49ers season rests with the health of Jimmy Garoppolo

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (10) during an NFL football game against the Los Angeles Rams in Santa Clara, Calif., Monday, Oct. 3, 2022. (AP Photo/Godofredo A. Vásquez)

The 49ers season flashed before their eyes Sunday afternoon.

On San Francisco’s first possession of the second half Jimmy Garoppolo was flushed out of the pocket. The quarterback ran out to his right and fired a pass to Brandon Aiyuk. Just after the ball left his hand Garoppolo was struck on his left knee by Saints defensive lineman Malcom Roach.

Garoppolo grabbed at his left knee, the same knee which he injured in 2018, the pain visible on the quarterback’s face. After a moment he stood up and limped to the huddle and went on to finish the remainder of the game.

Let’s face it. If Jimmy Garoppolo goes down at any point this season for an extended period San Francisco’s hope of winning the Super Bowl vanishes.

There has been speculation that Trey Lance might be able to return from a broken ankle and resume practice at some point this season.

It’s not out the realm of possibility.

Teams are allowed to bring a maximum of eight players off injured reserve in a season. San Francisco has so far used up six of those.

While getting Lance back onto the practice field would be beneficial to his long-term development, I don’t believe it changes the outlook for the Niners if they were to lose Garoppolo.

San Francisco went into this season expecting growing pains with their new starting quarterback. The expectation was they had enough talent throughout the roster to manage their way through any early rough patches and Lance would improve as the season went along.

Instead, Lance went out after only five quarters and has only recently begun throwing and running.

Throwing a second-year quarterback with only three starts and has missed over three months of practice into the fire for a playoff game is not a recipe for success.

The only other alternative for San Francisco is Brock Purdy. Taken with the last pick of this year’s draft, Purdy has taken just 18 snaps. The rookie completed four of nine passes for 66 yards and an interception.

San Francisco has made two playoff runs in recent years with Garoppolo. The Niners reached the Super Bowl in 2019 and the NFC Championship game last year.

The 49ers winning formula remains the same, play complementary football and limit mistakes. Garoppolo has shown an improvement in the latter. For the first time in his career the veteran quarterback has not thrown an interception in four consecutive games.

Perhaps that improvement will be enough to help the franchise win its first Lombardi Trophy since 1994.

This article has 41 Comments

  1. Any chance of playoff success begins and ends with the OL. They need to do a much better job than they did last week keeping JG upright. If they run and pass block like they did last week , against any of the quality opponents they have left on their schedule JG will not make it to the playoffs. On top of that JG is a bit on the brittle side to begin with.

  2. Agree that Jimmy is our only chance and that Purdy is terribly inexperienced, but like Coach, I worry about the OL. I have for 7 months now. I also worry about the dearth of healthy RB’s. We don’t get into the SB this year as Philly (or Dallas) does. Can we just make the playoffs? Not sure.

  3. Sadly, Armstead is too expensive to keep next year. We will be lucky to have him back PT this year. He has contributed almost nothing this year.

    1. Allie,
      I really don’t understand how the cap works when you cut a player but I believe that cutting him will cost the team quite a bit. I think cap wise they need to keep him through the 2023 season.

      1. $21M dead cap hit. His cap hit is $24M. So it makes very little sense to cut him next year. Besides, tripping over being injured for part of the season is pointless. That’s football. Armstead is fine when he’s healthy.

  4. Jack,
    At this point I would trust Lance’ return over Kinlaw’ for this season.
    Save an open spot for Lance.

  5. With all that is invested in this team, this year, the fact that our back-up QB is a 7th round rookie, makes no sense..the knock on Jimmy was his durability and they needed to “upgrade” the QB room. Once Lance went down, I am shocked they didn’t make a move for a veteran back up..This frightens me… I mean even the QB back up room with Mullens and Beathard would be considered an upgrade over what we have…just surprised..

    1. agree. It is odd. I like Purdy but not as a primary or only backup. I would have loved to have had dalton as our backup. He is reasonably solid and played well last week.

      1. Spilled milk. Who was available to come to the Niners after Lance went down? Also, the Niners are pretty high on Purdy as evidenced by the fact that they were willing to flush $2m to make Purdy the back up.

        1. Back in week three they could have traded for an experienced back up. It wouldn’t have been too expensive; like a 5th or 6th round pick. I could be wrong but I think back then they were very tighter with the salary cap before they had restructured some contracts to make room. So maybe that limited them more back then with who they could sign and/or trade for.

          1. And who would that person be?

            John Wolford was a 3rd stringer with some similar scheme experience on the Rams. Jet’s current starter Mike White was the 3rd stringer….the Jets run a cousin to the 49er’s offense. Or how about Colts 3rd string QB Nick Foles?

        2. Felix,
          I agree, there weren’t to many F/A QBs to chose from.
          Not sure if any of these F/A QBs have signed with a team but here is list dating back to last Summer.
          Cam Newton, Mike Glennon, Garrett Gilbert, Carson Strong, Matt Barkley and A. J. McCarron.
          Not exactly inspiring.

