San Francisco 49ers’ head coach Kyle Shanahan believes the best is yet to come for Jimmy Garoppolo.
In Jimmy we trust?
That appears to be the mindset of Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch as they took time during the offseason to evaluate the state of the team’s roster and its performance during the Super Bowl LIV loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.
While those sentiments didn’t preclude the team from at least having internal discussions about pursuing six-time Super Bowl champion quarterback Tom Brady during the free agency period, it’s now clear that those deliberations never did make it out of Santa Clara.
Speaking on Thursday to a host of Bay Area sports reporters, Shanahan only had positive remarks to deliver on the subject of his 28-year-old starter.
“When you have to talk to Jimmy about one of the best quarterbacks of all time being available, I know Jimmy has a goal to be that.”
Even scarier is that the offensive guru doesn’t believe we’ve even seen the best of his quarterback yet.
“I know Jimmy. I believe Jimmy has the ability to be that [the best quarterback of all time] and that’s what both of us are going for. If we can get him there and he has the ability to do it, we’re going to be pretty happy with who we have for a long time.”
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Shanahan isn’t known for being the smoothest talker or super apt with his word choice, but these comments speak for themselves.
In 2019, Garoppolo posted the best numbers of his young career, finishing with a shade under 4,000 passing yards, but completing 69.1 percent of his throws in 476 attempts.
He also finished with 27 passing touchdowns and a 102.0 quarterback rating to go with an average of 8.4 yards per attempt.
His touchdown passes, completion percentage and yards per attempt figures all ranked top-five in the league during the regular season as the team finished 13-3 and secured the top seed in the conference.
It was only Garoppolo’s first full season as the starting quarterback for the 49ers, and yet statistically speaking, it was one of the best seasons for a 49ers quarterback in nearly two decades.
Shanahan also believes that his quarterback gained confidence last season, especially when considering how quickly Garoppolo was able to help lead his team to success after suffering a gruesome ACL injury in 2018.
With the injury concerns behind him, at least for now, Shanahan believes Garoppolo can focus solely on improving his game and getting more familiar with the offense.
“…To go through an offseason where you don’t have to rehab the whole time, it gives you a chance to take that to another level. I think Jimmy’s fired up for this year. Last year was his first year to play a whole year and he had a hell of a year and got us very close to winning the Super Bowl.”
“I can tell his thoughts are a lot clearer because he’s not worrying about an ACL and rehabbing, he’s 100-percent focused and getting better mentally from knowing the offense — from just knowing defense.”
Ultimately, time will tell if Garoppolo will improve. Provided he maintains his health, and demonstrating the full scope of his abilities over a 16-game season plus a Super Bowl run in 2019, there’s reason to believe the sky is the limit.
And with his head coach as a firm backer, the organization and the fans should feel very comfortable about the quarterback situation in San Francisco for years to come.