In the NFL, there are stars and then there are the next stars in line. When the 49ers traded for quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, the expectations were very high. The thought was that he could realize the potential every thought he had and help the 49ers get back to relevance. As soon as he got there towards the tail end of last season, he led the 49ers to five straight wins to close out the season. And with that performance, the hype for Jimmy Garoppolo and the 49ers began to ramp up leading into the 2018 season. Unfortunately, the hype of Jimmy G and the results of the 49ers did not work out the way fans wanted it to. The 49ers lost their season opener on the road to the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday. Along with the loss, Garoppolo was 15-33 for 261 yards. And along with the poor completion percentage, Garoppolo only threw one touchdown compared to three interceptions. His first loss as the starting quarterback of the 49ers was not a pretty one. For those that were surprised by his performance, you have to realize a few things.
Jimmy Garoppolo is a very young quarterback still. Even though he is in his fifth season, last season was the first time he has started more than one game in a season in the NFL. The league may have seen him here and there, but they did not know what to expect from him. With no tape on him, he was able to catch teams off guard because they were not aware of what he was going to do. The results were a 67.4 completion percentage along with seven touchdown passes and a 80.2 quarterback rating. Of course he also had five interceptions, but of course that did not matter much to those that saw him winning games last season. Fast forward to this season and the Vikings had a whole offseason to study tape on Jimmy. They studied his habits and tendencies and what they could do to disrupt him with what they had. The result was an ugly game by Garoppolo and the 49ers offensively. And just like that, some of the hype from Garoppolo has worn off.
Going forward, Garoppolo has to study the tape of this game. The mistakes he made today are correctable and can be used as a learning experience for him. The more he is able to take this in and learn from it, the better he will be. Along with learning from this game, Garoppolo has to look at some of his habits on the field. Anything from how he snaps the football to things he does to tip off where he is going with the football need to be looked at. The Vikings are a tough defense to go against, but there will be more defenses coming that will provide an issue if he does not change some things that tip people off. The more he is able to take away those key reads for defenses, the more he will be able to get back to what he wants to do. The giveaways will go down along with the offensive production going up.
Jimmy is a talent and everyone recognizes it. He had a good start to his career as the starter in San Francisco, but you knew the bumps in the road would come. When you are a star player, there's always some issues that happen when teams start to figure you out. The true sign of a great player is figuring out the things people are using against you and turning those weaknesses into strengths. Going forward, we will see if this game was just a fluke for Jimmy or if this type of play is something that lingers on for a while.