Jimmy Garoppolo seems destined to be one of those quarterbacks who fans, pundits and analysts constantly question no matter the success he has.
The 49ers quarterback is a solid passer. He's not spectacular nor is he horrendous. He's simply a tick above average at the NFL level. A guy who can be made to look better than he is with the help of a good scheme and an effective running game.
Former New England Patriots quarterback Drew Bledsoe has heard a lot about Garoppolo both from the people in New England and those in San Francisco. To Bledsoe, it's clear who Garoppolo is.
"Jimmy is a very good player, He's really accurate," Bledsoe told NBC Sports Bay Area's Jeff Garcia. "One of the things I've heard about Jimmy, and I heard this in New England and I heard it again in San Francisco: He is outstanding Monday through Saturday. He's a great leader on the field and that is not to be discounted. That's really important.
"When it comes to game time, I think you kind of hit. He's in a really good system, but they need to run the ball, they need to play good defense, stay on schedule. Jimmy I don't even think would pretend to be a guy who is going to drop back and chuck it around 60 times a game and turn it into an aerial circus. That's not what he's cut out to do. But if they stay on schedule and they do things the right way as a team then he's going to be extremely effective for you."
Bledsoe can paint over what he's heard with his own praise, but it's rough of people in the buildings in both Foxboro and Santa Clara to describe Garoppolo as "outstanding Monday through Saturday" but not on the day he's truly needed to be exceptional.
Garoppolo is a good leader and his teammates rally around him. We saw that all offseason when the Tom Brady whispers were permeating the Bay Area.
Bledsoe's analysis fits well with how coach Kyle Shanahan treats Garoppolo on game days. Sunday's game plan against the Los Angeles Rams, one that was designed to get the ball out of Garoppolo's hands as quick as possible and into the hands of George Kittle, Deebo Samuel, Brandon Aiyuk and Raheem Mostert was just the latest example of Shanahan game planning around a quarterback who he doesn't believe has the necessary tools to open up the entire playbook.
Garoppolo will have to be more dynamic throwing the ball down the field this week when he returns to Gillette Stadium to face Bill Belichick and the Patriots. Belichick will do everything he can to take away the pop passes and tosses to Samuel, Aiyuk and Kittle, knowing that the Patriots' best chance of winning lies in making Garoppolo throw the ball down the field.
There's not wrong with being an above-average NFL quarterback. Not everyone is Aaron Rodgers, Russell Wilson, Patrick Mahomes or Brady. You can win a lot of games with a quarterback of Garoppolo's talent level. But the question is: Can you win a Super Bowl?
That's something the 49ers still are trying to figure out.