When it comes to JGP — Jimmy Garoppolo Panic — which came first: The Twitter chicken or the Twitter egg?
In other words, is a feeling of slight dread and borderline concern about Jimmy G’s 0.0 rating after six passes on a Denver night in August something that seems more pervious because we all have access to random tweets (“Jimmy G looks terrible!” Tweeted one; “Rome burning already?” tweeted another); or should we be legitimately concerned about a QB who only has 10 career starts and looked rusty, to say the least, just 20 days before the 49ers season opener?
The panic move is to think the 49ers rushed into a marriage with Jimmy G, and that Mullens’ identical statistics from the last eight starts of 2019 mean that he’s just as good, and far cheaper, than Jimmy G.
The panic move is to read Twitter too closely, and believe that anyone with a keyboard is a budding Bill Belichick.
The panic move is to Google ‘Jimmy G contract details’ and see that the 49ers can cut ties with Garoppolo on April 1, 2020 with minimal salary cap hit.
(Not that I know anyone who did that. Cough, cough.)
Those are the panic moves.
The prudent move is to never, ever take August football too seriously.
I covered the 49ers for seven years, and my sum total of meaningful memories from August football are: a) fan base panic after a loss in Jacksonville in 1997 (49ers went 12-4 and made the NFC Championship); b) rooting against overtime; c) seeing Steve Young run without his helmet in San Diego on a QB scramble.
In other words, jack squat.
The 2019 media landscape is very different. When I say very different, I mean intergalactically different. When I say intergalactically different, I mean there are now daily shows dedicated to the NFL breaking down the meaning of Jimmy G’s five interceptions IN PRACTICE. And when I say “breaking down”, I mean our ace producer (Medium Impact) Brian Banifatemi coagulating sound from four different NFL voices spreading panic about Jimmy G’s five-pick practice. We played it. Hopefully you heard it. And hopefully, you filed it in the “circular file” of your brain.
Don’t forget, Kyle Shanahan himself said to us when we broadcast from Santa Clara that if it were up to him, there would be “zero” pre-season games. And he said that before Jimmy G’s 0.0 extravaganza in the Mile High City.
That’s why Shanahan said on Tuesday that it is “irresponsible” to read too much into 10 offensive plays from Monday night.
And yet, we took calls and had texts and saw tweets from people willing to be that kind of irresponsible; to think that a rusty Garoppolo was a bust waiting to happen.
And who knows? They may be right. There is zero guarantee Jimmy G takes the 49ers to the playoffs in the next three seasons. There were encouraging signs, yes, when he went 5-0 in 2017. But when it comes to guarantees, the only guarantee is the $60-some million the 49ers guaranteed Jimmy G — money they have already paid him and won’t need to worry about if he is a bust.
We move forward, into the social media breech. We put on our armor, understanding that instant reaction is not always the soundest way to evaluate. We watch Jimmy G on Saturday in Kansas City, hopeful that he his QB rating is somewhere north of 0.0.
And if we’re smart, we don’t check our phones. We just watch the game.