          Keeping JG has proven to be one of the best moves the FO has made.

    2. Actually, the 49ers did get a pretty good backup by the name of Jimmy Garoppolo.
      The only difference is they signed him late in training camp.
      I would contend that things have worked well for both the 49ers and JG.

      Now, if Jimmy goes down by injury, we bring in Purdy who is essentially the backup to backup.

  6. Looking forward to the game Sunday I’m predicting a win. Miami has a very good offense but we have a very good defense and both of their offensive tackles are injured. If they play, they will be limited and if they don’t, they’ll play less talented back ups. Could be a good day for Bosa and not so good for Tua.
    On the offensive side we’ll be playing against an average defense whose weakness in the short passing game which is our strength. I think we’ll score 30 points and I don’t think Miami will score that many against our defense. But who knows, that’s why they play the game.

    1. It depends on how Jimmy’s knee is doing. If his mobility is not fully functional it could become an issue especially if the South Bay gets rain. If Garoppolo doesn’t look right to the point he is limiting the offense, I see Shanahan taking him out.

      1. AES
        9er QB Jimmy Garoppolo (knee), who KS said was “sore” from a big hit that resulted in a roughing the passer call on Sunday, WAS A FULL PARTICIPANT AT PRICE.
        NOTE: JG was NOT wearing a knee brace at practice.

  7. There should be no, none ,nada, zilch consideration given to bringing Trey Lance off IR onto the active roster. He’s the future. Let him heal with the expectation he’s the 2023 Day 1 starter. From a QB perspective, this is Jimmy’s year. BUT the success of this team rests on improved play from the O-line. You have CMC, George Kittle, Deebo Samuel, and Brandon Aiyuk on offense. That is one of the best skill position groupings in the NFL even with an average or slightly above average QB distributing the ball. Even with that loaded lineup, the 49ers only managed 13 points on 3.3 YPC last week against the Saints. For the 49ers heavy play action pass offense to work effectively, the 49ers must be able to run the ball. This o-line must improve right now, starting this week. This team will only go as far as this o-line takes them.

  8. Kind of surprising that the 49ers haven’t signed an experienced back up QB. I mean I like Purdy and I think he’d be fine filling in for a few series here and there….. all but I don’t think he’s ready to fill in as a starter. They have Jacob Eason on the practice squad but he’s got all of 3 years of experience and not much in Shanahan’s offense (an absolute cannon for an arm though). Would have been nice if they could have held on to Sudfeld….but that wasn’t going to happen when Garoppolo became the back up. The only street free agent with any experience with Shanahan’s offense is Josh Rosen…..but apparently they prefer a less experienced Eason on the practice squad over Rosen.

    1. This one is a headscratcher for me. When Lance went down early in the season and most likely done for the year, you would think that we will put a more experienced QB behind JG since we are in a superbowl run season. And I will say this even if JG does not have history of injuries. God forbid, JG gets injured, and we lost in the playoff coz we have a 6th round rookie QB, all blame will be on KS and Lynch! We have plenty of time to acquire a veteran QB since Lance went down very early in the season. It is remarkable for KS to have this confident with a rookie QB given the situation.

        1. Dude, pay attention; didn’t you read my comment? Rosen spent a good part of the season with the 49ers. Plus he has starting experience (bad starting experience) with the Cardinals. I find it interesting that the Niners stuck with an inexperienced big armed Eason over the more experienced Rosen. ROSEN IS AVAILABLE EVEN NOW.

          1. I read that but it was beyond my wildest imagination that you would consider him better than Purdy. The guys terrible which is why he’s available. Are you serious? He never played in a game for the Niners.

            1. I don’t consider Rosen to be much better or worse than Purdy. Purdy was kept because he has a little upside. I consider Rosen experienced….which is a valuable commodity if you have to play a 3rd string QB. So emergency 3rd string starter or backup for Purdy. You’re not going to find a QB that started a game for the 49ers. There’s like 3 of them in the league that aren’t on the 49ers (Beathard, Mullens and Hoyer). So if that’s what you’re asking for….you’re asking for the absurdly impossible, those guys are all signed and locked in as back ups for their teams. Sudfeld never started for the 49ers but he looks to be entrenched as Goff’s backup with the Lions. But I would keep Rosen over Eason on the practice squad (and I like Eason as a developmental prospect much better than Rosen).

              1. The problem with Rosen is he’s a head case. He is athletically very talented but is not coachable. A lot of teams have given him a try and all quickly give up. He’s extremely full of himself as his college coach has said.

            2. you’re blowing things way out of proportion….as these things do on the internet. Mora didn’t like that Rosen asked a lot of questions. Mora even later tried to clarify his comments:

              “I don’t understand why people ever took that as a criticism,” Mora said of his own comments Wednesday while visiting Bickley & Marotta on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station.

