By: Grant Flood
The San Francisco 49ers coming fresh off a Super Bowl LIV appearance did not meet expectations in the 2020-21 season, this was mainly because of the injury bug spread across the team attacking QB, Jimmy Garoppolo not once but twice, RB, Raheem Mostert, TE, George Kittle, and DE, Nick Bosa. San Francisco could not do much with backups, Nick Mullens and C.J. Beathard at the helm as the 49ers suffered the Super Bowl hangover finishing 6-10, worst in the NFC West.
The 49ers front office, media, and the entire NFL fanbase have noticed a theme surrounding Jimmy Garoppolo – injury-prone. Garoppolo was in good health throughout his time at Eastern Illinois, however in 2016, the 3rd year Patriots QB suffered a shoulder injury and wouldn’t see the field again that season. This was just the beginning of his NFL woes. Fast forward to 2018, Garoppolo’s second year with the 49ers, he was sidelined with his second major injury, a torn ACL to his left leg during Week 3, he would miss the remaining 13 games. Here we go again, in 2020 a high ankle sprain in Week 2 would sideline him for multiple weeks, he would return playing through pain going 2-1. Only to be expected, he reinjured his ankle in Week 8 sidelining him for the remainder of the season. After San Francisco drafted Trey Lance number three overall in this past year’s draft, the window may have slammed shut on Garoppolo’s time in the Bay Area.
After a few months of Garoppolo trade rumors this offseason, it seems likely the 2014 2nd round pick is staying for another go-around, this time with added pressure. Make no mistake, “Jimmy G” has shown talent since joining the 49ers midway through the 2017-18 season, he’s had an astonishing 22-8 regular-season record with a very strong 46 touchdowns to 26 interceptions. Looking back at the 2019-20 Super Bowl run, Garoppolo threw for 427 yards, 2 touchdowns, and a 75.9 completion rate in his first taste of playoff action. With arguably the best tight end in the league, George Kittle, plus an amazing offensive line, and an all-around stout defense, what’s holding back the 49ers for another shot at championship glory?
Trey Lance in 2018-2020 with North Dakota threw an astonishing 30 touchdowns to 1 interception, looks great on paper but the issue is his lack of playing time as he elected to declare for the 2021 NFL draft in October. After throwing for 28 touchdowns to 0 interceptions in 2019, he played only one game in 2020 throwing 15-30 for just 149 yards, 2 touchdowns, and 1 interception. His main strength is in the ground game with a dominant 1,100 yards resulting in 14 touchdowns in 2019 and 143 yards for 2 touchdowns last season. If Garoppolo ends up sidelined, the question is, could Lance survive the NFL’s hungry sack wolves?
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Price of Sim49ers as of July 29 – July 30: $52.57
With a healthy Garoppolo and Kittle, the best QB and TE tandem from the 2019 season is back! We also can’t dismiss the fact Garoppolo was developed by the one and only, Bill Belichick, and was in the presence of “The GOAT,” Tom Brady. If Garoppolo is not overshadowed by injuries, this would most likely be his last shot to prove his time with the 49ers. San Fransico hasn’t had a wide receiver one since Emmanuel Sanders until Brandon Aiyuk and Deebo Samuel became his two main targets. Last season, Aiuyk exploded onto the scene with 60 catches for 748 yards and 5 touchdowns. The same year, Samuel missed all but 7 games and he still managed to put up 391 yards, all this accomplished with three different QB’s. The defense remains a force to be reckoned with, Dre Greenlaw and Fred Warner could become the most dangerous linebacking core in the entire NFC, and not to mention, the X-factor returning from his torn ACL, 2019 Defensive Rookie of the Year, Nick Bosa. The 49ers made no mistake resigning their top CB, Emmanuel Moseley to a 2-year contract worth over $9M. With all these explosive weapons, the key ingredient is a healthy Garoppolo for the full 17 game season. If that’s the case, the 49ers should control their destiny in the NFC West.
The main question is, will Trey Lance make an appearance with a healthy Garoppolo on the roster? For now, Garoppolo looks to be the team starting QB but if the 7-year veteran struggles or continues to be injury-riddled, will Trey Lance fold under pressure? The 49ers will have to rely on RB, Raheem Mostert more than they’d hope as Jeff Wilson Jr. tore his meniscus at the end of May. He is projected to come back in 4-5 months, the team has listed him as questionable for Week 7. Another downfall is the departure of 5-time Pro Bowl CB, Richard Sherman who has valuable postseason/Super Bowl experience with both the Seahawks and 49ers. He had a productive 2019 season with over 60 tackles and 3 interceptions, leading to his only Pro Bowl with the 49ers. It has been reported the 49ers’ HC, Kyle Shanahan does not have the utmost confidence in “QB1,” Garoppolo. Proof of this, per Bleacher Report, on trade rumors back in April “…I can’t guarantee who will be on our roster next Sunday.”