LOS ANGELES -- The drama continues.
The 49ers still haven't named a starting quarterback for Sunday's season finale against the Los Angeles Rams, but reportedly believe Jimmy Garoppolo has "a good chance or starting or a realistic chance of starting" despite having a torn ligament in his thumb and not practicing fully the past two weeks.
"Officially, Garoppolo is listed as questionable," Rapoport said, "but there are several factors that point me in the direction of believing that he at least will give it a shot and play some football for the 49ers tomorrow. First of all, almost every player who has been listed as questionable for the 49ers has played."
This is a good point that Rapoport brings up. When the 49ers list a player as questionable, that player generally guts it out and plays.
But Garoppolo might be different.
The last time Garoppolo was listed as questionable for a game was Week 4 of 2016 when he was on the Patriots and Tom Brady was suspended, which means Garoppolo was the starter. He injured his shoulder Week 2 of that season, and then missed Week 3 after the Patriots listed him as doubtful.
Week 4, the Patriots listed Garoppolo as questionable for their game against the Bills. He was two weeks removed from his injury, just like now. And he tried to gut it out, just like now. But a few hours before the game, he decided he wasn't healthy enough to play, so he shut himself down, and the Patriots had to start Jacoby Brisett, who wasn't prepared, and they lost 16-0.
So just because the 49ers list Garoppolo as questionable doesn't mean he will decide to play.
Here's how I read things. The 49ers are pushing Garoppolo to play because if he plays and loses, he'll take the blame for the 49ers missing the playoffs. And if he shuts himself down before the game and they lose with Trey Lance, Garoppolo still will take the blame for shutting himself down at the last minute.
The 49ers clearly don't want to choose Lance over Garoppolo and lose, because doing so would be a fireable offense. So they're putting the decision in Garoppolo's hands.
And if he decides to play, that could be disastrous for the 49ers, because he's injured and probably rusty. Twice in his career, he has started a game without practicing fully that week, and he lost both times, threw four intrceptions and posted a quarterback rating of 39.8.
A fully healthy, fully prepared Garoppolo is mediocre at best. An injured, unprepared Garoppolo is an disaster waiting to happen. Starting him would be a mistake.
Fortunately for the 49ers, I still think he will decide not to play.