Jimmy Garoppolo apparently didn’t cost himself the starting job in Week 7 versus the Colts, and Kyle Shanahan named him the starter against the Bears, too.
For those hoping San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan would finally pull the trigger and bench veteran quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo in the wake of him being outdueled by Indianapolis Colts quarterback Carson Wentz amid the rain and wind on Sunday Night Football in Week 7, you’re going to be a little disappointed.
Shanahan might have been vague about Garoppolo’s immediate future during his postgame press conference. On Monday, however, Shanahan confirmed to reporters Jimmy G’s status as the team’s starter was safe.
At least for now.
Here’s what Shanahan had to say in light of Garoppolo’s one-touchdown, three-turnover performance and why it didn’t jeopardize his starting status for Week 8’s road game against the Chicago Bears:
"We didn’t go into that game thinking that Jimmy was one bad game away from losing his job or anything like that. Jimmy didn’t play as good as he could, which he knows that. I know that. Also, I think it was some pretty hard, circumstances for him, for both quarterbacks considering some of the weather. But I definitely thought he could’ve played better, but that was not a game to where, “hey, if Jimmy has one bad game, he’s losing his job.”"
Again, for those hoping rookie quarterback Trey Lance would finally get the nod over a healthy Garoppolo for a change, it’s not happening. Not yet at least.
Are Kyle Shanahan, 49ers making the right call to start Jimmy Garoppolo vs. Bears?
In a vacuum, no.
The Niners are 2-4 and staring way up at an undefeated Arizona Cardinals squad and a 6-1 Los Angeles Rams team within the NFC West. And currently, San Francisco sits in the 11th seed within the conference, which is, well… not good.
2021 is rapidly turning into another one of those forgettable seasons that become more important for identifying problems and building towards fixing them next year and beyond. Considering Garoppolo isn’t part of those long-term plans, getting Lance some developmental time now should take precedence.
Except there’s no vacuum.
Remember, Lance is returning from a knee injury suffered in Week 5’s loss to the Cardinals, and he was a gameday inactive in Week 7. Shanahan also told reporters he was hoping Lance would be able to return from the injury and practice this week, suggesting there’s a chance Lance could see some field time versus Chicago:
"Jimmy, I wanted to see how his calf was, it’s good today and so he’ll be starting. And hopefully Trey will be able to get back into practice and have a good enough week to where he can dress and if Trey’s up dressing then there is always a good chance I’ll get him some plays in there."
On top of that, Shanahan also started to finally commit, at least verbally, to Lance being the future over Garoppolo:
"We know Trey is the future here and we’re trying to get do what’s best for him and for our team. And Trey’s coming off a pretty big injury and we’re going to keep bringing him along and keep getting him prepared as good as he can be to always be ready to come in and help on the plays that we ask him to do. Always be ready to take over if Jimmy gets hurt and being ready to be the future for us too."
Jimmy Garoppolo starting in Week 8 isn’t a long-term solution
Should Shanahan fully be making the switch from Garoppolo to Lance? Absolutely. But there are going to be certain situations where it still makes sense to stick with the veteran.
In this case, this is one of them.
Lance being injured before the Week 6 bye cut into whatever physical preparations he otherwise could have had to prepare for a full-time starter’s role. Already limited with first-team snaps, a mere abbreviated week of practice, likely limited in fashion, wouldn’t be enough time for Lance to adequately handle starting duties on the road in Week 8.
And, if anything, there’s always the chance the 49ers are giving Garoppolo one last shot against his boyhood team to beef up whatever value he might have ahead of the Nov. 2 NFL trade deadline.
That might be a pipe dream, but it’s potentially in the cards.