During the offseason, Kyle Shanahan told reporters he was going to mix things up between the veteran starter at quarterback, Jimmy Garoppolo, and the No. 3 overall pick from this year’s NFL Draft, Trey Lance.
Well, perhaps, not so much.
It appeared this would be the case way back in Week 1, as Lance ended up tossing the 49ers’ first touchdown of the year. But ever since Lance’s lone start of his rookie season, Week 5, Shanahan has opted to stick with Garoppolo in spite of the team’s losing record and the need to give Lance more field time to develop him.
Lance essentially has just six quarters of actual experience this year, and that Week 5 game where he went 15-of-29 passing for 192 yards, an interception and 89 yards rushing showed both rawness and sheer potential.
Garoppolo, meanwhile, has been his usual self, both statistically and in terms of his limitations and abilities. His 65.3 completion percentage in 2021 is just a shade below his career average of 67.1, while his 2.3 interception percentage is only moderately better than his career 2.6 average. Same with his 93.5 passer rating, slightly below his 97.9 career mark.
At this point, Garoppolo is who he is. He can manage the game and surely has more experience than Lance, but there’s not a tremendous amount of upside there either.
“Average” seems like a good grade to use here.