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Know Your Enemy: San Francisco 49ers Quarterback, Jimmy Garoppolo

What does Jimmy G bring to the field for Tampa Bay’s Week 1 opponent?

NFL: Preseason-Dallas Cowboys at San Francisco 49ers Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

It’s been a little while since a Kyle Shanahan led offense had its starting quarterback when it went up against a Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense, but on Week 1 of the 2019 NFL regular season the San Francisco 49ers head coach will bring his team and his number one quarterback into Raymond James Stadium looking to make good on the hype they carried into the 2018 season.

Last year didn’t go the way the 49ers thought it might. It didn’t go well for the Bucs either. So the two sides have this much in common at least. Another thing they have in common is a starting quarterback entering the year needing to answer some questions as to whether or not he can lead their respective franchises back to glory.

For Jimmy Garoppolo, he has the difference of future security going for him as he steps on the field. Of course, some could argue Jameis Winston entering a contract year would give him a competitive edge Jimmy G simply doesn’t have. But that’s a different discussion.

Right now, we’re here to take a closer look at the 49ers’ starting quarterback as he gets set to mount his comeback in the 2019 NFL Season.

Let’s get to know, Jimmy Garoppolo.


NFL: San Francisco 49ers at Kansas City Chiefs Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

After three seasons as a Tom Brady understudy in New England, Garoppolo was sent to the San Francisco 49ers, expected to help Kyle Shanahan resurrect a once perennially proud franchise.

He made his debut for the 49ers in Week 12 of the 2017 NFL season coming up in a lost cause against the Seattle Seahawks and promptly completed two passes on two attempts for 18-yards and one touchdown. Jimmy G had arrived.

From there, he went on to start and win five more games throwing six more touchdowns and over 1,500-yards.

Then came 2018, a new contract, and the confidence San Francisco needed to expect playoffs and dare to dream of Super Bowl aspirations.

Injuries happen all the time, but when they come early in the year following a major contract extension carrying all of your team’s hopes and dreams in the fine print, they hurt just a little bit more.

Three games into the 2018 season, this is exactly what happened when Garoppolo tore his ACL near the end of a 38-27 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.

Having lost to the Minnesota Vikings in Week 1, this gave the team their second loss of the season, and a significant blow to the expectations across the franchise.


NFL: Preseason-San Francisco 49ers at Kansas City Chiefs Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

As ACL injuries tend to, it cost him the entire remainder of the season, and it was the last time the 49ers saw Garoppolo on the field until this preseason, where the 27-year old completed 15 of 26 pass attempts for 188-yards, one touchdown and one interception. All of those yards and the touchdown came in a pretty big game.

While it may not have come in the regular season, preseason Week 3 was a big game for Garoppolo. But not because it was the ‘dress rehearsal’, because the game took place in the same stadium against the same team he injured his knee against last season.

Against the Chiefs, Garoppolo completed 70% of his passes and threw his lone touchdown of the preseason.

It’s not much of a 2019 to speak of yet, but then there hasn’t been much of 2019 in general.

Still there are thoughts out there as to what the quarterback brings back to the franchise as he’s expected to be the starting quarterback against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this coming weekend.

In a recent column on, Peter King predicted the San Francisco 49ers would make it into the 2019 NFL Playoffs as the sixth-seed in the NFC. In it, King writes,

“San Francisco nips Dallas and Seattle for the last playoff berth at the buzzer.....I’m banking on Jimmy Garoppolo playing 16 games and being the top-10 quarterback I think he is, and on the Niners finally putting the pieces together on defense after using so much draft and trade capital there.”

If the 49ers are going to sneak into the playoffs in the end, then they’re going to need at least nine wins, and it’s more likely they’ll need ten. King doesn’t specify his week-by-week predictions in this column, but the Buccaneers don’t make the playoffs in his projection, so it’s more likely than not he believes Garoppolo will be successful this weekend.



Defensive linemen are taught to push or collapse the pocket, get to the quarterback and if all else fails - get a hand up. Timing is key to this though. And understanding when to stop pushing towards the backfield and when to go for the batted pass is an art form really.

It’s not easy throwing a paw up while engaged and fighting with a hefty offensive lineman. So quarterbacks who get the ball out quickly are a problem. If the ball never leaves the pocket clean, then it likely won’t get caught consistently.

Garoppolo gets the ball out quick once he decides to throw it. This means his guys always have a chance to make a play, and it means the defense is always in jeopardy unless they can get in and sack him before he can find a place to throw it. His release comes out low at times, but the speed with which he gets through his motion almost completely negates the advantage this would normally give opposing defenses.


In today’s NFL it isn’t unusual to have a quarterback on the field who can move the ball with their legs when needed. While he’s not as mobile as some quarterbacks, Garoppolo can move when he needs to, and when he has the opportunity.

With a defense as aggressive as Todd Bowles’ unit is expected to be, Garoppolo will likely have the green light to take off downfield if the pocket is collapsing around him and he sees grass in front of him.

Contain discipline and edge rushers not allowing themselves to get pushed too far down the line of scrimmage or past the quarterback is going to be key to keeping Garoppolo in the pocket and feeling the pressure as much as possible.


Every offense tries to use some form of play action. Getting a defender to believe a running play is coming while a receiver runs into the open space they were supposed to be covering is a beautiful thing when it works.

Movement and misdirection is a big part of what the 49ers try to do on offense and often times an intended receiver will end the play on the opposite side of the field from where they started.

Discipline is the key, and it’s hard for any defense to avoid getting overly sold on one play. Again, this is designed to mitigate aggressive defensive principals and is executed very well by Garoppolo who does a good job of selling the run action before pulling the ball out for the pass.


o Poise Under Pressure

Normal human beings faced with other larger than usual human beings running at them trying to separate them from the item in their hands would flinch, duck, dive, dodge, whatever. They’d do anything to get away from them or to prevent this from happening.

Elite quarterbacks stare at the face of angry defensive linemen and laugh. Well, they actually throw strikes to receivers leading to scores, wins and championships (sometimes).

Jimmy Garoppolo is a solid quarterback, but far from elite and one area this is more obvious than others is when he’s facing pressure in the pocket.

Garoppolo is no stranger to throwing off base or off his back leg. Some other quarterbacks do the same and they get away with it. Heck, some guys will do this and become State Farm spokesmen. Again, Jimmy G is not one of them.

Getting in his face early and often will lead to inaccurate passes, off balance passes, and opportunities for Buccaneers defenders who have the ability to get their eyes on the ball as it floats into dangerous areas.


Every quarterback has a favorite target, this isn’t a problem, it’s a natural development when playing football together for long periods of time.

However, where this gets dangerous for team success is when quarterbacks throw to receivers in situations where said favorite target is clearly outmatched or in a terrible position relative to the defense to make a play.

Where things can get even worse, is when quarterbacks consistently put the ball in peril in the name of targeting their favorite guy, even when the defense has won the snap and is in position to convert the passer’s bad decision into a takeaway.

Garoppolo’s favorite target is tight end George Kittle, and for very good reason. However, at times the 49ers quarterback will do his best Kevin Costner impersonation and throw to Kittle, no matter what.

This can lead to some scary moments for the San Francisco sideline, and some opportunities for the Tampa Bay defense. If they’re able to capitalize.

Now that we’ve gotten to know Jimmy Garoppolo just a little better, leave your thoughts and comments below on how you feel the team should best counter the San Francisco 49ers quarterback.