On Thursday, we reviewed four over / unders for four of the San Francisco 49ers’ receivers. Today is Jimmy Garoppolo’s turn. Garoppolo ended 2019 with 3,978 yards, 27 touchdowns, 13 interceptions and had a completion percentage of 69%. Before getting into some of Jimmy’s projections, I think it’s important to make a distinction that the 49ers’ receiving bodies will be much better this season than last year.
Looking ahead to the season, the 49ers had high hopes for Dante Pettis, but he got in shape and injuries delayed him. Trent Taylor and Jalen Hurd never set foot on the field during the season, while Deebo Samuel was a rookie. That left Kendrick Bourne and George Kittle as the two targets for Garoppolo. Jimmy not only enters the season with these weapons plus Brandon Aiyuk, but he also had the opportunity to pitch to them during practice. There will be no “mental obstacle” for Garoppolo to shyly win or play with a knee brace. Those reasons plus a year lower than Kyle Shanahan is the reason why many have chosen the 49ers to return to the Super Bowl.
Let’s start with how many yards we think Jimmy G. will throw. Shanahan will take off his training wheels and let his quarterback throw it now that there are reliable receivers? In 2019, 11 quarterbacks threw for more than 4,000 yards. Let’s set Garoppolo’s over / under at 4,100, which would have put him seventh last year.
Will Jimmy pitch for over 4,100 yards?
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I vote yes because I don’t think the 49ers have that many blowouts this year, which will lead to more pitches in the second half and fourth quarter. Honestly, a few deeper targets could easily put Garoppolo on top of this figure, assuming there is a game or two he pitches for over 350 yards.
Garoppolo was sixth in the NFL in passive touchdowns a season ago. I’m not sure if he’ll top 27 this year, which is not an indicator that Garoppolo has stepped back as a player. Players who call can give their quarterbacks “Gimme touchdowns” near the goal line to inflate their stats. Sean Payton / Sean McVay are the kings of this. Let’s move the number to 29. Do you feel like Jimmy can hit 30 touchdown passes this year?
O / U 29.5 touchdown passes for Jimmy
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We will skip interceptions as I don’t think they are a great indicator of a quarterback’s performance. A ball leaves the receiver’s hands, and the interception goes to the quarterback. A defender drops the ball that hits him between the numbers, and that play is ignored.
The completion percentage is an even worse statistic. If you are shooting below the first descending marker, you will have a high completion percentage. PFF conducted a study that showed Garoppolo to be one of the most conservative quarterbacks on the third shot. Jimmy G was the sixth worst quarterback in 2019 under ALEX of Football Outsiders. It was the average difference between the quarterback’s pitch length and the distance needed for a new set of kills. When I ask if Kyle is going to take off his kid gloves, this is what I mean.
Adjusted yards per attempt, quarterback rating, and a handful of other statistics paint a clearer picture of the quarterback’s performance. Garoppolo was ninth in the NFL in tight yards per attempt last year at 8.3. I don’t really like Matt Ryan’s comparisons as he was entering his ninth season in the NFL in 2016, where Ryan’s stats took off. Ryan’s AY / A rose from 7.0 to 10.1 from 2015 to 2016, which is crazy. Only one quarterback topped 10.1 last year. Garoppolo shouldn’t be chasing Ryan’s numbers. He should just be looking to improve his. So if we use 8.3 and believe that Garoppolo will improve, let’s increase their number to 8.7, which would have placed it in the top five of AY / A last year.
Will Jimmy G average more than 8.7 AY / A in 2020?
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That is a difficult one.
The quarterback rating will be the final metric to which we refer. QBR measures passes, precipitation, turnovers and penalties. It accounts for the level of success or failure of a team on each play. Garoppolo finished 12th in 2019 with 58.8. To break the top 5, Jimmy G would probably have to hit 70.0 or higher. That’s a great question and it’s not fair to any player. Instead of improving by 12%, how about asking for a six percent increase? Let’s say Jimmy has a QBR of 64.0. That would be good enough to break the top 10 and show that he improved as a player in 2020.
Will Garoppolo’s QBR be above 64 in 2020?
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