The San Francisco 49ers’ quarterback situation was among the oddest stories of the entire NFL offseason. Jimmy Garoppolo has been the presumed starter since pretty much Day 1.
Even after the 49ers sent a haul of picks to the Miami Dolphins to move up to the third selection, ultimately picking Trey Lance, Garoppolo was the “unquestioned starter.”
While things have changed to an extent over the past few weeks, it was still the widespread belief that Garoppolo would start over Lance.
With less than a week to go before their season opener against the Detroit Lions, the 49ers seemed to have finally made that announcement. They did so without actually saying anything. Rather, Garoppolo is slated to speak with the media around noon pacific time on Wednesday. This represents the day that starting quarterbacks around the NFL talk to the media.
Why the cat and mouse game from San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan?
Even after San Francisco’s preseason finale against the Las Vegas Raiders, Shanahan stopped short of naming Garoppolo the starting quarterback. This came around the same time that suggestions around the NFL concluded Lance should start over his veteran counterpart.
It also came immediately after 49ers general manager John Lynch potentially spoke out of turn by saying that Lance was “challenging” Garoppolo for the QB1 job.
Given his silence on the matter, there’s a chance that Shanahan wants opposing teams to have to plan for both Garoppolo and Lance. However, that was seemingly always going to be the case after how we saw San Francisco utilize the rookie No. 3 pick during the exhibition slate. The expectation is that Lance will be on the field for some packages during the regular year.
A star at North Dakota State, Lance outperformed Garoppolo during the preseason. While that can be taken with a grain of salt, it did lead to speculation that there was a true quarterback competition in Santa Clara — something Shanahan and Co. have pushed back against.
In his three full seasons with the San Francisco 49ers, Garoppolo has missed 23 of a possible 48 games. When on the field, it has not been a question about productivity. The former New England Patriots second-round pick has posted a 22-8 record in 30 starts with San Francisco, tallying 46 touchdowns against 26 interceptions in the process.
It remains to be seen if this type of success will give Garoppolo a longer leash once the regular season gets going. At this point, it seems that said leash is pretty darn short. Time will tell on this front.
San Francisco is currently a 7.5-point favorite on the road against what promises to be a bad Lions team in Week 1. Should Garoppolo struggle, we’ll hear more about the 49ers’ quarterback situation moving forward. You can bet the bank on that.