However, he’s got his supporters — including those who played in the Super Bowl with Jimmy G.
And while Emmanuel Sanders is two seasons removed from his last game as a 49er, he still recalls the kind of quarterback he played with in the Bay Area. And the veteran slot wide receiver defended Garoppolo during his Monday, April 4 appearance on the NFL Network’s “Good Morning Football.”
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‘He’s a Natural Born Leader’
Sanders lauded the leadership intangibles of Garoppolo as why he’s an ardent defender of his former quarterback.
“There’s certain people who knows who they are. Jimmy G knows who he is. Jimmy G plays has his own swagger. Jimmy G is a leader. He’s a natural leader,” Sanders told the panel. “Like, I’ve played with a lot of quarterbacks. When I tell you this guy is a leader, he’s a leader. He allows guys to follow not just by how he works, but when he comes in and he’s running meetings like coaches? He’s a natural born leader.”
He also envisioned a scenario that involved Garoppolo taking in rookie Trey Lance the moment the 49ers brought the North Dakota State star in.
“So when he sees a guy like Trey Lance, I’m going to tell you exactly how it is: Jimmy said “come under my wing kid. When I’m looking at you, I want you to be successful.” That’s how I look at it,” Sanders said.
He then traced back to a personal experience that Sanders tried to correlate to.
“When I saw Gabriel Davis, I said ‘come here, let me see what I can teach you.’ That’s how Jimmy G (also) is,” Sanders said. “He knows who he is and that’s why I respect him always.”
Sanders Lauds Confidence of Garoppolo
While there are those critics or pundits who look at the list of mistakes Garoppolo has made in a 49ers uniform, Sanders instead focused away from Garoppolo’s stats.
He instead illustrated the confidence level he say in Jimmy G.
“This is a guy that I remember, going into games, I used to play with so much confidence because I knew that this guy is a winner. You go back and look at his win percentage, his win percentage is ridiculous. He’s a natural-born winner. The moment he got to San Francisco, he started winning,” Sanders said.
During the lone season Garoppolo and Sanders played together in 2019, the 49ers went 13-3 for the first time since 2011. Sanders squeezed in nine starts with the ‘Niners and went on to catch 36 passes for 502 yards and scored 3 touchdowns.
Sanders Addressed Super Bowl 54 Collapse
Unfortunately, while Sanders and Garoppolo won a lot of 49er games together, there are fans who remember this particular play versus the Kansas City Chiefs:
After that play, things unraveled for S.F. as the Chiefs erased a 10-point deficit to win 31-20 in Miami. Sanders addressed that play and the big game with the GMF crew, saying how people walked up to him in the airport saying “Jimmy G overthrew it.”
“Some people walked up to me and say, ‘Did you slow down on that play?'” Sanders shared. “I’m like, ‘This is the biggest game in the world. You think I’m going to slow down on the ball?’ But for me, I always look at that and I say, ‘One play doesn’t determine the outcome of a game.’ There’s plays that I probably could have blocked better. Plays that Deebo (Samuel) could have made, Kendrick Bourne could have made, there’s plays where Raheem Mostert could have made. There’s plays Nick Bosa wishes he could have back, George Kittle could have back.
“So for me, everyone is saying ‘Jimmy G is the reason we lost the Super Bowl,’ I don’t fall for that. This is a team sport. Jimmy G isn’t the reason we lost that Super Bowl. The San Francisco 49ers lost that game. We, as a team, lost that game. I don’t like that they keep pounding that on Jimmy G.”