49ers depth chart: 3 reasons Jimmy Garoppolo must be Week 1 starter

Jimmy Garoppolo #10 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Jimmy Garoppolo #10 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /
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Jimmy Garoppolo, Trey Lance, San Francisco 49ers
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Trey Lance (5) and quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (10) Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports /

The 49ers have a good, tough situation: start Trey Lance or Jimmy Garoppolo right away in 2021. But evidence suggests Jimmy G should be the guy.

Walking out of the press box at Levi’s Stadium on Saturday night following the San Francisco 49ers‘ 19-16 preseason loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, I was convinced of two things.

The Niners have a phenom quarterback in the making, Trey Lance.

The other thing? Lance isn’t quite ready for full-time duties at the NFL level.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying Lance is developing slowly or that the veteran who’ll likely start the regular season anyway, Jimmy Garoppolo, was and always will be the answer to all of San Francisco’s quarterbacking problems.

If anything, it’s the contrary. Lance has closed the gap from being a promising-yet-inexperienced No. 3 overall NFL Draft pick to potentially starting much quicker than anyone could have realistically hoped.

Garoppolo is on borrowed time, and Lance will replace him sooner than later. Both quarterbacks know it. Head coach Kyle Shanahan knows it. The rest of the NFL knows it, too, and so do the fans.

Still, the 49ers aren’t in a rush to push Garoppolo out the door. If they were, they would have been far more active in trying to move him. At worst, in order to get out from under his lucrative cap hit for this season and beyond, the Niners could have simply released him.

But they haven’t. Judging previously from Shanahan’s comments earlier this offseason, Jimmy G is still the unquestioned starter. And while Lance had his share of jaw-dropping moments last Saturday, he’s not quite ready to take over the job of QB1.

Here are three specific reasons why.