The last few weeks of the Jimmy Garoppolo soap opera have had my mind spiraling around a few lines from Fight Club.
Narrator: Like everyone else, I had become a slave to the IKEA nesting instinct. If I saw something like clever coffee tables in the shape of a yin and yang, I had to have it.
Tyler: We are consumers. We are the by-products of a lifestyle obsession.
The football world – owners, fans, sports media – is the by-product of a quarterback obsession. Each time someone new and shiny comes to the surface, a rookie with a lightning bolt for an arm or a veteran with the poise of a thousand-year-old marble statute, the world turns to him as the once and future king.
A So-Called Television Expert: This man is how you play quarterback at the professional level! You build offenses and teams around him! He loves America and Jesus by God! Yes sir, the quarterback of the future.
Teams may or may not need a quarterback, but that’s beside the point. The owner, the fan and the media want this quarterback forever branded with their squad’s mark.
The San Francisco 49ers find themselves a by-product of the quarterback obsession, even with absolutely zero proof that Garoppolo is the answer. He’s thrown 94 passes in four years, which is an average of 23.5 per season. Just because he watched film and got a discount on TB12 performance meals for a few years doesn’t give Garoppolo divine quarterbacking skill.
If you need proof, please review Brian Hoyer’s stellar career. He was also a Brady back-up who managed to sneak in 43 pass attempts in between fixing his eye black and picking tomatoes off of Brady’s afternoon salad.
What we do know is the 49ers are not a good football team… yet. They have been able to build upon some small victories – notably a drop in penalties – but they still have one win. There isn’t a prayer, animal sacrifice or a square-jawed, steely-eyed backup from New England that can turn the team around this year.
But, who may benefit if Garoppolo plays this year?
Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch
If you played any level of football, you know there is a multitude of ways to call the same play. What one team may call ‘Ace Right, Trips Left Combo, B-Drag’ is a long way to call another team’s Dagger route combination.
For discussion sake, let’s give Garoppolo the benefit of the doubt and state he can be a competent quarterback for the 49ers and grasps Shanahan’s terminology. He’s a professional, and even with little experience, I’m confident he can hit a deep out route while standing in a chaotic pocket.
What Shanahan doesn’t know is if Garoppolo has what it takes to lead a team through 16 games. Garoppolo hasn’t played in the horrible noise chamber up in Seattle, he hasn’t experienced Levi’s Stadium on a hot September day, and he hasn’t executed a 92-second game-winning drive.
Both Shanahan and general manager John Lynch need to see Garoppolo tested on the field and see his response, since Lynch must be prepare to plan for the looming offseason. We know Lynch must acquire two offensive guards that possess the size of giants but the speed of a hummingbird.
After that? It’s more than likely the 49ers release quarterback Nick Mullins and acquire two additional signal callers. But whether Lynch builds the position through the draft or free agency is the $57 million question.
Both Shanahan and Lynch need to know if Garoppolo is the long-term solution behind center before mapping out the 2018 strategy.
Some sports journalists are very good at keeping themselves away from the trash can filled with whisper campaigns and rumor. These men and women want to cover a team, provide insight and high-quality analysis.
However, nobody likes starting controversy more than the television sporting press. These reporters who find themselves beamed into your home via a space satellite and reorganized on a high-definition plasma screen would rather antagonize football fans than report on fact. The more the broadcast resembles the mutated offspring of the Today Show and TMZ, the better and higher the ratings.
Say Shanahan plays Garoppolo this Sunday for a half… you know, just to see how he looks. And let’s say that Garoppolo plays well, maybe going 11-for-16, 175 yards and led a touchdown drive. Rookie quarterback C.J. Beathard, on the other hand, has another rough outing. He was 8-for-17 for 125 yards and threw an interception to linebacker Bobby Wagner.
I can guarantee you the jackals at ESPN are going to have a ‘quarterback controversy’ story on NFL Primetime before you finish you post-game supper. And for the next week, all we’ll hear about it Beathard’s continued struggle and Garoppolo’s destiny with the 49ers.
Jimmy Garoppolo’s Knees, Shoulders, Brain and Spleen
While I was scratching out the outline for this editorial, my friend Zack sent a text to our group thread. He had no idea the subject I was putting together.
“So I’ll throw my vote in the ring. I say stick with Beathard the rest of the year. Let Jimmy G. just learn, stress-free. Be a sponge, stay healthy. Ain’t nobody got time for a possible future franchise quarterback getting his head taken off because Laken Tomlinson decided to play soft… again.”
I do not doubt that many 49er fans agree with Zack’s statement, even if it makes Beathard sound like nothing more than a tackling dummy imported from the farmlands of our own Midwest.
Indeed, the 49ers offensive line played their best game of the year against the New York Giants. These five mighty men did not allow a sack and paved the way for 186 yards rushing and two touchdowns on the ground.
No sacks, touchdowns, a few hundred yards on the ground and a win. Does this mean the offensive line troubles are over, dude?
Seattle’s defensive line always gives the 49ers trouble, and linebacker Bobby Wagner is no daisy. The 49ers also have the Texas, Jaguars and another bout with the Rams yet to come. This weekend’s game, along with those three are significant tasks for the offensive line. Zack’s statement rings true: Nobody has time for a possible long-term solution at quarterback to suffer a significant injury this late in the season.
At some point, the 49ers have to kick the tires on Garoppolo just to see what they have standing on the bench. I would like to see Garoppolo face the fierce competition from Seattle and the Jaguars, and I’d like to know if he can command an offense. Waiting him out, and not providing him any additional regular season experience may place him behind the eight-ball come next August.