© Isaiah J. Downing | 2019 Aug 19
For the first time since September of 2018, Jimmy Garoppolo played in a live game.
It was not pretty.
The 49ers played the Denver Broncos in a preseason game on Monday night and Garoppolo played the first three series, along with the entire first team offense. The franchise quarterback looked rusty, like someone who hadn’t taken an in-game snap in 11 months. In his much anticipated return to action, Jimmy G went 1-6 with 1 INT and no yards. Out of his first four passes, one was intercepted, two were batted down at the line of scrimmage, and his fourth probably should have been returned for a touchdown if it wasn’t for the Denver cornerback dropping it.
With Garoppolo’s alarming return and Nick Mullens continued competent play, some interesting chatter has begun. Ian Rapoport of NFL Network believes the 49ers have a preferable situation on their hands, but doesn’t think it is quite time to pump the breaks on Jimmy Garoppolo.
“The Nick Mullens thing does make this really interesting.” Rapoport said on KNBR Tuesday morning. “If we forget everything, if we completely do away with the resumes…at the very least, it leaves the 49ers with one of the best fallback plans in the NFL. If you talk about building a roster and being ready to win, getting a QB is nice, getting a backup QB that you actually like and have confidence in is amazing. So at the very least, the 49ers have a situation that would be a lot worse if they didn’t have Nick Mullens.
“I would say, I am not yet worried about Garoppolo. I know last night was obviously bad, it was as bad as it could be…Preseason doesn’t always mean anything when it’s good. So, I’d say it doesn’t always mean everything when it’s bad, either. It had been a long, long, long time – I think it’s okay that he takes a little while to get back into it. Not like too, too long but I’m not making any rash judgments based on [Wednesday] night.”
It is worth noting that Monday night’s game was Garoppolo’s first live snaps in 11 months. However, if Garoppolo’s poor play were to continue throughout this season, the 49ers won’t find themselves in too messy of a situation. In a worst case scenario, the team could cut ties with their franchise quarterback April 1, 2020 with little to no significant financial ramifications.
“This is how Paraag Marathe structures contracts, it’s why he is one of the best. You hope it doesn’t matter and this might be the most meaningless comment you’ve ever said, but it might not be. The same thing I would say about Nick Mullens, the 49ers backup plan involves saying ‘You know what, you thought he was a franchise quarterback – he wasn’t,’ and we’ll be okay financially just because the contract is structured so well.
“It’s not going to matter. But, it might. So at the very least they will be okay if that happens.
Listen to the full interview below. To hear Rapoport on the 49ers quarterback situation, start from the beginning.