SF 49ers: 4 questions Jimmy Garoppolo must answer if he returns
By Peter Panacy
No. 2: Can SF 49ers get Jimmy Garoppolo to execute down the field?
Kyle Shanahan’s West Coast-hybrid offense isn’t predicated on SF 49ers quarterbacks always tossing deep passes, rather crossing patterns in the intermediate areas of the field, which in turn help set up the occasional deep pass when opposing defenses begin to commit closer to the line of scrimmage.
Jimmy Garoppolo isn’t known for having a cannon of an arm. He tends to thrive much more between the numbers and within 20 yards downfield, as the Next Gen Stats passing chart from 2020 indicates:
Diving deeper into Next Gen Stats’ numbers, Garoppolo’s average intended air yards was a mere 6.2, next to lowest and just above Washington Football Team’s Alex Smith (5.0). Getting a deeper sample size, Garoppolo’s 2019 number for this category was only 6.5, third lowest in the league and over the course of a full 16-game slate.
Simply put, Garoppolo doesn’t take much advantage of tosses deep down the field, instead relying on his receivers to pick up extra yards after the catch.
That can be beneficial, true. But in order for Shanahan’s offense to truly reach its peak, Jimmy G will need to push his efforts down the field on a much more frequent basis.
Now, the question is whether or not he’ll be capable of doing so.