Jimmy Garoppolo: 4-week progress report for 49ers quarterback

Jimmy Garoppolo #10 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Jimmy Garoppolo #10 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /
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Jimmy Garoppolo, San Francisco 49ers
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (10) Mandatory Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports /

A quarter of the way through 2021, 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo has shown a few plusses and a number of minuses, and he might not start again.

There’s a possibility San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo has made his last meaningful start in a Niners uniform.

This, after Garoppolo suffered a calf injury during the team’s Week 4 home loss to the Seattle Seahawks, which forced him out at halftime and opened up the door for the No. 3 overall pick from this year’s NFL Draft, Trey Lance, to take over for the final two quarters.

Granted, Garoppolo’s prognosis and chances for starting in Week 5 aren’t yet clear. Lance had his moments in relief but still showed the signs of being an awfully raw rookie.

Still, head coach Kyle Shanahan might be in a position to proverbially “rip off the bandaid” with Lance starting from this point onward.

If Garoppolo returns to his starting duties, however, it’ll be important to evaluate how he’s looked over the course of four games with San Francisco hitting the first-quarter mark of the regular season.

There’s some good, but there’s also a lot that’s failed to meet standards. Let’s take a look in this three-tier progress report focusing on the following criteria:

  • Passing accuracy
  • Game management
  • Performance metrics

Jimmy Garoppolo passing accuracy progress report

For the statheads out there, Garoppolo’s 66.1 completion percentage this year is right in line with his career average of 67.3. Not much to take away there.

But Garoppolo has long since been bailed out by his receivers, often having to rely on receivers making in-stride adjustments, such as wide receiver Deebo Samuel’s 79-yard catch-and-run touchdown back in Week 1:

In the books, it goes down as a completion and touchdown. But it wasn’t a good throw to lead Samuel in stride, and a better defensive play by the Detroit Lions could have resulted in an interception.

There have been plenty of other wide throws, high throws and behind-the-receiver throws.

True, Garoppolo has tossed just two interceptions this year, and his 1.7 interception percentage in 2021 is notably down from his career mark of 2.6. But according to Pro Football Focus, Garoppolo has seven turnover-worthy plays made this season, which is tied for fifth most among qualifying quarterbacks.

From that assessment, Garoppolo might simply be a bit luckier in the turnover and accuracy department this year compared to previous campaigns.

49ers Progress Report Grade: C