San Francisco’s 2018 campaign went awash as soon as Jimmy Garoppolo suffered his torn ACL in Week 3 against the Chiefs.
From there, the combination of backup quarterbacks C.J. Beathard and Nick Mullens provided only modest results, with Mullens establishing himself at least as a competent reserve option late in the year.
Both will have an equal shot to compete for the 49ers’ backup role this season, the loser looking at an uncertain fate, as Kyle Shanahan probably won’t keep three signal-callers on his 53-man roster.
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Garoppolo’s return should invigorate the Niners offense, as the team has entrusted its future on his shoulders. In late 2017, Garoppolo’s presence helped improve what was previously a lackluster offensive line in pass protection, helped engineer five straight wins (including three games against playoff teams) and generated the hype San Francisco enjoyed heading into 2018.
And that was with a lackluster supporting cast, too.
With the 49ers making numerous upgrades on offense during the offseason, Garoppolo’s presence is poised to be even better in 2019.
It’s not all sunshine and rainbows with Garoppolo, unfortunately.
49ers Webzone’s Rich Madrid broke down the film from Garoppolo’s first three games of 2018 in this thread, and the results weren’t exactly great. Jimmy G forced some bad throws, missed open receivers and had some indecisive moments.
While Garoppolo’s stats weren’t terrible those three games, per se, the film tells a different story. That’s a bit concerning heading into 2019.
A major one is the injury factor, of course. Ideally, Garoppolo is the only quarterback taking meaningful snaps in 2019, with either Mullens or Beathard merely holding the clipboard.
That said, Garoppolo spent nearly the entirety of last year rehabbing his injury and not developing that much-needed chemistry with his offensive weapons. It’s anyone’s guess how much that’ll cut into his productiveness this season, yet it remains something to watch.
Another factor is the fact Garoppolo has a mere 10 pro-level starts under his belt. Despite being 27 years old, he’s still awfully fresh under center.
There are bound to be some growing pains over the course of the year.