Jimmy Garoppolo is holding onto the ball for too long

Frank Clark #55 of the Kansas City Chiefs tackles Jimmy Garoppolo #10 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Frank Clark #55 of the Kansas City Chiefs tackles Jimmy Garoppolo #10 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /

Jimmy Garoppolo took five sacks during the 49ers’ Week 7 loss to the Chiefs, but they’re not exactly all on the offensive line.

One of the stronger elements of San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo‘s game is his ability to release the ball quickly, not wind up with a long motion to get the ball out just before his intended target is about to go uncovered.

However, having a quick release and actually making the decision to throw the ball are two very different things.

And, seven weeks into the 2022 season, one conclusion is starting to work its way toward the surface.

Garoppolo isn’t getting rid of the ball fast enough.

Granted, when Garoppolo does decide to throw, he’s generally quick about doing so. The problem appears to be getting to the point where he makes that decision. Sometimes, a simple throwaway might be the best way to avoid taking a sack.

Or, at least twice this season, taking a safety in the end zone.

Jimmy Garoppolo held onto the ball too long in 49ers loss to Chiefs

Week 7 provides a perfect case study on why this is a potential problem.

During the Niners’ lopsided loss to the Kansas City Chiefs at Levi’s Stadium, Garoppolo found himself under regular pressure from KC’s pass-rushers, ultimately taking five sacks in the process while being hit eight times.

It’d be easy to pin all five of those sacks on the offensive line and/or others assisting in the pass-blocking department.

But a cold reality is that some of those sacks fall upon Garoppolo himself, a stat Niners Wire’s Kyle Madson pointed out when comparing San Francisco’s quarterback to the Chiefs’ Patrick Mahomes:

Even on that particular safety, when Garoppolo was sacked in the end zone by Kansas City EDGE Frank Clark, that internal clock needed to go off sooner even though Clark badly beat 49ers left tackle Trent Williams on the play:

And, as far as blaming right tackle Mike McGlinchey who arguably had a bad game on Sunday, there’s this to consider, too:

Interestingly enough, Pro Football Focus only flagged the Niners’ pass blockers with two sacks allowed, which essentially means Garoppolo was responsible for three of his own sacks.

The fact he’s not willing to throw the ball away under some of those situations is a bit troubling, and it’s not just a one-game sample size to talk about either.

Read More: 4 hard realities that Jimmy Garoppolo, 49ers taught us in loss to Chiefs

Jimmy Garoppolo doesn’t like to throw the ball away

Garoppolo still has a stat metric that works in his favor when evaluating how long he takes to deliver the ball.

According to Next Gen Stats, Garoppolo’s average time to throw is 2.58 seconds, which is the fifth-fastest time among qualifiers. However, all one needs to do is go through any substantial amount of offensive game tape to realize the bulk of those quick throws come on predetermined reads where Garoppolo doesn’t have to improvise and/or look to his secondary or tertiary reads.

Simply put: Snap, look, throw.

The problem, however, is those first reads aren’t always going to be there. And, at times, there aren’t going to be any available targets. Once Garoppolo is faced with that invisible 2.5-second threshold when an opponent’s pass rush is dangerously close to getting home, he doesn’t like to throw it away.

Perhaps he should.

Also pointed out by Madson, PFF doesn’t have Garoppolo throwing the ball away on any of his 198 dropbacks this season.

Years ago, one of the comments made by the late great John Madden on EA Sports’ Madden Football series had the Hall of Fame coach citing how there are times when an incompletion can actually be a pretty good play.

Perhaps Garoppolo needs to take a page out of that Madden series from time to time.

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