What do San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo and Tom Brady have in common? For one thing, they were both drafted by the New England Patriots, started games for the franchise, and have Gollum-approved hardware in their trophy case as a result.
But their shared time in Foxborough isn’t the only connective tissue between the former Patriots quarterbacks. No, Garoppolo and Brady are actually the two fastest quarterbacks in the NFL at getting the ball out of their hands, according to Pro Football Focus, ranking first and second in the category, respectively.
What does this mean? Well, according to PFF, the “time-to-throw” stat measures the average time between when a quarterback receives the ball from the center and when they throw it away. A quicker time generally signifies a quarterback who makes quick, decisive decisions, whereas longer numbers could either be related to slower processing time or a running quarterback who extends plays with his legs.
Trey Lance, by contrast, has the third-slowest time-to-throw stat at 3.15 seconds, ranking above just Daniel Jones and Justin Fields. While the sample size may be small, and Lance won’t be able to improve his time-to-throw averages with more snaps due to his season-ending injury, as The Athletic’s San Francisco 49ers beat writer David Lombardi pointed out, it’s certainly interesting that John Lynch assembled a quarterbacks room with stylistically opposite signal-callers.
Jimmy Garoppolo’s Fire Can Fuel The San Francisco 49ers
When asked on 95.7 The Game how it felt to be informed that the 49ers wanted to internally move on to Trey Lance as their franchise quarterback, Jimmy Garoppolo held nothing back.
“It lights a fire under you, I’ll tell you that,” Garappolo told the hosts. “As a competitor, whenever you get told something like that, it’ll get you going a little bit.”
With Garoppolo now officially in place as the Niners’ starting quarterback moving forward, with just 2022’s “Mr. Irrelevant,” Brock Purdy, on the 53-man roster and journeyman UDFA Kurt Benkert on the practice squad backing him up, he can use that fire to fuel the 49ers’ offense and drive the team back into the playoffs.
Are The San Francisco 49ers Set At Quarterback?
Entering the 2022 season, the San Francisco 49ers were widely considered to have one of the more unique quarterback rooms in the NFL. While pundits varied considerably on their evaluation of the position grouping as a whole based largely on their personal evaluations of Lance, the evaluations of Garoppolo as a backup were far more consistent, with the veteran signal-caller earning top grades among veteran backup quarterbacks league-wide.
But now that Garoppolo has been elevated to the starting lineup, folks have begun to opine over the prospects of adding additional help to the quarterback room. In the five days since Lance’s injury, the Niners have been linked to trading for Mason Rudolph, signing a free agent like Cam Newton, or even claiming a California prospect like Josh Rosen off of the Cleveland Browns’ practice squad.
When asked about the decision to sign Benkert to the practice squad, Kyle Shanahan detailed to the team’s official website why they liked the veteran journeyman.
“He (Benkert) just had a good workout,” Shanahan said. “You can only have six veterans on your practice squad, so just thinking how to balance that out, and we liked what we saw.”
With teams able to shuffle their practice squad at will, this situation is certainly one worth monitoring moving forward.