Followers, coaches, and gamers know Jimmy Garoppolo.
They know his strengths — those that had been an enormous a part of the Niners’ successes in 2019 and 2021, resulting in a vocal group of followers calling for him to begin earlier than Trey Lance’s damaged ankle.
Additionally they know his weaknesses — the explanations Lance was beginning within the first place.
There’s merely not a lot to be found concerning the 30-year-old quarterback. He’s what he’s. He’s good, however he’s not nice.
But all week, I can’t shake an odd query:
What Jimmy G will the 49ers get for the remainder of this season?
The Niners No. 10 has been, successfully, two quarterbacks since he arrived in San Francisco.
There was the Garoppolo we’ve come to know and anticipate since he signed what was as soon as the NFL’s largest contract within the offseason earlier than the 2018 season.
However what if Garoppolo might return to being the quarterback that arrived in San Francisco halfway by way of the 2017 season?
That Garoppolo was a freewheeler. He didn’t know the playbook — even the simplified one head coach Kyle Shanahan put in for him, so he pushed the ball everywhere in the discipline, together with deep.
That Garoppolo was enjoyable. That Garoppolo introduced the Niners group again to life. The Niners might use that Garoppolo in 2022.
Garoppolo took over the beginning job in 2017 after the starter (then CJ Beathard) was injured in a recreation within the rain towards the Seahawks at Levi’s Stadium.
The Niners gained their closing 5 video games of the season below Garoppolo. He threw for six touchdowns and was intercepted 5 occasions throughout that stretch, however for a crew that was determined for one thing good — something — after years of distress, Garoppolo supplied it.
“I really like doing that stuff,” Garoppolo mentioned of his swashbuckling play. “In ‘17, there was a freedom the place me, the receivers, tight ends, we had an excellent chemistry going. And whenever you get that with offensive expertise and a quarterback, it makes for a tricky offense.” “
Then he modified. We solely noticed flashes of that 2017 Garoppolo as soon as he signed his long-term contract, of which he’s now in his closing season.
He didn’t push the ball deep down the sector as typically. He stopped throwing to the sideline. Even his intermediate passing share went down.
Was this the true Garoppolo, or was it Shanahan teaching the enjoyable out of his quarterback?
The interceptable passes, it needs to be famous, weren’t coached away. Quickly, the danger was not countered by important reward, as there was in 2017.
“In ’17 I used to be studying the offense, so Kyle would name some performs and I wouldn’t know precisely easy methods to learn it, however you’d form of determine it out as you went,” Garoppolo mentioned. “Simply the increasingly that you just be taught within the offense and get the data of the offense, I begin to determine what Kyle’s pondering and vice versa, however there’s clearly just a few forwards and backwards between the play caller and quarterback.”
The remainder of the NFL can be questioning which Garoppolo the Niners will get in 2022.
As a result of if the 49ers’ once-again beginning quarterback is as soon as once more the quarterback he was final yr, the remainder of the NFC — a lot much less the NFL — will solely have to fret concerning the Niners a lot.
If that 2017 Garoppolo is again, nicely, that’s one thing that can have to be addressed.
That would solely change the expectations round these Niners.
There are two methods to have a look at Garoppolo’s 2022 reprise: He has all the pieces or nothing to lose over these 15 video games he has below that large Niners contract.
Both method, right here’s hoping that he lets it rip.
“I’d love that,” Garoppolo mentioned. “I believe we’ll see that as we go ahead, however I don’t know, the extra freedom you might have as a quarterback, clearly you play higher, you’re extra assured and good issues will occur.”