There’s about a 90% chance that Jimmy Garoppolo will be the San Francisco 49ers’ starting quarterback once Week 1 against the Detroit Lions comes calling.
Despite this, head coach Kyle Shanahan continues to refrain from naming a starting quarterback. It now seems likely that San Francisco will be the last team to officially name its starter for the regular season.
Shanahan spoke with reporters on Wednesday, mere days before the 49ers’ preseason finale against the Las Vegas Raiders. In doing so, he remained steadfast in keeping everyone outside of the organization at arm’s-length.
“I feel I’ve talked pretty consistently this whole time,” Shanahan said about who the 49ers starting quarterback will be Week 1. “I’ve got a pretty good idea and I think our team does also.”
So, why not name Garoppolo the starter over impressive rookie No. 3 pick Trey Lance? It could be that Shanahan wants to keep the Lions guessing. There’s a competitive advantage that comes with the opposing teams having to scheme for two dramatically different quarterbacks.
There’s also something to be said about Lance still potentially being in the mix to start Week 1. He’s performed much better than Garoppolo through the San Francisco 49ers’ first two preseason games. Last week alone, Lance led two long touchdown-scoring drives after throwing an ugly interception to open up his appearance. As for Garoppolo, he tossed an ugly pick himself to conclude his only drive of the game.
Jimmy Garoppolo will be the San Francisco 49ers’ Week 1 starter
Shanahan has noted throughout the offseason and training camp that Garoppolo would start once the regular season got going. However, it’s become clear recently that Lance is pushing his veteran counterpart.
“That’s up to Kyle (Shanahan). That’s up to our head coach. He makes the decisions on who’s playing and whatnot. But I think it’s Jimmy’s right now and Trey’s pushing. I think that’s where it’s at.”San Francisco 49ers GM John Lynch on QB competition
Despite these comments from Lynch, it stands to reason that Garoppolo will be given that initial shot against a bad Detroit Lions team come Sept. 12. He’s 18 months removed from leading San Francisco to an appearance in the Super Bowl and might have earned that one final opportunity to prove his worth.
Trey Lance’s performance could lead to a short leash for Jimmy Garoppolo
If the San Francisco 49ers were completely sold on Jimmy GQ as its QB1 moving forward, there’d be absolutely no reason to play their starters Sunday against the Raiders.
In a dramatic turn of events, Shanahan noted following last week’s win over the Los Angeles Chargers that all of San Francisco’s healthy starters will take to the field in the preseason finale. That includes Pro Bowl left tackle Trent Williams and All-Pro tight end George Kittle.
The idea here is to see how both Lance and Garoppolo perform with most of San Francisco’s first-team offensive line and skill-position players on the field. If the quarterback situation were 100% settled, this obviously wouldn’t be the case.
In addition to opening up its regular season against the Lions, San Francisco takes on the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 2. Both teams have very questionable defenses. Even if he is the Week 1 starter, the onus is on Garoppolo to prove his worth against Detroit. If not, don’t be surprised if Lance is starting against Philadelphia.
Either way, it now appears that this will be the final unsettled quarterback competition around the NFL. The Denver Broncos named Teddy Bridgewater their starting quarterback on Wednesday with the Jacksonville Jaguars opting for Trevor Lawrence. Meanwhile, Mac Jones seems to have the upper-hand with the New England Patriots and Jameis Winston will likely be the New Orleans Saints Week 1 starter.