CBS Sports predicts Jimmy Garoppolo wins 49ers QB battle

Jimmy Garoppolo #10 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Jimmy Garoppolo #10 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /

CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora is on the side of Jimmy Garoppolo winning the 49ers’ battle for the starting quarterback job over Trey Lance.

The San Francisco 49ers‘ competition for the starting quarterback job in 2021 has come down to two camps.

Either you’re on the side the high-profile rookie, Trey Lance, should be thrust into the job right away despite whatever growing pains may arise. Or you’re of the belief head coach Kyle Shanahan should bring along the No. 3 overall NFL Draft pick slowly, letting veteran quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo retain the starting job on what could still be a short leash.

Shanahan has remained elusive about who he thinks should get the job, although there have been plenty of hints throughout training camp and the preseason.

Of course, it’s an entirely different perspective when thinking about what Shanahan should do versus what he will do. And considering the magnitude of this decision, one which could ultimately define the head coach’s career, it makes sense why there’s so much attention on it regardless.

But according to CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora, that decision is already made.

La Canfora: 49ers will go with Jimmy Garoppolo over Trey Lance early on

La Canfora recently broke down the winners of all quarterback competitions currently going on with the 2021 preseason winding down and Week 1 not far away.

His winner for the Niners? Garoppolo.

As far as La Canfora’s rationale, here you go:

"Trey Lance has had incredible highs and low lows, but that ceiling is in a different stratosphere from Jimmy G. Lance will have plays and packages that should allow him to shine as a sidekick early on, but there is no reason why Kyle Shanahan has to make this change in mid-September and he can continue to develop the first-round pick while his $20M veteran displays how he can move this offense with the 49ers more healthy than they were a year ago."

True, some of La Canfora’s takes, predictions and reports over the years have to be taken with a grain of salt. But he does have some merit here.

Lance has taken six sacks over the course of roughly four quarters of exhibition football played thus far, the most out of any rookie quarterback. And while Lance’s three touchdown passes also leads all rookie QBs, it hasn’t been too difficult to observe the No. 3 overall selection is still struggling to recognize pressure and react to blitzes.

Until that’s corrected, defensive coordinators around the league will throw all kinds of extra-man pressure against him.

Kyle Shanahan, 49ers know what they have in Jimmy Garoppolo

Hindsight will eventually say whether or not Shanahan starting Garoppolo in 2021 was the right move, assuming La Canfora is correct here.

If that’s the case, there is some sense to it all.

San Francisco is in a unique position this season. True, the 49ers want to maximize the return on a top-five rookie quarterback, so starting him sooner than later would help accomplish that. But unlike most teams drafting in the top five, the Niners are under pressure to win now. Three 10-loss seasons out of four for Shanahan, regardless of the understandable excuses, could easily be the prime reason why the head coach starts off the year with Garoppolo, who is a known commodity, over Lance, who remains a high-upside work in progress.

Read More: Trey Lance won’t start in Week 1 unless 49ers do this

Lance’s ceiling is clearly higher than that of Jimmy G. That’s not in question. But Shanahan appears likely invested in the idea that a more conservative approach with Garoppolo will end up being safer and more effective early on than the high-risk, high-reward prospects of starting Lance right away this season.

If there’s one thing for certain, though, Shanahan will make the switch as soon as he feels Lance gives San Francisco as equal a shot at winning games as Jimmy G.

Next. 5 Niners who should be in Kyle Shanahan's doghouse. dark