Why Willis still has faith 49ers can win with Jimmy G at QB


Jimmy Garoppolo has been the main talking point of the 49ers' offseason so far, as fans and pundits alike grapple with whether the 29-year-old quarterback has what it takes to lead a team to a Super Bowl title.

Numerous replacements -- from veteran signal-callers to rising stars to college prospects -- have been proposed for Garoppolo, but the 49ers publicly haven't wavered in their support of the QB.

Legendary former 49ers linebacker Patrick Willis hasn't lost his faith in Jimmy G, and still believes he has plenty of winning left to bring to the Bay Area.

"I think they’ve seen him at his best," Willis told Fox News. "Now if they go get him that defense, that same type of defense they had when they went to the Super Bowl and he can stay somewhat healthy, then yes, obviously they can win with him."

Garoppolo's tenure with the 49ers has come with plenty of injuries, as he was limited to just six games last season and played in just three games in 2018 before a torn ACL brought an abrupt end to his first full campaign in San Francisco.

Willis knows the difficulty of battling through injuries in the NFL, and believes Jimmy G's confidence also could have been knocked by the 49ers' seemingly strong reported interest in finding his heir apparent.


"I personally went through that a little bit myself having some injuries, but I was still able to somehow find a way to perform and be productive," Willis said. "And with Jimmy, I feel that, yes, he’s had some injuries, but I feel like at this moment … I feel like it could be tough. Part of him is probably like, I’m here but I’m not seeing my coaches necessarily come out and say like they did a couple of years ago, ‘this is our guy.’"

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Both 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch have voiced their support for Garoppolo throughout the past year, but also have been honest about eyeing upgrades at each and every position on the roster, including quarterback.

No matter how many different ways it might be spun or reported, there are two pretty simple avenues to determining who the 49ers' QB1 will be next season. Either the organization finds a replacement they deem an instant upgrade over Garoppolo and a better fit for Shanahan's offense, or Garoppolo returns to get one more chance at trying to do what he was just a few miscues away from doing after the 2019 season: win a Super Bowl.

The 49ers aren't in the same perilous position certain other franchises around the league are in at QB, and won't leverage the team's future unless the perfect trade package comes along.

Willis is right, as long as the right pieces are around him and the 49ers make plays when it counts, there's no reason to think Jimmy G can't bring a Lombardi trophy back to the Bay.

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