It’s time 49ers release the quarterback platoon with Jimmy Garoppolo, Trey Lance

Jimmy Garoppolo #10 and Trey Lance #5 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Jimmy Garoppolo #10 and Trey Lance #5 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /

9-7. 42. Fox. Sunday, Jan. 9. 12-4. 51. Rams -4. 4:25 p.m. ET

The 49ers must realistically win against the Rams to seal a spot in the playoffs, utilizing both Jimmy Garoppolo and Trey Lance gives them the best chance to do so. 

The equation is very simple for the San Francisco 49ers, and they can be summed up in four small words that certain teams face every season.

“Win and you’re in.”

If the Niners beat the Los Angeles Rams in Week 18, a team they know they can beat this season but is still nonetheless a playoff-caliber team, then they enter the playoffs no matter what.

Lose, and San Francisco has to pray the Atlanta Falcons have somehow snuck an upset win against the New Orleans Saints to keep the Saints out of the postseason dance.

The top question on the mind of 49ers fans in this game is who takes the helm at quarterback between Trey Lance and Jimmy Garoppolo. Whether or not Garoppolo can take the starting role back with an injured thumb is currently the biggest uncertainty surrounding the game.

The other is, even if he is able to throw the ball, should Garoppolo be given the starting role back.

There’s a debate that rages on with Niners fans about the pair. Garoppolo supporters believe his experience gives the best chance to win and make the playoffs, while fans of Lance believe his physical abilities and his performance against the Houston Texans make him the logical choice.

But what if the answer is to use both?

Why 49ers should deploy QB platoon with Jimmy Garoppolo and Trey Lance vs. Rams

The 49ers flirted with a platoon system earlier in the season before abandoning it (which was surprising as it had a little bit of success), but with Lance maturing as the season has gone on, it may be time to bring it back.

Both QBs have advantages over the other. Garoppolo is more experienced and has more games under head coach Kyle Shanahan’s offense than Lance, and Garoppolo has a proven track record against Los Angeles and has better chemistry with tight end George Kittle than Lance does at this point.

Lance is obviously a better runner and a much better deep passer of the ball, which adds an extra dimension for the offense. His youthful vigor is something the Niners feed off of, and he certainly showed a lot of development between his two starts, albeit versus a mediocre Texans team.

Read More: 4 challenges Trey Lance will face vs. Rams (if 49ers start him)

Why not combine the attributes while helping to hide the more negative traits of the quarterbacks?

Garoppolo’s deficiencies are obvious, so Lance can help kickstart the offense when it’s stalled, while the team can use Garoppolo’s experience to ensure Lance doesn’t have to take on a tough Rams defense on his own.

Platoon systems are obviously rare to non-existent in this era of football, it doesn’t make sense to do it in most cases.

The 49ers are a special exception in this case.

If Garoppolo can play, it shouldn’t be a matter of who should start but how to combine their abilities to help benefit the Niners most. This will be Lance’s team soon, but it doesn’t mean Garoppolo can’t help San Francisco at least one more time.

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