Jimmy Garoppolo’s production has steadily increased as the 49ers' offense has evolved around him, and that starts with trust from his head coach.
The quarterback leads the league in several metrics, including yards per pass attempt (8.5) and yards gained per completion (12.6). Kyle Shanahan has been pleased with Garoppolo’s performance on the field and believes there are a few factors in his improved play.
In 2020, Garoppolo only appeared in six games and did not have a full complement of weapons at his disposal. Deebo Samuel, George Kittle and Raheem Mostert all spent time away from the field due to injuries.
“I think we're getting better each week,” Shanahan said on Monday. “Jimmy didn't get to play very much last year and when he did, he didn't get to play with the guys. I feel like even though we have had some injuries, for the most part, the same group's been out there.”
Consistency has helped Garoppolo improve as the season has progressed, and it appears that Shanahan has helped his quarterback by putting him in the best situation to succeed. The coach is not asking his quarterback to be something he is not, and the results are clear.
“It's Kyle's offense, so he has final say on that stuff,” Garoppolo said on Tuesday. “But yeah, I think there's a good balance. We're not doing just the old traditional stuff. We're mixing some of the new style of football and there's a good balance that we have right now.
“We ran the heck out of the ball early on, and now we're kind of getting to more of a balanced attack. And I think that makes us pretty dangerous.”
Shanahan will attempt to take advantage of whatever the opposing defense will allow, and if that is an average of 40 rush attempts per game, that is how the 49ers will wear them down. If not, Shanahan's trust with Garoppolo has grown, and it has shown up on the field over the past several games.
Garoppolo has completed 252 of his 374 attempts for 3,172 yards, 18 touchdowns and eight interceptions. The signal-caller's current 67.4 completion rate is his second-best as a Niner, with 2019’s 69.1-percent being his career-high.
“Whatever they put in I'll be comfortable with it by the time game time comes,” Garoppolo said. “I don't know, being a quarterback, you just have to adjust. I mean, there's some plays in the game that you've never run before maybe, and coach is putting it in so there's that trust factor of I'm trusting you, that you're seeing the right thing and I'm gonna go execute it.”
As far as the statistics go, Garoppolo only cares about one, and that is in the win/loss column.
"It’s about third down and red zone,” Garoppolo said. “I think those are quarterbacks’ true stats when the money’s on the line. But yeah, as long as we’re winning games, I could care less what the stats are.”