• Garoppolo didn’t do much to assuage concerns in Monday night’s preseason game against the Broncos, going 1-of-6 for 0 yards and one interception. Sure, it’s meaningless football, but aren’t you still the slightest bit nervous about the San Francisco QB?
By Conor Orr
August 20, 2019

If you’re the kind of person who came into Monday night’s Broncos-49ers tilt, the final game of the second week of preseason matchups, with an overwhelmingly negative opinion on Jimmy Garoppolo, his wince-inducing, 1-of-6 for 0 yards and one interception performance was a cudgel you can wield for the remainder of the offseason.

In his first game back since tearing his ACL in Week 3 last season, each of Garoppolo’s first four passes were either swatted, intercepted or both—which resulted in a 0.0 QB rating. The only completion was a limp screen pass deep in the 49ers’ own territory. This came just a few days after Garoppolo was picked five times in a row during practice.

I’m not there yet. There is a special wing of the hot take institution for people who make declarative statements based on the hollow, vanilla-light football that is the preseason, which is used mostly as a situational learning tool for young players. That, and Denver’s second-year EDGE Bradley Chubb was demolishing everything in his path Monday. Despite a week of joint practices, it seems like no one figured out how to block him.  

This was Garoppolo’s first game action since Sept. 23, 2018 and, in case you missed it, Kyle Shanahan peppered ESPN sideline reporter Lisa Salters with a whole suitcase full of excuses during the halftime walk and talk, from the play-calling to all of the other accoutrements of the moment. He’s probably right about most of it.

The interesting thing is how much differently the 49ers, widely seen as an on-the-verge franchise, appear if the problems continue. If Garoppolo is less than the top-10 quarterback he’s projected to be financially, then the entire theory behind their targeted aggression in the draft and free agency starts to wobble a bit. After Garoppolo’s starlit run as Tom Brady’s backup and the 5-0 rumble to the end of his first season in San Francisco, the entire idea that he would be anything but capable of taking this team to the playoffs seemed ridiculous. The beginning of the 2018 season, before his knee injury, chipped away at that just slightly.

If nothing else, we can leave Monday’s game knowing that there is still so much we don’t know about an almost-28-year-old with 10 career starts. And, depending on what kind of person you are, that’s either fine, exciting or, yes, just a little bit concerning.

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