The 49ers are 0-8, but they went 1-0 at the trade deadline, pulling off what I think was the best deal out there in getting Jimmy Garoppolo from New England.
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They have a clearly delineated direction now, and you have to be excited for the future in San Francisco.
I’m not really concerned what their record is at the end of this year – the trade is about more than just this year. I have a lot of faith in John Lynch as a general manager and what he has done with the personnel there, and you could say the same thing about coach Kyle Shanahan. He’s in my top five playcallers who can create offense for a quarterback. You add a good player like Jimmy Garappolo, it changes the direction, it changes the dynamic of that organization.
Garappolo hasn’t had a lot of work, but he has played well. He was 2-0 last year filling in for Tom Brady. He moves around the pocket. He looks a lot like Aaron Rodgers when he moves around, and he’s able to square his shoulders up and make a throw after bouncing around in the pocket. He has good pocket feel and he can make big throws down the field. Does he have the same arm strength as Rodgers? I don’t think so, But he’s a very accurate passer.
And, obviously, he’s a good leader because you don’t just walk into Tom Brady’s huddle, take it over and go win two games like it’s nothing. That’s what Garappolo did last year. He wasn’t overwhelmed.
What Shanahan wants to do is establish the run game, play-action pass off that, move the pocket. Garappolo is a great fit there.
Garappolo is who the 49ers wanted all along. There were a lot of rumors about Kirk Cousins – Shanahan was in Washington when it drafted Cousins – but I think that was a contingency plan.
The 49ers tried to get this deal done earlier. I’m surprised from the Patriots’ point of view that they didn’t do it over the summer. Maybe they didn’t know if Brady would come back out and still be the same Brady at 40 years old and maybe now they’ve seen enough this year where they thought, “We have this year and a few more years, he looks healthy, let’s win a few more of these things and try to get something for Jimmy.” They’ve traded four or five quarterbacks behind Brady since he has been there. It’s almost like that’s the market that they’re in.
San Francisco just waited it out, and it was ready when the Patriots were.
He looks a lot like Aaron Rodgers to me when he moves around, and he’s able to square his shoulders up and make a throw after bouncing around in the pocket.
David Carr on 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo
The 49ers have a good young defense and I actually like some of the pieces they have on the offensive side of the ball in Carlos Hyde and even some of their receivers. Pierre Garcon is a veteran guy and, as they bring in young guys and try to build this team, he’s going to bring those guys along because he knows how to work. Every receivers room needs a guy like that.
Other than that Cowboys game and last week at Philadelphia, the 49ers haven’t really been blown out. It’s not like they’re far away. They lost at Seattle by three, to the Rams by two, at Arizona by three in overtime, at Washington by two; those are playoff-type teams.
Now, be patient, 49ers fans. Garappolo could go in there and in two weeks he could probably start. Learning the offense won’t be hard. The Patriots change their game plan every week and look like an entirely different offense depending on the team they’re playing, so I’m not concerned about Garappolo being able to run whatever concept Shanahan wants to draw up.
Question of the week
From Christopher Patin: When a veteran quarterback is traded, how much of what you take from the team you were on gets used on the new team, and how different can the playbooks be? I’ve heard coaches say that the traded quarterback, who’s still learning the new position, will only be utilizing half the playbook. Can there be that many different plays and nuances to the quarterback playcalling?
For a veteran guy, you’ve kind of been in every system, and there’s not that many different ways to call a certain play. Everyone runs the same plays for the most part, they just call them different things. For a little while, when you hear a play you have to think, “OK, that’s this play in my old terminology” and then slowly as you’re sitting in meetings all day and you call the play out a couple dozen times, you start to get it.
I was talking to Brett Favre about this very thing. We had the same offensive coordinator. Jimmy Raye was in New York with him and he was in San Francisco with me. Brett said, “Man, even during the season I called plays from the Green Bay Packers’ playbook and the guys would look at me like, ‘What is that?’” He’s like, “You just run a hook, you run a shallow cross and we figured it out.” But it’s all a matter of how much time you have to get ready to go in there and play.
I’ve been in situations where I’ve called a play that is the same play, has the same routes and the same protections as something I ran before, I just called it the old play. It happens. But it’s an easy transition for veterans because they don’t have the same panic level as a young guy would have. When you’re a young guy, you want to call the play perfectly. When you’re a veteran, you just want to get them up to the line of scrimmage. Sometimes it’s a matter of, “We just have to go play football. It’s the same concepts and let’s just go run it.”
For young guys, it’s harder because they’re learning a brand-new language and they have nothing to correlate it to because not a lot of the NFL game translates from what the college guys do. They run a handful of plays, maybe, and in the NFL you have 200 plays in the playbook and different formations. It’s a little harder.
David Carr is a former Fresno State quarterback, NFL No. 1 draft pick and Super Bowl champion. Now he’s an analyst for the NFL Network and writing a weekly column in collaboration with The Bee’s Robert Kuwada. The column is sponsored by Valley Children’s Hospital.
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