© Kelley L Cox | 2019 Aug 10
The San Francisco 49ers took a massive step forward in their development when they acquired Jimmy Garoppolo from the New England Patriots two years ago. They looked poised to take another massive leap forward last season until disaster struck.
Garoppolo tore his ACL during Week 3 against the Kansas City Chiefs and the team went into the tank. They had other issues too: The 49ers couldn’t rush the quarterback to save their lives and the defense only had two takeaways, but Garoppolo’s health was the main reason their season was derailed.
Now that Garoppolo is back, there is a reason to believe this team should be ready to take another step forward, but there are still other concerns with this iteration of the San Francisco 49ers.
John Clayton, a longtime NFL writer for the Washington Post and a Seattle radio host for ESPN, stopped by the Murph & Mac Show on Thursday morning to discuss the improving 49ers and Jimmy Garoppolo.
“I think they’re gonna be one of the most improved teams in football,” Clayton said. “I mean, I think, but playoffs no, I think next year will be more of the playoff year because look at the things they are overcoming.”
Clayton then went on to discuss his biggest concerns for the 49ers.
“My big concern was the same concern that I had last year when I was down in 49er camp: injuries,” Clayton continued. “Now they’ve changed everything, revised everything as far as the medical staff, the training staff, and all that… and look at all the injuries they still have. And again, I’m not blaming the staff maybe it’s just pure bad luck, high ankle sprain that’s a bad luck thing.
“When you’re seeing…there’s still four or five guys right now that you’re not 100% sure they’re gonna be there for the opener. That’s gotta be a concern because it’s a deeper team than it was last year, so they can better handle the injuries, and I would imagine that Jimmy Garoppolo is gonna be fine.”
When talking about Jimmy Garoppolo, Clayton referenced another quarterback who had to deal with several ACL injuries.
“The one thing with Garoppolo is that, and I learned this from Carson Palmer, when you’re coming off an ACL…you’re gonna be able to play. You should be able to go 16 games but your mechanics are gonna be a little bit different because you’ve worked long in rehab and you worked on your mechanics, so that may be an issue.”
Palmer tore his ACL two different times. In 2006, he came back from the injury and went 8-8. He threw for 4,035 yards with 28 touchdowns and 13 interceptions, so he was still a very productive quarterback. When he tore it again in 2014, he came back the next season and went 13-3 in Arizona. He threw for 4,671 yards with 35 touchdowns to 11 interceptions, it was arguably the best season of his career.
If Jimmy G can bounce back like Palmer did, the Niners could be in pretty good shape this season.
“I think that when you look at the team itself, it should be one of the most improved teams in football,” Clayton said.
Listen to the full interview with John Clayton below. To hear him talk about Jimmy Garoppolo and the San Francisco 49ers, start from 8:13.