Since the moment San Francisco used three first-round draft picks to acquire Trey Lance, there have been cries from some of the fan base to move on from Jimmy Garoppolo.
It’s hard to blame those who wanted a change to be made as soon as possible. A move like that brings excitement, and like a child on Christmas, people want to see how the shiny new toy works.
When the team fell to 3-5 halfway through the season, the noise to move on from Garoppolo only grew louder from outside the 49ers organization.
Instead of making a switch, Kyle Shanahan stuck with Garoppolo, and the 49ers won seven of their last nine games to reach the playoffs for only the second time since 2013.
So, what did everybody miss about Jimmy Garoppolo?
“When you watch the tape, I didn’t think Jimmy was playing that bad. I thought as a team there were a number of things we weren’t doing well,” said Shanahan.
“We still thought Jimmy was giving us the best chance, and we wanted to give Trey more time. Not just for him, but also for our team.”
Two of the qualities Kyle Shanahan likes about Garoppolo are his ability to make plays in tough situations and rebound from mistakes.
Jimmy Garoppolo has led nine game-winning drives during his time with the 49ers, and a number of key scores late in the first half. Garoppolo did both on Sunday against Los Angeles to help San Francisco come out victorious.
What are the factors that go into Garoppolo thriving in those situations?
“I think he’s a real good quarterback. The way he can throw it, how quick he can get rid of it despite protection. He’s made good decisions,” said Shanahan.
“When you’re in those situations, that’s when pass rushes tee off. So that’s when they become real hard. And sometimes you block them well, sometimes you don’t and when you don’t, if you get sacked, usually the drive is over.”
Throughout his time in San Francisco, Garoppolo has shown the uncanny ability to rebound from a turnover and lead the offense to a score.
What is it that Shanahan sees in his quarterback that triggers him to rebound on the next drive?
“When you let that ball rip and you’re not scared of failing, it doesn’t always go perfect,” said Shanahan.
“You watch a lot of good quarterbacks in this league, and some do a really good job of never having picks, which is rare, but you even look at some of the great ones, they’re going to get some interceptions because they’re aggressive with it.
“It could help keep both teams in it, but usually they get you over the hump if you keep swinging, and that’s how Jimmy’s been. Sometimes it’s better than others, but when you throw the ball like that and you’re not afraid to fail, sometimes stuff happens.”