49ers news: Kyle Shanahan vaguely hints he’ll stick with Jimmy Garoppolo

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (10) Mandatory Credit: Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (10) Mandatory Credit: Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports /

Head coach Kyle Shanahan did his best to dodge a question about whether the 49ers would continue to start Jimmy Garoppolo despite an ugly loss to the Colts.

If the San Francisco 49ers are secretly trying to build up quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo‘s trade value ahead of the 2021 NFL trade deadline on Nov. 2, they’re not doing a great job of it.

And Jimmy G didn’t exactly help himself in Week 7, a waterlogged 30-18 prime-time Sunday Night Football loss to the Indianapolis Colts for all 30 other teams across the league to see.

True, few quarterbacks would have “preferred” to play in such conditions. But when accepting the reality that Garoppolo was cleanly outdueled by Colts quarterback Carson Wentz, who tossed two touchdowns and no interceptions against Garoppolo’s one touchdown and two interceptions Sunday night, it’s hard to see things in a positive light.

At least for those wishing Garoppolo’s value somehow increases.

The chorus for San Francisco to finally make the switch from Garoppolo to the No. 3 overall pick from this year’s NFL Draft, Trey Lance, certainly grew louder in the wake of the 49ers’ fourth consecutive defeat. And while an injured Lance could have done nothing to impact the outcome, being inactive because of a knee injury suffered two weeks before, the thought head coach Kyle Shanahan will now strongly consider making the switch under center has to be getting louder, too, right?

Well, maybe. But not so fast.

Kyle Shanahan still hints 49ers will start Jimmy Garoppolo

A rightfully and understandably dejected Shanahan spoke to reporters after the game, and it’s not surprising the quarterback “competition” between Garoppolo and Lance came up.

Sports Illustrated’s Grant Cohn pressed Shanahan to answer whether or not Garoppolo’s sub-par performance against an Indianapolis defense that was down its starting safety, Julian Blackmon, and a starting cornerback Rock Ya-Sin, should prompt the switch to Lance.

Shanahan’s answer wasn’t conclusive. At all:

“I would guess so,” Shanahan responded when asked if Lance would get the Week 8 start against the Chicago Bears. But then Shanahan deflected a bit by continuing, “I’m going to watch this tape and see if guys are healthy first of all and I know where our guys are at. It was good for Jimmy to get healthy enough to play in this game today.”

Garoppolo made his return after missing the Niners’ Week 5 loss to the Arizona Cardinals with a calf injury, leading to Lance’s first-ever NFL start.

What Kyle Shanahan should have said about Jimmy Garoppolo, Trey Lance

Again, it’s anyone’s guess whether or not San Francisco is serious about trying to move Garoppolo by the trade deadline. But when one considers the multitude of efforts Shanahan and Co. attempted to find a replacement, including trying to land quarterbacks Deshaun Watson, Sam Darnold, Aaron Rodgers, Matthew Stafford and eventually settling on the aggressive trade-up to No. 3 overall for Lance, it’s silly to assume the 49ers are content with Garoppolo long term.

Instead, for much of the season since Lance was drafted, Shanahan has continued to back Garoppolo even though Lance is the clear-cut future.

Related Story: Trey Lance injury reinforces why 49ers need to change

And if there’s been one major mistake Shanahan has made with all of this, it’s been not embracing the current situation as a true quarterback competition.

Because it is.

When pressed about Lance starting Week 8, Shanahan’s answer could have been a simple one that still wouldn’t have thrown Garoppolo or anyone else under the bus. A better answer would have clearly been, “after losing four games in a row, all options are on the table for us to improve.”

Such a statement wouldn’t have indicted Garoppolo as a starter, but it also wouldn’t have been seen as an attempt to deflect the question. If anything, it would finally signify the reality Shanahan has on his hands.

A true quarterback competition. He has that. And he needs to admit it. Week 7 revealed why.

Next. 49ers position grades, analysis from sloppy loss vs. Colts. dark