For San Francisco 49ers legend Steve Young, the Niners’ failure to win a Super Bowl is due to a lack of trust between Jimmy Garoppolo and head coach Kyle Shanahan.
Despite an appearance in Super Bowl LIV and playing in the NFC Championship twice, the 49ers fell just short in 2019 and 2021. Now, it appears the Jimmy G “era” is coming to an end with San Francisco looking to deal the QB this offseason.
“When he joined the team, the team needed a quarterback to make some throws, and they didn’t have that,” Young said. “Jimmy can make throws, he’s a starting quarterback in the league. How far he can go, I feel like in the end was limited by the trust between Kyle and Jimmy. It never got completely established like I wish it would have. In the end, both guys have to own that, and Jimmy does as well.”
The 49ers’ offensive identity centers around running the ball rather than passing, but Young thinks it goes beyond that. However, where does that put Garoppolo in the lineage of San Francisco quarterbacks?
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Where Garoppolo Clocks In
As Young said, Jimmy G has to take some responsibility at the end of the day. After all, this is a player who threw three interceptions over the three playoff games this year, and didn’t register a touchdown in the Wild Card or Divisional Round.
However, Young’s other point, that the 49ers didn’t have a good quarterback presence before Garoppolo’s arrival, rings true as well.
“So where does he fit in the pantheon of 49ers quarterbacks? We’ve had guys that couldn’t play,” Young said. “Guys that couldn’t lead or didn’t own the locker room. He’s accomplished a lot, and I don’t think we should diminish it. But we also have to recognize that whatever is missing, and however it didn’t get done, we all have to own that as well.”
Jimmy G’s play faltered as a Niner, but he can pride himself on the fact that his teammates have praised his leadership abilities. Garoppolo’s 35-16 record as a starter and the respect of your teammates is hard to deny.
Deebo on Jimmy G
One teammate that has recently opened up on Garoppolo is “wide back” Deebo Samuel. The former South Carolina Gamecock is coming off a monstrous season in the hybrid role that saw Jimmy G complete 71 passes to Deebo for 1285 receiving yards and five touchdowns.
When Samuel interviewed with Jim Rome this week, Samuel credited Garoppolo for playing through injury and imagined a scenario where he wasn’t battling through hand and shoulder issues in the late parts of the season.
“He’s out there playing through whatever it takes,” Samuel said. “And we’re still winning with him. Just imagine if he was healthy all year long, what he would be capable of doing.”
The other thing the 2021 All-Pro receiver highlighted was how Garoppolo helped quarterback Trey Lance, who is set to take over in 2022.
“I think Jimmy played a great role in being with Trey, of showing him the ropes of what Kyle [Shanahan] expects,” Samuel said. “I think it was a good year for Trey to actually learn how the league goes.”