The San Francisco 49ers went under a lot of scrutinies during this past off-season. Controversy circled around quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo and when he would be moving from the bay area. Theories ranged from being sent to the Giants, a rare in-division trade to the Seattle Seahawks, or even outright cutting the signal caller.
Ultimately, the 49ers chose to keep him. An answer none of us saw as a possibility. The decision was again, scrutinized. Why keep an average NFL starter on your roster when you’re trying to see what you have in second-year quarterback Trey Lance? The debates ensued as Garoppolo returned to team practices with Lance comfortably as the starter. They opened the year 0-1 losing in a monsoon to the lowly Chicago Bears.
Aiming to rebound in week 2 against the Seahawks, things quickly got derailed. Trey Lance went down after taking a nasty leg injury on a designed run. He was quickly carted off the field, and out came Jimmy G.
He performed well, giving the 49ers their first win of the year over a division rival. Garoppolo passed for 154 yards and a score. Handing off the ball to Jeff Wilson Jr and taking the easy throws. Just as he did the last time we saw him.
This decision to keep Garoppolo has proved to be one of the wisest decisions in recent memory. Now that Lance is out for the remainder of the year, the 49ers aren’t necessarily cooked. They have an established quarterback to go back to who knows just as much if not more than the guy they were starting.
The 49ers are comfortably above water after losing their quarterback of the future. They have a signal caller who just took this squad to the NFC Championship Game last season. The 31-year-old veteran is in a prime position to take the 49ers right into the playoff picture. It’s not like they’re any worse from last season. This team is still star-studded on offense with all-pro wide receiver Deebo Samuel, superstar tight end George Kittle, and a deep running back stable.
Now are the 49ers suddenly Super Bowl champions with Jimmy Garoppolo under center? Probably not. They still have a gauntlet of a division to run through. As well as a tight NFC playoff picture to fit into. But one thing is for sure with Garoppolo, they’re not dead. They’re still very much in the playoff picture.
What was once considered a classic case of asset mismanagement by the John Lynch-Kyle Shanahan regime, now might just be one of the best decisions of this past off-season. Now instead of an unpredictable backup trying to keep this team afloat, they now have somebody who’s proven that he can do it for them.
The 49ers can look ahead to having Jimmy Garoppolo in the starting lineup next week when they take on the inconsistent Denver Broncos on Sunday Night Football. Take a deep breath Niner Nation. Sure, Lance going down is a terrible situation for your young quarterback. But you’re not done yet.
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