down with a season ending ACL tear, and we’ll never know how well he may have finally done in the 2018 season.
Jimmy G left the season leaving a stat line that read a completion of 59.6 percent of his passes. He threw five touchdowns, and three interceptions through three games last season. He was at least 3 touchdowns short of what should have been 8 touchdowns due to end zone drops, or catches missed with nothing but unoccupied lawn in front of the receivers.
I think the offensive demonstrations of Jimmy Garoppolo thus far prove that he can make plenty of things happen on offense, and will be a huge difference maker from last season in 2019.
Kyle Shanahan used rookies and backups at the end of 2017 during the time he was unveiling Jimmy G as no ordinary quarterback. Some of those rookies and backups from two seasons back are matured now, while there have also been some additions to an offense that did well under incredible adversity.
The 49ers offense can use another receiver from the draft for sure, but to believe the offense won’t function if they don’t is pure folly.
Barring any unfortunate incidences in this upcoming season I’m looking forward to that hush that will fall across the 49ers critics community…