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Joe Staley explains flaw in criticism that Garoppolo doesn’t throw downfield enough



© Bill Streicher | 2021 Sep 19

Jimmy Garoppolo did not have a great game on Sunday. Off a very solid performance in Week 1 vs. the Lions, Garoppolo was inaccurate for most of the first half of the win in Philadelphia. Eventually, however, Garoppolo settled down, and did enough to lead the 49ers to a 17-11 victory.

Yet, most of the criticism after the game and on Monday had more to do with the fact that Garoppolo did not make enough attempts down field, rather than the fact that he missed on some shorter attempts.

It’s a common criticism with Garoppolo, who is seen as a player who limits Kyle Shanahan’s ability to open up the playbook. Former 49ers left tackle Joe Staley doesn’t see it that way. He told Papa & Lund on Monday that Shanahan’s offense is not designed, and has never been designed, to feature a heavy downfield passing attack. He believes Garoppolo is running the offense that Shanahan wants to run.

“He didn’t have the huge plays down the field and that’s what I think everybody that loves fantasy football and the stats and all these stat patterns and stuff want to be like ‘well he’s not throwing the ball 40 yards downfield,’” Staley said. “Well, that’s not what he’s asked to do in this offense. It never has been. If you look at Kyle Shanahan’s offense it’s never really been that. It’s been about controlling the clock, moving the ball down the field, and doing what it takes to win.”

Critics would point out that Shanahan employed a downfield passing attack during his time in Atlanta with Julio Jones and Matt Ryan. Maybe that’s true, but with a No. 1 receiver in Deebo Samuel who is primarily a threat after the catch, it makes sense that there wouldn’t be as much of an emphasis on throwing it deep.

“That throw he had to Deebo was unbelievable. He threaded it in between two defenders, on time, really kind of jump started the whole entire offense from there on out. I thought he really settled down well.”

Listen to the full interview below.