If we told you before the season that the 49ers would find themselves at 10-2 twelve games into the season, the assumption would be that Jimmy Garoppolo had made the leap from potentially great to one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL.
Yet here we are twelve games in, 10-2 record and all, and Jimmy G is unquestionably the most polarizing player on the 49ers’ roster.
The stats would say Garoppolo is having a good season. His completion percentage is sixth best in the NFL (69 percent), his yards per attempt eighth (8.1) and quarterback rating 10th (101.2). His 21 touchdowns more than double his 10 interceptions.
Yet for some the eye test tells a different story. Garoppolo seems to throw nearly one head scratching interception per game. He’s also averaging just 241.3 yards per game (18th in the NFL) with the 49ers passing game often taking a backseat to a rushing attack that is ranked second in the league.
Perhaps it’s for these reasons that the national perception of Garoppolo is closer to that of game manager than franchise quarterback. It’s a distinction that NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, a national reporter in his own right, doesn’t understand.
“The view locally which pretty much seems to be in full support of him is different from what it is nationally,” Rapoport told Murph & Mac on Monday. “I don’t quite know why, but nobody talks about Jimmy Garoppolo as one of the best young quarterbacks. Nobody talks about the fact that when they have needed him he has come to play. He has had a couple games this year where he’s needed to step up and really be the guy making the plays late and he’s done it.”
Garoppolo was solid, and outplayed Lamar Jackson through the air, in the 49ers 20-17 loss to the Ravens on Sunday. Jimmy G went 15-21 for 165 yards, one touchdown while posting a 110.2 QB rating in rain soaked conditions. He did also have a costly fumble deep in 49ers territory that gifted the Ravens an early TD.
“He’s not a game manager. He’s not Trent Dilfer or someone, I don’t think he’s that,” Rapoport continued. “So I’m not quite sure why nationally he’s not considered the head of one of the best teams in the NFL. Maybe it’s because the defense is so good and the run game is so good and the run game is so good.
“That said, there are going to be a lot of opportunities to change the perception. Perception changes unbelievably quickly.
“The Niners are going to have a big playoff game or two and we’ll see if he needs to step up and do it.”