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Could Jimmy Garoppolo Be More Than Trey Lance’s Backup?

Jimmy Garoppolo #10 of the San Francisco 49ers walks off the field after being defeated by the Los Angeles Rams in the NFC Championship Game at SoFi Stadium on January 30, 2022 in Inglewood, California. The Rams defeated the 49ers 20-17.
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

 

Ever since the San Francisco 49ers officially made Trey Lance their starting quarterback last month, they have made it clear that they’re fully invested in him being their QB1 moving forward.

After lots of speculation on what would happen with former QB1 Jimmy Garoppolo, it was announced that he would be staying in the Bay this season on a restructured contract.

This gives the 49ers an incredible backup QB, not to mention a wonderful insurance plan in case things go south with Lance.

But rumor has it that isn’t the only reason coach Kyle Shanahan and owner Jed York decided to keep Garoppolo around.

“This is a hedge, plain and simple,” Michael Silver of the San Francisco Chronicle wrote about the Garoppolo deal. “And the reason the 49ers are hedging is because they’re worried that Lance, for all his promise, won’t be good enough to get their built-to-win-now team to its only acceptable destination — Glendale, Ariz., next February 12, with York hoisting the franchise’s sixth Lombardi Trophy.”

 

For All His Potential, Lance Does Need A Safety Net

There is every chance Lance will become the NFL’s next great QB, but the realities of being a young signal-caller in this league are evident.

No one has ever fully matured without some growing pains, and Lance will assuredly go through his own at some point.

Besides a bad game here and there, he could have a stretch where he plays ugly football and loses some confidence.

If that happens, Shanahan could go back to Garoppolo under center, at least for a little while, until Lance works out his issues.

If that’s what happens at some point, the 49ers will still be in good hands.

Perhaps Garoppolo isn’t capable of taking his team all the way to a world championship as a starter, but he has proven he can get his team in position to at least have a chance.

Under his guidance, San Francisco has been to the NFC Championship Game twice in the last three years, and he took it to Super Bowl LIV in the winter of 2020.

Garoppolo will at least keep the team afloat should something bad happen to Lance this season, and his 98.9 career passer rating should inspire confidence in the team’s fan base should that scenario play out.

 

Lance Showed Some Potential During The Preseason

While Lance may not have set the football world on fire during his two preseason games this month, he did show a good amount of good, solid play.

In the first contest, which came against the Green Bay Packers, he played two series and went 4-of-5 for 92 yards while throwing a long bomb to rookie wide receiver Danny Gray for a touchdown on his last pass.

Before that, he also showed his great mobility when he escaped from a collapsing pocket and ran for seven yards, sliding just short of a first down.

Last Thursday, he took the field versus the Houston Texans, and although he looked somewhat lackluster according to the eye test, he finished 7-of-11.

Lance did not throw a single interception in either contest, something that had been a concern for him, especially during a couple of intrasquad scrimmages.

To this point, he has a lack of game experience, as he threw only 318 passes at North Dakota State University and 71 in the NFL (plus 57 in the preseason the last two years).

It will take some time for Lance to become whatever he will become, but once he gets there, 49ers fans may be happy or even thrilled with the full-fledged version of him.




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