After looking nearly flawless in his five starts with the 49ers last season, Jimmy Garoppolo finally looked human on Sunday, throwing three interceptions in a 24-16 loss to the Minnesota Vikings. Garoppolo wasn’t terrible — he threw an incredible touchdown pass to Dante Pettis late in the third quarter — but it was easily the most uneven performance of his young career.
Former 49ers quarterback Steve Young joined Tolbert & Lund on Wednesday, and broke down Garoppolo’s performance, pointing out one trend that the young quarterback needs to clean up moving forward.
“For (Garoppolo), something that’s got to change, and it’s generally a work in progress for quarterbacks that know what they are doing, which he does,” Young began. “In your mind you have an answer for everything, every play has an answer, every play has a solution, and ‘I’m good enough to find the solution and the ball’s coming out.’ You saw that two or three times, maybe more, where the ball is coming out with Jimmy. That’s good.
“He’s thinking it through, he has an idea, he’s trying to stay ahead of the game. All those things and he’s not even in double-digit games started yet. But the ball is coming out when like, no, there’s not an answer here. There’s no answer. No. Zero. This is not when the ball comes out. So he’s going to have to learn when those times come, because there’s not always a solution.
He can move around. He’s not stuck, he’s not Aaron Rodgers on one leg last week, or Peyton Manning or Tom Brady who really can’t move too much. He can go, so there’s no reason during some of those times when you’re not quite sure, you think you have the solution but no, the ball comes down and we don’t have to have an answer every play. The short way to say it is there’s not an answer on every play.”
When will he learn?
“It depends because it needs to settle on you,” Young said. “It can be a very short amount of time because you say ‘You know I get it. I learn quickly, I don’t need to be a hero here. I recognize that part of winning is losing on specific plays and the long game you play in the NFL.’
“Again, not every drive has a touchdown, not every play has an answer. And that’s not saying I learned to give up, or I learned to quit. People want to overreact, I’m not saying that. There is a place where there’s nothing to do. Run around, try to make something happen. If not then that’s it, go out of bounds and move on, and that’s okay. And it has to be okay, cause otherwise you think you have an answer, and you’re throwing at people’s chests. It doesn’t work.”
One of the throws that Garoppolo appeared to force happened early in the third quarter, when the quarterback threw a pick-six intended for Kendrick Bourne as he dealt with pressure in his face. Replays appeared to show that Bourne ran the wrong route, as did the reaction of a frustrated Garoppolo.
Young told Tolbert & Lund that Jimmy G needs to be more mindful of having that type of reaction in the future.
“What I also didn’t like, is the reaction,” Young said. “It’s embarrassing, you throw into somebody’s chest for a pick-six, there’s nothing worse. Especially on the road. But there’s nothing worse when you throw something, and you can’t clean it up and it’s right over your face, there’s nothing worse. The reaction can’t be, even subtly, letting everybody know, ‘Hey that wasn’t me.’
“I don’t think he meant to do that, but we walk to the sidelines and we handle that over there, you know what I mean? And that’s something that, you know, you’ve just got to play longer. Because what happens is, a receiver’s mom’s watching and she calls after the game…and it sews seeds of things that you don’t want.”
Listen to the full interview below. To hear Young on Garoppolo, start from 6:35