What Jimmy Garoppolo against the Broncos says about the future of the 49ers

It doesn’t look like Jimmy Garoppolo made it look easy when he entered the crowd in the first quarter of the 49ers’ Week Two game.

He later said it’s like riding a bike – once you do, you’ll never lose that skill.

The truth is, Garoppolo looked pretty much the same as ever when he replaced the injured Tre Lance against the Seattle Seahawks at Levi’s Stadium last weekend.

He performed efficiently, certainly not spectacularly. The 49ers exited with a 27-7 victory that seemed to convince the home crowd that the 49ers were in better hands in the short term with Garoppolo in the lineup.

during the week, Garoppolo spoke of the “freedom” he felt. Compare his thinking to the 2017 season. He arrived from New England in the mid-season trade. He didn’t know the offense but was able to play effectively on his way to five straight wins to wrap up the season.

Garoppolo’s feeling of being unburdened may have been an even greater frustration for coach Kyle Shanahan and the 49ers.

That’s why, other than injuries, the organization decided to allocate three first-round (and third-round) draft picks in order to move up to third overall in the 2021 NFL Draft picks for the Lance.

When a Garoppolo is healthy, he generally plays well. Usually the 49 players win.

But it seems he never took that next step.

The Garoppolo who showed up in 2017 and was flying next to his pants is the same Garoppolo we’ve seen every season since.

It’s almost as if Garoppolo topped in 2017. Any improvements he made in subsequent seasons were unrevealable to the untrained eye.

Garoppolo seems to thrive on the freedom that comes with not knowing or understanding the plays entrusted to him. He’s at his best when he’s not overthinking.

Shanahan’s crime is known to have been black and white. Puts a lot on the midfielder board.

Contingencies and modifications are included in each game, based on how the defense responds with its coverage and the number of passes dash.

Garoppolo plays as if he finds clarity when some suit is assigned to him and is not expected to know all the answers.

When he was unexpectedly called up from the sideline in Week 2, all was well at the 49erland.

But after he took charge, and 49 players had a full week to plan as their Sunday night start against the Denver Broncos, the offense seemed horribly inadequate.

After that, Garoppolo lamented that the team had not been caught up in the attack. The 49ers’ offense seemed out of sync. It felt like unity with the midfielder who thought he was playing elsewhere this season.

Garoppolo was not present during organized team activities during the holiday season. He did not take a single photo during the training camp, did not release a book or participate in meetings.

This is no excuse. This is a fact.

In one match, it looked good.

The following week, that was not the case.

Garoppolo was terribly imperfect during his tenure with the franchise. And that’s probably what the team expects for the rest of the season as well.

On Sunday night, Garoppolo and the offense were more imperfect than usual.

Regardless of the second round of the game, during which execution seemed obvious, the offense’s performance in their 11-10 loss to the Denver Broncos was a miserable failure.

Former NFL quarterback Dan Orlovsky, whose name conjures up images of a quarterback inadvertently running out into the back of the end zone in a pass game, has found delight as someone who enjoyed Garoppolo slip.

Garoppolo slipped again to pass the 2-yard streak at the 49ers in the third quarter. Under pressure, he kept leaning back and forth until he finally got rid of the football while his feet were planted on the thick white finish line.

Fittingly, perhaps, these two points of safety were the difference between an ugly win and the clear and unmistakable signs that the 49ers are in immediate danger of letting this season slip away from them.

The 49ers have gone all out on the Lance this season. Sunday’s match provides yet another reminder of why 49 players put massive resources into getting a young midfielder to replace Garoppolo.

The 49ers want talented, athletic players who will improve over time.

Related: 49ers attack rating, defense in an ugly Week 3 loss to the Broncos

Garoppolo has some time to get things back on track this season, just as he did a year ago after a poor start.

The 49ers are confident that when Lance is healthy and able to return next season, he will show steady, steady improvement as he plays more and more.

Not being prepared is a temporary condition that can and must be defeated.

It should never be seen as liberating.

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