Check out my video breakdown of Jimmy Garoppolo.
Here are the Cliff’s Notes:
- Intermediate accuracy over the middle. Garoppolo demonstrates excellent arm strength, timing and accuracy when throwing 10 to 20 yards downfield between the numbers, especially on in-breaking routes. These throws are more difficult than they seem. Lots of quarterbacks struggle to throw a pass in stride to a receiver who’s running an in-route — the pass either sails high or behind the receiver. Garoppolo doesn’t have this issue.
- Accuracy throwing quick passes, especially to the left. Many quarterbacks struggle throwing left. Colin Kaepernick always did. He never opened his hips far enough. So when he’d plant to throw, his arm would have to fight his lead leg just to get the ball toward the left sideline. Garoppolo doesn’t fight his lead leg. He opens his his and throws beautiful passes to the left flat.
- Accuracy rolling out. Garoppolo can throw accurate passes while rolling right or left.
- Off-platform throws. When Garoppolo faces pressure in the pocket, he doesn’t have to set his feet to throw an accurate pass. He can move and make snap throws from many different arm angles and throwing “platforms,” as coaches say.
- Patience, poise and discipline when setting up to throw. Garoppolo tends to throw off platform even when he doesn’t have to, even when there is no pressure. This is just sloppy footwork. He strides sideways, does a skip step, opens his hips, straightens his lead leg and throws with just his upper body. This leads to inaccuracy and the incorrect release point, as he leaves his arm behind and misses high and to the right. Bad habit. Tom Brady almost never throws off platform — he slides, resets his feet and throws with the proper passing posture. Garoppolo almost surely didn’t pick up this bad habit from Brady. Perhaps Garoppolo wants to be more like Aaron Rodgers, who throws off platform all the time. But, Garoppolo doesn’t have Rodgers’ arm talent. No one does. Garoppolo should focus on playing more like Brady.
- Progressions/locating the second receiver. Garoppolo often locks onto the first read in his progression, especially in the red zone. He waits for his primary receiver to get open instead of anticipating where to throw. This is partially why he took six sacks in the red zone in three games last season.
- Intermediate accuracy outside the numbers. Garoppolo’s intermediate passes often sink and die when he throws them near the sideline. These passes are longer than intermediate throws over the middle and require elite arm strength Garoppolo doesn’t quite have.
- Deep accuracy. Garoppolo tends to wildly miss these passes, usually because he throws them off platform and uses nothing but his arm and wrist.
- Judgment. Garoppolo makes lots of rookie decisions, from throwing the ball into triple coverage, to holding onto the ball when he should pass it, to taking monster hits when he should run out of bounds. This is the most concerning weakness of Garoppolo’s game. He needs to protect himself when he scrambles, or else he won’t last.