              “It was about as positive as a thing you could say. People would question Josh’s commitment to football, and I’m like, ‘no, no, no, no, no, no. His commitment is 100 percent.’ That’s why he asked why. If he didn’t care, he wouldn’t ask why. He wants to know so he can do it to the best of his ability.”

              1. I think Mora was trying to send a message to Rosen and then changed his mind. You’re free to believe what ever you want to but the evidence is overwhelming. He has great athletic ability and is said to be very smart yet after many tries with different teams he can’t catch on, but maybe you’re correct and the half dozen teams who have tried are wrong. He didn’t catch on with Niners last time so I highly doubt they would want to try again.

              2. but the evidence is overwhelming.

                What evidence other than internet speculation? Don’t confuse that with “evidence”.
                I’m not sure what you’re getting at. What’s your standard for a 4th string QB? You don’t think he’s a better option than Eason? Possibly better (in the short term) than Purdy.

              3. Well apparently Shanahan doesn’t think he’s a better option than Eason either. Coming out of UCLA it was stated that he had the best physical tools since Elway but at the same time it was said that he was disliked by his teammates and many thought he didn’t love football. I had high hopes when the Niners signed him but again it didn’t work out. Whatever the real reason is, he’s not NFL material.
                This discussion started because you thought the Niners should have signed an experienced QB but Rosen sure as heck isn’t it.

              4. it was said that he was disliked by his teammates and many thought he didn’t love football.

                This kind of crap annoys me. My 80 year mother old does the same thing….”IT was said” “THEY said”….no specifics, no sources….just generic internet group think. I gave my opinion about Rosen’s reputation and backed it up with his college coach’s specific comments on the matter. But you’re choosing to irrationally continue to believe generic internet chatter.

                This discussion started because you thought the Niners should have signed an experienced QB but Rosen sure as heck isn’t it.

                Rosen has been in the league for 3+ years. Rosen has 16 starts. Rosen was on the 49ers active roster for 1 month in 2020 and the 2021 mini-camp, training camp and a pre-season game or two. Show me another available QB with more relevant experience?

                You’re confusing being a good quarterback with being an experienced quarterback and the best solution among the bottom of the barrel.

              5. Pick whatever reason you want. The results are the same. No team likes him as an NFL quarterback. Such a waste of talent but that’s life.
                By the way it was Peter who reported he was unliked by his teammates not some random poster.

  9. Jack
    Why all the “CONCERN” about JG knee, when the injuries that will impact the game are?

    * Miami. LT Terron Armstead is out with a pectoral injury and he’ll be replaced by Brandon Shell.
    * In 58 pass blocking snaps at LT this year, Shell has allowed 12 pressures, 8 hurries and 4 QB hits.
    * Shells overall pass blocking grade this year is 43.2 (60.0 is average), and in 2 stints at LT he’s posted pass blocking grades of 15.2 and 15.5
    * Bosa is tied for the NFL lead with 55 pressures, and 11.5 sacks after posting at least 1.0 in 5 consecutive games.
    Bosa could collect 2 (or more) sacks and several hurries that lead 9er INT’s.

    * Right tackle, Austin Jackson will likely be out with an ankle injury and he’ll be replaced by Greg Little.
    Little replacing Jackson will be good for the 9ers and Ebukam, but bad for Tua and Miami offense.

    * Miami is currently a four-point underdog for this game. They’re also underdogs on the money line, as their victory is set at +170. The over/under for the contest is 46.5 points.
    * 9ers 24 Miami 17

    1. Terron Armstead practiced today but is doubtful. Remember Tua is a left-handed QB so he will be facing the LT when dropping back to pass. The blindside tackle in this case is the RT, I believe is Austin Jackson and he is out.

      1. undercenter
        It’s possible I’m missing your point? Correct me if I’m wrong, but Bosa will move from LDE to RDE and back to LDE. Bosa can beat Little (Jackson replacement), or Shell and sack Tua…..Ebukam should also get a sack. Either way, it should be a long day for Tua?

        1. GEEP
          Wasn’t really trying to make a point just giving information. Correct they will move Bosa all over the place. Hopefully it is a long day for Tua.

  10. Per 49ersWebzone
    Shanahan speaking on a Lance return this session.
    “He’s still going through his rehab,” Shanahan said on KNBR. “That would be too soon for him, so that’s pretty out of the question.”

    Well, that settles it for me in regards to Lance. Looks like Kinlaw will be back and my guess is Mitchell will be back if we go deep in the playoffs.


    * Good news: “Everything’s full speed. I feel great,” McCaffrey said after practicing on a limited basis. “Luckily, I might have dodged a bullet.”

    * Bad news: Trent Williams has Back Spasms and is Questionable for Sunday against the Dolphins.
    If Williams is unable to play, backup Colton McKivitz is likely to get the starting assignment.
    * WR Deebo Samuel (quadriceps) is also listed as questionable for Sunday’s game.

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