Just a year ago, Jimmy Garoppolo was the hope for the future for the San Francisco 49ers.
Now they’re just hoping he has a future.
Garoppolo took San Francisco by storm in 2017, when the 49ers traded for the former New England Patriots backup and he took over a 1-9 team and led the team to five consecutive victories to give the team a 6-10 record.
But then he was sidelined last September with a torn ACL, and he has looked lost in preseason this year.
First, he threw five consecutive interceptions in a practice last week.
Even in a practice, it is almost unheard of for a quarterback to throw five consecutive interceptions. Even though he then threw a touchdown pass, the five consecutive interceptions were the buzz of camp.
Then Garoppolo had a horrid outing in his first preseason game against Denver since suffering the injury last year.
He went 1-for-6 with a 0.0 QB rating. His lone completion was a two-yard gain. The Denver defenders got their hands on four of his passes as they tipped, picked or almost picked his throws.
He didn’t look like he was an NFL quarterback.
Coach Kyle Shanahan then pulled the first-string offense after three series. He would have liked to play him longer but he couldn’t risk injuring the other starters.
Garoppolo said he has to knock the rust off since he hadn’t played since last Sept. 23.
“It is preseason right now, so we’ll just have to take it in stride,” he said.
Shanahan said the offense wasn’t in rhythm.
The 49ers can only hope Garoppolo will become more effective with more playing time.
But general manager John Lynch and Shanahan have to be worried. They bet their jobs on Garoppolo being their quarterback.
They are 10-22 after two seasons with marks of 6-10 and 4-12. Take away those five wins at the end of the 2017 season, and they are 5-22.
Can they survive another disaster of a season?
It is up to Garoppolo, who has started just 10 games in five NFL seasons, to prove he can be the quarterback the 49ers counted on him being when they made the trade. It is up to him to save Lynch and Shanahan from getting pink slips at the end of the year.
Making a mistake on a quarterback can be very costly for a GM and a coach. Now it is up to Garoppolo to show the NFL they didn’t make a mistake on him.