Skip to main content

49ers Officially Validated for Rolling With Jimmy Garoppolo as 2021 Starter

With the 49ers officially in the playoffs, Kyle Shanahan has validated himself for rolling Jimmy Garoppolo as the 2021 starter.

The 49ers are playoff bound.

It wasn't accomplished in the prettiest fashions, but style points isn't what matters.

So long as the 49ers made it to the dance, no one would bat an eye as to how they got there. But one thing that should be examined was the plan for the 2021 season. When the 49ers drafted Trey Lance, Kyle Shanahan was adamant that Lance was just for the future. 2021 was going to be his last ride with Jimmy Garoppolo as the starter.

That was a decision that I, along with other critics, pushed back on. My reasoning was so that the 49ers could avoid burning a precious year off of Lance's cost-controlled rookie contract. 2021 could have been used to kickstart his development, while also vying for a playoff berth. The disparity between Garoppolo and Lance isn't that wide at all, so Lance starting would have made sense as he would've improved. 

However, Shanahan and the 49ers stuck to their guns as Garoppolo "gives them the best chance to win." Well, after clinching a playoff berth in the season finale against the Rams, the plan worked. 

The 49ers are officially validated for rolling with Garoppolo as the 2021 starter.

Read More

From the very moment the 49ers beat the Rams to make the playoffs, the decision to run it with Garoppolo became the right decision. Had the 49ers lost to the Rams and missed the playoffs, 2021 would have easily been a MASSIVE failure. It would have been a wasted season since they started a quarterback who has no future with the team and didn't allow Lance to play. 

In fact, I was ready to go all in on the slander with Shanahan and the 49ers once they were down 17-0. They looked dead to rights in that game with no hope of winning. A talking point following a loss was certainly going to be revolved around the decision to roll with Garoppolo as the season long starter.

But now that they have made the playoffs, their reasoning becomes justified. 

Garoppolo starting this season was all so the 49ers could make the playoffs. Shanahan did not want to wait to allow Lance to develop when he believes the 49ers can make a run at the playoffs immediately with Garoppolo. And as much as I think the 49ers still could've had a shot at the playoffs with a developing Lance, it isn't a guarantee either. 

Garoppolo was the safest bet to make the playoffs for the 49ers because Shanahan knows how to call plays and gameplan around him. He already knows what he has with him, whereas it is a learning process with Lance for Shanahan. It isn't just Lance having to learn, Shanahan himself has to learn how to tinker his play calling with Lance to make it an optimal system for him. So 2021 was locked in for Shanahan. Anything long-term for him did not register for him as he was all in for this season.

It is why the 49ers HAD to start an injured Garoppolo against the Rams. That has been their plan all season long that they will ride and die with Garoppolo so long as he's healthy enough to play. And with the 49ers bound for Dallas this Sunday against the Cowboys, they can feel comfortable knowing that they were right to run it back with Garoppolo one final time.