Don't Hit The Panic Button On Jimmy Garoppolo Just Yet
In the aftermath of the 49ers losing their season opener to Arizona on Sunday, one thing is certain: their fans need to take a few minutes and breathe.
Everybody take a big breath in. Now hold it.
The season is not over and no, they don’t need to start thinking about when to start Nick Mullens. The team is going to be fine and Jimmy Garoppolo will be fine as well.
While Garoppolo’s performance yesterday was not good, it was far from his worst game as the 49ers quarterback. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that yesterday was his best performance in a season opener during his time in San Francisco. That’s not saying too much though. He had set the bar pretty low.
Remember Minnesota in 2018 when he finished with a completion percentage under 50 and threw three interceptions including a pick-six?
How about last year in Tampa Bay when he cost the 49ers points with a redzone interception? Sure, they ended up winning that game, but the defense scoring 14 points on pick sixes by Akhello Witherspoon and Richard Sherman went a long way toward that final outcome.
A few weeks back I wrote that there were three key areas that Garoppolo would need to improve on this season to make himself a top-ten quarterback in the NFL: decision making, throws outside the numbers and deep ball accuracy. We were able to see some slight improvement yesterday in terms of decision making. It was the first time since his start with New England back in 2016 that Garoppolo was able to finish the season opener without throwing an interception. Unfortunately, it was the deep ball accuracy and throws outside the numbers that spoiled big-play opportunities to Dante Pettis and Kendrick Borne. The Bourne miss would have been the game-winner. And don’t forget, Bourne and Pettis are at best the third- and fourth-best wide receivers out of a pretty thin and inexperienced group.
If the past tells us anything, and it almost always does, Garoppolo and the 49ers will be much better next week against the New York Jets. Garoppolo has not lost in three career Week 2 starts and has a combined stat line of 43-77 for 734 yards with 8 touchdowns and 1 interception, plus a quarterback rating of 117.56.