It’s not that easy to get rid of Jimmy Garoppolo

San Francisco 49ers fans were dealt a blow Monday night when the team they care about for putting in the fans’ greatest love — no matter what quarterback isn’t playing — got a passable play from the quarterback they are They can’t seem to get rid of Jim Garoppolo and punked the Los Angeles Rams, 24-9.

That means one thing. The goals of the Brock-Purdy movement were temporarily thwarted.

Garoppolo wasn’t brilliant; that would be too obviously showbiz. He found an early rhythm to put the 49ers ahead, didn’t spit it away mid-game, and held serve in the fourth quarter while the elite defense kicked the horns off the Rams’ helmets for every 35 minutes of the game. He gave little cause for dissatisfaction in what, in its current incarnation, is the West Coast equivalent of Patrick Mahomes versus Tampa Bay.

That ends the central story of this 49ers season, like all before it went back to the All-American Football Conference (ask your late great-grandfather), which is that the quarterback you see can never be as good as the quarterback you see not have. Aside from a peaceful six-year reign by Joe Montana from 1980 to 1986, the 49ers backup has always been preferred to whoever was the starter because it’s the same devotion to the tradition that Chicago Bears fans have of not having a quarterback at all.

This year, it seemed like they were heading down a similar path with fresh-faced Trey Lance and peanut-wrapped Styrofoam, because surely Garoppolo would be foisted on a team with a bad quarterback. Only Garoppolo was never moved because the market that existed for him evaporated when news broke in March that he would be undergoing shoulder surgery, and despite rumors of how much he and Kyle Shanahan must hate each other, Shanahan came along still to the odd but defensible conclusion that while Lance would still be the starter, Garoppolo would be the replacement rather than Nate Sudfeld. Knows the system, can be a mentor, is a professional, is not allowed to stand in the front yard with a “TAKE ME I’M FREE” sign around his neck, etc.

Of course that’s how it happened. Lance broke his ankle and tore some ligaments early in the season opener, meaning Garoppolo once again went from a fascinating veteran backup with no name Josh Johnson to a frustrating starter, and with no discernible backup of his own since Sudfeld released and Brock Purdy last The draft was recorded in 2022, it doesn’t matter, it can get through the season without customer regrets.

You naive fools. Of course, the fanbase was unhappy, and of course they fancied that Purdy, who had come up with decent numbers by Big 12 standards during his time in Iowa State, but not so amazingly that it stopped him from being the Mr. Irrelevant of that draft class to be the guy could be . And maybe he couldn’t, but he could become the guy they wanted instead of Garoppolo.

And he did, especially after Garoppolo became the main culprit at the Week 3 Festival of Urban Blight, which was Broncos 11, 49ers 10. With the only alternatives being fullback Kyle Juszczyk or Trey Lance learning how to fall back while hopping on one leg (poll at 12 percent if you look for the fan preference pie chart), Purdy became a fan favorite while doing nothing but showing up for work, which was largely Lance’s resume.

Anyway, Monday was supposed to be another referendum on Garoppolo, only this time with Purdy and his zero experience or pedigree behind door number 2. Except that Garoppolo’s brightest moments are when he’s doing just enough to pique your interest , and not enough to ruin your appetite. Rather than get you bogged down in Buck ‘n’ Aikman game recitations, suffice it to say the 49ers looked crisp offensively, made no turnovers and slacked their defenses, which is the true story of the team anyway and has been for four straight years, crushed the Rams and their Kupp/Higbee owned offense. Matthew Stafford was overpowered, sacked seven times and hit with a pick-six as a final offense, and the 33 times he targeted the Kupp and Higbee in question represented exactly half of the offensive plays that weren’t sacks. It wasn’t close, and to be honest, it was a lot more about what the defense was doing than what the offense hadn’t screwed up.

But that’s not how it works in Silicon Valley, where only one position counts, holding a tablet and watching others actually do the work in homage to the industry and region that invented the concept. Whatever Brock Purdy might be, he’s not yet the quarterback that 49ers fans get, and odds are he likely never will be unless Garoppolo gets injured, too. When that happens, the season is doomed unless defense only allows any remaining opponents field goals, and even then it will only be the final wild card, and the 49ers remain the craziest operation of them all. Kyle Shanahan might end up not being the offensive design mastermind he was painted as, but the defensive genius who doesn’t interfere on the defensive side of the ball. He could also be the craziest, happiest, most ruthless Reaper cheater in the entire NFL.

Or Garoppolo will throw two picks in Carolina next week and pleas for Purdy will be deafening. Make up your own narrative, it doesn’t matter. The 49ers are a rolling pie fight anyway, so all things can be equally true in a place where logic has never held as much clout as looks like the smartest guy in the room, no matter what the actual evidence suggests. It’s not that easy to get rid of Jimmy Garoppolo

John Verrall

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