Dante wrote this fire-take blog and suggested someone write a rebuttal.
Full entirely-too-long headline: "There's Awkward Situations And Then There's John Lynch And Kyle Shanahan Crawling Back To Jimmy Garappolo, To Rework His Deal, After Realizing Trey Lance Does In Fact Suck"
I wasn't even sure I'd have the energy to write this and wasn't planning to post today, so I didn't answer in the group chat once I got rolling. Sorry Nate. Hope you think I'm talented enough to pull this off.
So for starters, "Jimmy Garoppolo."
A typo in a headline is one thing (looking at you, Rico "Jim Carey" Bosco and Ohios "Jimmy Haslem" Taint). I almost feel like it's done on purpose sometimes just for kicks. It's another thing to audaciously spell a man's name wrong throughout an entire blog (like these gents did) and in Dante's case, tell everyone who disagrees with your opinion on Jimmy Garoppolo to "choke on one".
But that's neither here nor there.
And here's the original news of Jimmy agreeing to a new, restructured contract to save the 49ers some cap space, and make his contract more tradable. It's not the gigantic indictment on Trey Lance that it's being made out to be.
"…Making clear it's Trey Lance's team going forward." - The most prominent NFL insider other than Adam Schefter. End of rebuttal.
Seriously though, jumping into it. First notable excerpt from Dante:
"Yes, whoever goes down over the course of the first month of the season will definitely come calling and kick the tires on Garappolo, but my money is still on Kyle Shanahan, the man who is capable of fucking up a cup of coffee, crawling back on hands and knees to Garapollo to stop the bleeding and get back under center. Because Trey Lance sucks. Sorry to be blunt but facts are facts."
Yikes. Another variation in misspelling "Garoppolo." But um, excuse me? Kyle Shanahan is universally acclaimed as one of the top three best play designers in all of football. He's taken a limited quarterback in Garoppolo to two NFC title games and a Super Bowl.
Also, if Trey Lance "sucks" and folks are ready to jump down my throat for gassing him up earlier in this preseason, maybe let's take a look at these numbies aka facts:
I'm not saying don't take preseason into account at all. I'm just saying maybe don't jump to conclusions. Especially in the case of Trey Lance. I think it's possible to be fascinated by his insane upside while also acknowledging he has some shit to work on. But to declare him a fucking terrible football player, case closed, pivot back to Jimmy G? Maybe a little bit of a knee-jerk reaction.
I believe in Trey Lance in the grander scheme of things, yet I think he'll have a bit of a roller-coaster 2022 campaign. The 22-year-old entered this preseason having attempted 502 passes in games since high school. He's now learning one of the most complicated offenses in the NFL. Lance was battling through a fractured index finger on his right throwing hand last season. Since he was the backup, he was not getting the first-team reps he needed in practice throughout the season to expedite his development. This offseason is the first time he's been declared The Man.
So yes, I think Lance is a little in his head about how weird the dynamic with Jimmy has been. He's taking the reins of a Super Bowl contender with a franchise history that features Joe Montana and Steve Young as legendary QBs. There's clear room for improvement accuracy-wise. He's readjusting to a non-broken index finger, and making other mechanical tweaks to get the timing and footwork of Shanhan's system down. Finally getting all the reps to put that into action. But Shanahan didn't want to play him too much in the preseason, lest there be an injury or even more exasperating media attention, a la, "WHY IS TREY STILL IN PLAYING WITH THIRD-STRINGERS?! IS HE GETTING DEMOTED?!" etc…
Even with all that limited experience and live reps, he made a spot start in January and led the Niners to a victory over the Texans. Talk all the shit you want about Houston and I'll hear it. Think about how little Lance has played, though, and how he stepped in to complete 16 of 23 passes for 249 yards, two TDs and a pick for a 116.0 rating.
Is that bad for someone making his second career start with the team's playoff fate hanging in the balance? No quarterback with so little game experience as Lance has been drafted as high as he was in NFL history. He's a grand exception to every preconception and rule to anyone who's come before him.
Another interesting tidbit in Dante's post:
"p.s. - if you buy that "leak" about Jimmy going ghost on his team and coaches in the offseason, you're dumber than the mouthpiece "reporter" who dropped it."
Not sure if that was a thinly veiled shot at me since I covered said story…but I don't really care if it was or not. What I'm confused about is the bashing of a longtime reporter like Mike Silver, who's by all accounts plugged in with the 49ers and has been for years. I myself tend to be skeptical of people like Silver who are tight with guys like Hue Jackson, but what's the upside for the Niners leaking this info? Is it to make their move to Lance look better? Is it a blindingly obvious spite leak since Jimmy G went to have surgery on his throwing shoulder without informing the team, and torpedoed his trade value?
Who knows. However, if you're trying to say Silver is on an anti-Jimmy crusade, Silver has consistently reported stuff like this that doesn't exactly reflect well on Trey Lance…so it's not like he's one-siding the shit out of this thing.
