Jimmy Garoppolo: 4 questions 49ers QB must answer over rest of 2021

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) /
1 of 4
Jimmy Garoppolo, San Francisco 49ers
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (10) Mandatory Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports /

Jimmy Garoppolo might be seeing his starting time with the 49ers coming to a close sooner than expected, meaning there are some key questions to address.

There’s a good chance the San Francisco 49ers‘ Week 10 prime-time matchup with the Los Angeles Rams on Monday Night Football marks the last time quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo gets a start in a Niners uniform.

San Francisco, 3-5 and a clear underdog against the highly potent 7-2 Rams, is quickly watching its hopes for a postseason berth slip away. And with each passing loss, the need for the 49ers to focus less on winning this season and more on what happens in 2022 becomes exponentially greater.

Garoppolo knows this. Especially as a lame-duck quarterback, who’ll eventually turn over the reins to the hot-shot rookie, Trey Lance. Maybe sooner than later.

If Garoppolo plays poorly on Monday night, the Niners lose, or a combination of both, head coach Kyle Shanahan might be prompted to make the decision he’s largely tried to avoid over the nine weeks leading up to this game: starting Lance… for good.

Right there, though, is just the first question Garoppolo has to answer in what could be the final chapter of his San Francisco tenure.

Question No. 4: How long can Jimmy Garoppolo fend off Trey Lance

Despite the 49ers’ ugly 31-17 Week 9 loss at home to the Arizona Cardinals, Garoppolo played relatively well, even including his late fourth-quarter interception that ultimately didn’t have an impact on the game’s outcome anyway.

Going 28-of-40 and completing 70 percent of his passes for 326 yards and two passing touchdowns, combined with a solid effort in Week 8 on the road against the Chicago Bears, marks the best two-game stretch Jimmy G has had in a while.

If anything, those combined efforts surely helped convince Shanahan not to let Lance start just yet.

The problem, though, is the Niners aren’t capable of pulling the proverbial load elsewhere, and Garoppolo isn’t the kind of quarterback who can shoulder his team anyway, particularly in light of struggles and shortcomings elsewhere on the roster.

A dominant outing against the Rams, even if it results in a loss, probably puts off the inevitable switch for at least another week.

Garoppolo, naturally, wants to keep that up as long as possible.