Kyle Shanahan isn't buying what everyone else is "selling."
The 49ers head coach is trying to find a way to turn his team's season around after four straight losses. Replacing a struggling Jimmy Garoppolo with rookie Trey Lance as the starting quarterback could be one way to energize a team that is heading in the wrong direction.
But Shanahan doesn't agree with the idea that Garoppolo has played poorly in the four-and-a-half games he has been under center.
“I would totally disagree with that,” Shanahan told KNBR Friday when asked about the idea Garoppolo has played poorly. “I thought he played three well-played games the first two games, especially versus Detroit, Philly, our whole offense got off to a slow start. But I thought Jimmy played well overall. And Green Bay, I thought it was his best game. He led us on a big comeback, made some huge plays in that game on third down that gave us a chance to win it until Aaron took out from us with those last two plays of the game.
“Then he was playing at high level vs. Seattle until he got injured and then he went out and his first game back was in that rain game and had a rough game in that rain game. We’ll see how he bounces back this week, but to say that he’s been playing bad all year, I would say is inaccurate.”
But the idea that Garoppolo hasn't played well this season isn't a media or fan creation. He just hasn't been good and the offense has been inconsistent and has lacked big-play ability when he is leading the attack. Some of the blame falls on Shanahan, who admitted after the 49ers' Week 7 loss to the Indianapolis Colts that he was having trouble finding a rhythm as a play-caller.
But Garoppolo, with the help of Shanahan's play-calling, has been one of the most conservative quarterbacks in the NFL and has limited to no big-play upside.
Garoppolo ranks 28th out of 32 quarterbacks in ESPN's total QBR metric at 37.9 and his 56.8 PFF rating is tied with Trevor Lawrence for the fourth-worst.
Garoppolo made his first big-time throw of the season against the Colts, which illustrates how limited the offense is with him as the trigger-man. And, making things worse, is that Garoppolo has the highest percentage of turnover-worthy plays of any QB who has taken at least 56 snaps.
He's conservative but also mistake-prone, which is a bad combination.
But despite all that, Shanahan announced Monday that Garoppolo would remain the 49ers' starting quarterback for their Week 8 clash with the Chicago Bears.
At 2-4, the 49ers need to leave the Windy City with a win, or else their postseason hopes will be close to gone as the calendar turns to November.