We can already say for certain that Lance brings a unique rushing element to the Niners offense that Garoppolo does not have in his bag. To dig into more from that tweet above, we'll turn to one more point from Dante's pro-"Pretty Jimmy" blog, which references the infamous deep ball Garoppolo missed to Emmanuel Sanders in the Super Bowl against the Chiefs that could've changed his whole narrative:
"And you haters that think Jimmy G sucks as well can choke on one.
We're talking about a guy who was one complete pass away from having his entire legacy flipped -
If he connects with Emmanuel on this (who tracked this ball very oddly by the way) we're talking about one of the best 4th quarter comebacks in Super Bowl history (not featuring Tom Brady), and Jimmy is still coasting off this championship. Who knows how else the 49ers history is changed in the 2 years since. But you get the point."
Quickly: You know who can throw deep pretty well, or has at least shown flashes in an extremely small sample size? Trey Lance.
Back to Jimmy's Super Bowl misfire. I can't say I've ever heard of someone blame Sanders for the way he tracked the ball in the air. That's a new one.
Jimmy's throw was miles past Sanders, and the only thing I can think of is, at the last second, Sanders pulled up in an effort to get the trailing defenders to make contact and draw a pass interference flag. Otherwise, I don't think this is a truthful view of what happened on the play.
But the more important point…Yeah. No shit if Jimmy hits that throw, the 49ers' history would've changed. They wouldn't have traded up to draft Trey Lance in the first place! But then, you'd have an Eli Manning situation with the Giants, or a Joe Flacco situation with the Ravens, except Jimmy struggling to stay healthy. If the cost of a Super Bowl would've been that, I'm sure San Francisco fans would've taken it and run, because hell, a Lombardi Trophy is a Lombardi Trophy.
Bear in mind too that the 49ers have Deebo Samuel, George Kittle and Brandon Aiyuk as primary pass-catchers. They're YAC machines. Lance, as reported, has "elite intelligence" and should only progress on ball placement the more games he gets to play to build chemistry. It's not as if Garoppolo is some world-beater, pinpoint passer on short throws, either.
Am I ready to say Trey Lance will be the MVP a la Patrick Mahomes in 2018? Nah. Am I ready to declare him a hopeless bust? Nope.
Dante brought up the "up-and-down" nature of Lance's performance in joint practices with the Vikings. Speaking of Mahomes, do I really need to bring up what was happening with him in August 2018? Via ESPN:
"[…] He threw two other interceptions Wednesday and has seven in six camp practices. Six of the picks have come during the three practice sessions in pads, when play is most competitive."
I'm not saying Lance IS Mahomes, or that he'll make the unprecedented leap Josh Allen did for the Bills in Year 3 (by the way, did anyone notice the previously, notoriously inaccurate Josh Allen saw his completion percentage drop from 69.2% in 2020 to 63.3% last year? Just curious).
Bottom line: The 49ers screwed themselves with this Garoppolo situation. There was no great way to handle it. Jimmy was actually a damn good sport about the whole thing. Signing him to a lesser contract makes a trade much more feasible. It also opens up room to acquire a veteran or two if the Niners want to make roster upgrades soon, or acquire an established player near the trade deadline.
It seems like everyone wants to pounce on Lance for every little misstep or growing pains he undergoes. Take his latest preseason appearance, which netted an unspectacular 7-for-11 passing line for 49 yards.
Anyone shitting on Lance for his last outing against the team he beat in that aforementioned January start (the Texans)…well things were a little different this time. Houston cornerback and No. 3 overall pick Derek Stingley Jr. was in the secondary, and Lance ignored his part of the field and didn't throw the ball at him.
Is that an excuse for a shameless self plug? Why yes, in part, it is.
Because of this I was searching my work computer for Stingley stuff that I thought I'd saved, and stumbled upon this beauty from the Afternoon Bulldog, our newsletter that I do a couple times a week…and well…I don't know for sure what the date on this was but…
Cheah probably wanted Stingley to fall to his team, the Bucs. Either way, I'm dying. I'm just dying, y'all. Apparently opinions on athletes can evolve and change, though. Imagine that.
SO BACK TO TREY LANCE. I don't know if I'm bullish on him to be a legitimate superstar. To be honest I don't know how anyone can say with any certainty how good or bad he'll be, because we just haven't seen much of him. He also has so much untapped potential that he may or may not tap into that it makes him one of the downright most difficult quarterback evaluations of all-time.
Let's give the young man a chance to see if he has the fortitude to deal with Jimmy G still lurking in the background. See if he can guide the 49ers' loaded roster to the playoffs. Maybe in a year, we check back in to see just how innovative Kyle Shanahan can get with his running schemes, and how much Lance can grow by understanding the greater intricacies of the offense as he keeps developing and gaining game reps.
Keeping Jimmy G like this could shatter the typical young QB's confidence. The Niners obviously believe they have something special in Lance as a player and person if they've deemed him capable of handling all this crazy-ass noise.
Twitter @MattFitz_gerald…tell me how much of a fucking idiot I am to suggest Trey Lance might actually be good.