Why it's time to unleash Trey Lance
They let "Jimmy G" run his course... and then some. The San Francisco 49ers now have a golden opportunity to stun-gun the rest of the NFC with their third overall pick.
Blind spots burn every tweeter over 50 eventually.
It’s inevitable. It’s understandable. This is a site that only causes problems.
Quite possibly, San Francisco 49ers general manager John Lynch did not realize that when he tapped “like” on a tweet…you know… everyone could see it. Lynch is a polished GM, a man who has carefully built a strong reputation as a broadcaster, then an exec after a 15-year playing career. We chatted a few years back for this piece at Bleacher Report and the sense I got was that he’s a genuinely wholesome human being who’s very conscious of his public image. Yet, the day after another agonizing performance by his quarterback, Lynch juuust may have provided the world an ever-so-brief, ever-so-damning window into his true inner-thoughts by liking a tweet that had tagged him from an account with a whopping 51 followers.
“Leave Jimmy in Nashville” it read with a gif of a fella peeking outside an airplane window.
The backlash was instant and deafening. Lynch predictably backpedaled faster than he ever did in a Tampa 2 scheme, claiming he “accidentally” and “unknowingly” liked a tweet while at Christmas Eve Mass with his family and that he remains a “huge believer” in Jimmy Garoppolo. The imagery of a Canton-bound NFL safety who’s the GM of an NFL team in the playoff hunt fiddling around on his phone in the middle of church is straight out of a Curb episode, right up to the sad tuba and mandolin playing as that phone then lights up like a Christmas tree.
Lynch can try tossing a thimble of water on this fire all he wants.
The fact is, 49ers need this fire.
All season long, both 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan and Lynch have been nothing but lavishly supportive of Garoppolo while he remains the same exact quarterback he’s been his entire career. Nothing has changed in his 44 starts with the team. This is an average-to-above-average quarterback bound to fall short. His ceiling is Kirk Cousins, Matt Ryan and we’ve all seen the closest Garoppolo will ever get to winning a ring: a third-and-10 overthrow to Emmanuel Sanders in the Super Bowl against Kansas City. Let’s not forget that Shanahan attempted 27 passes in the two wins prior that season, too. Garoppolo started this 2021 season with a demoralizing loss to the Green Bay Packers and has on-again, off-again drove 49ers fans nuts since.
A turnover. An overthrow. A JV mistake that should end a game before he finds a way to pull it out.
That’s the Garoppolo Experience.
The problem here, of course, is that he’s not terrible. He has completed 68 percent of his passes, averaged 250 passing yards per game and thrown 19 touchdowns. Any sabermetric connoisseur can talk themselves into “Jimmy G” being the guy. But that’s the problem. Like anything in life, the second you’re rationalizing to this degree, you’re clearly knee-deep in the wrong decision. There’s a reason Shanahan unloaded three first-rounders for his replacement — he knows he cannot settle. He knows how this always, always, always will end. Rather than play his rookie quarterback like the other four teams have, he’s tried to delay and develop as long as he can. Not the worst idea when you see just how much Trevor Lawrence, Zach Wilson and Justin Fields have struggled but, then again, their situations aren’t half as ideal as what’s waiting for Trey Lance in San Francisco. Garoppolo has been juuuust swell enough to get this team to 8-7 which, honestly, has played out as a best-case scenario for the 49ers.
Now, it’s time.
Lance, always, was the opportunity at something greater.