49ers Should Let Jimmy Garoppolo Rest This Sunday

Jimmy Garoppolo #10 of the San Francisco 49ers drops back to pass against the Kansas City Chiefs during the first quarter at Levi's Stadium on August 14, 2021 in Santa Clara, California.
(Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)


Last season, Jimmy Garoppolo’s injury was a significant reason for the San Francisco 49ers’ playoff absence a year after reaching the Super Bowl.

The 2019 Comeback Player of the Year played six games in 2020 due to an ankle injury.

But the lengthy recovery period before the 2021 season had the 49ers optimistic about his return to form.

He proved that he’s still worthy of the starting role after completing 17 passes for 314 yards and a touchdown in their season-opening win against the Detroit Lions.

Garoppolo led the Niners to a second consecutive victory with 189 yards and a touchdown pass against the Philadelphia Eagles.

In Week 3, the two-time Super Bowl champion held his ground against reigning MVP Aaron Rodgers.

He finished the game with 257 yards and two touchdowns for the Niners, but Rodgers had the last laugh.

The Green Bay Packers starting quarterback completed a 37-second drive that ended with a game-winning Mason Crosby field goal.

A week later, Garoppolo did not finish the game against the Seattle Seahawks.

It’s uncertain when the eight-year veteran strained his calf, but he gave way for rookie Trey Lance in the second half.

The Eastern Illinois alum exited with 14 completions for 165 yards and a touchdown.

In his absence, Lance threw two touchdown passes and added 41 rushing yards.

However, his effort was not enough to put San Francisco over Seattle, 28-21.

Coming into Week 5, head coach Kyle Shanahan is not yet ruling out Garoppolo from playing against the division rival Arizona Cardinals.

The 49ers would love to be the team to end Arizona’s undefeated run, but they will have a hard time doing so without their starter.

Worse, the calf injury occurred on his right leg, wherein he suffered an ankle sprain a year ago.


Garoppolo Must Sit Down

The upcoming game against the Cardinals can be a turning point in several aspects.

First, the outcome of the game will indicate where they are as a team.

They have a shot of winning the NFC West if they defeat the Cardinals.

In contrast, there are many adjustments needed if they lose to the NFL’s best team as of the moment.

Second, Garoppolo will find playing hard because it would be challenging to generate power on his passes if his throwing leg is unwell.

Bringing him back early may even aggravate the injury like what happened last year.

Therefore, they have no choice but to start Lance because he’s the best option left.

Likewise, the Niners must build from the momentum he gained in the second half of the Seahawks game.

Their offensive plan will change to cater to Lance’s mobility, and the Cardinals will adjust their coverage to be wary of his skill set.

There’s no sense in letting a hobbled Garoppolo play a meaningful game.

It would be better for him to stay on the sidelines until he reaches full recovery.

This swap at quarterback will also give the 49ers a chance to see what they have with Lance.

Giving him more snaps provides them a bigger sample size of the nuances he has to correct.

But if the rookie does well against the Cardinals, there’s no pressure for Garoppolo to return.

The only pressure he will face is being a great mentor to his successor.

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