The 49ers offense isn’t exactly humming.
Through three games, San Francisco sits in the middle of the NFL in yards per play, not something you’d expect from a Kyle Shanahan offense. The inability to run the ball due to injuries has especially hurt the team, putting more emphasis on Jimmy Garoppolo to throw the ball, which hasn’t gone particularly well.
For the second week in a row, Garoppolo struggled mightily in the first half, missing open receivers and throwing interceptable balls (one of which was picked) contributing to a 17-7 halftime hole vs. the Packers. The offense’s first-half struggles were enough to overcome vs. the Eagles, against the Packers they were not.
It’s for this reason and others that former 49ers safety Donte Whitner believes it’s time for Kyle Shanahan to start cashing in on his offseason investment, and start rookie quarterback Trey Lance.
“I think they should go ahead and possibly give him a start,” Whitner said on KNBR Tuesday. “It’s no knock against Garoppolo, he has won two games this year. But the level that this offense can reach with Trey Lance out there is just significantly better than what Jimmy Garoppolo was displaying.
“I don’t think that they put fear in any defenses in the league. I don’t think that they can go to the Super Bowl and win it with the way the offense is operating right now. Defenses don’t fear Jimmy Garoppolo. They don’t fear offenses throwing the ball over their heads, which in turn, hurts your intermediate and under game. Guys are sitting on routes. They are daring Jimmy Garoppolo to throw the ball deep. Yes, he made some passes yesterday, but how many balls did the receivers have to go up in traffic and guys draped all over them because they understand that the intermediate and short route are coming. You can’t beat defenses or put fear in them if you can only do dink and dunk passes.”
The Packers seemed to be keying specifically on underneath throws vs. Garoppolo. When Jimmy did try to go deep in response, he overthrew the pass which was intercepted.
“When you don’t have a running game to supplement that, you have to open up the package. It’s time to get some quarterback runs, it’s time to get some movement outside the pocket, some quarterback screens, some deep throwbacks across the field that we saw from Trey Lance to Trent Sherfield in the preseason. Those type of plays put fear in defenses. Those type of plays make defensive coordinators stay up 24 hours at night trying to figure out the 49ers offense. Not what’s going on with Garoppolo with the dink and dunk. “
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Listen to the full interview below.