Jimmy Garoppolo seems like a changed man.
Not that he is completely different, but there is definitely a spicier and more locked in version of him. Look no further than his press conference following Wednesday's training camp where he dropped multiple expletives.
That isn't "nothing" because Garoppolo gives generic schoolboy answers at his pressers. But even before this presser, he has seemed more locked in. Even at his exit presser at the conclusion of the 2020 season he kept mentioning, "I'm ready to attack this offseason," which I have always believed that is when Kyle Shanahan mentioned to him about exploring new quarterback options. Obviously, what has led him to be more fiery this year is the addition of Trey Lance. Garoppolo knows he is here to take his job and could potentially hurt his role as an NFL starter in general.
It makes sense why Garoppolo is motivated, but it is massively misplaced
Shanahan has cited that Garoppolo has had his best OTA with the 49ers, and even after Day 1 of training camp he looks to be continuing that trend. So you have a more locked in Garoppolo who is backing it up with gameplay. That is a great benefit for the 49ers, but where was this motivation following a devastating Super Bowl loss to the Chiefs?
Every 49ers player was motivated for 2020. Mostly everyone looked strong, or at least those that were able to stay healthy. But Garoppolo never had as much fire in his comments during his press conferences as he does with Lance who is threatening his job. This is where Garoppolo has misplaced his motivation and ultimately led to his own downfall. He is right to feel threatened by Lance and should be motivated, but he is too late to act this way now when the PRIME opportunity to do so was following a crushing loss in the Super Bowl that he was largely at fault for.
Garoppolo in training camp looked terrible-to-average and it showed immediately in Week 1 against the Cardinals. Every game that Garoppolo played in 2020 was abysmal regardless of a 49ers win or loss. Sure, he didn't have much action that season, but it did not change the fact how horrid he look. With Lance in the fold, Garoppolo is receiving adequate praise from Shanahan.
"Just how sharp he was, the rhythm of getting the ball out on time, where it was going," said Shanahan. "Just even if I didn't watch the film, if I just watched his body language, how he talked to people, how he called the play he was very clear. He was very sharp, aggressive in what he did."
Garoppolo is looking better with Lance threatening his role as a starter and potentially the league. Yet, fresh off of a heartbreaking Super Bowl in which he factored heavily in the fourth-quarter collapse, he shows up uninspiring and atrocious in the 2020 season. Comparing Garoppolo's attitude and demeanor last year versus today is totally different, which is a shame. A Super Bowl loss like the 49ers suffered could not propel him forward, but once his job is in jeoprady he is all in. This is why Shanahan will not and should not hand Lance the starting job immediately. He has seen what happens when you gift a quarterback the crown without earning it. Complacency kicks in, so forcing Lance to give it his all and then some benefits his development.
I guess Garoppolo's lack of motivation last year was for the greater good of the 49ers since it allowed them to find his replacement.