What should Chicago Bears expect vs. Garoppolo?
The Chicago Bears get to face a quarterback making his first start on a new team. What should they expect to see from Jimmy Garoppolo?
The Chicago Bears will be the first defense that Jimmy Garoppolo faces in his new era as the 49ers future starting quarterback. There has been a lot of hype around his name and even talk about the Chicago Bears inquiring about him, especially with Ryan Pace and his Eastern Illinois connection. However, the Bears did not pull the trigger, and it was a trade with these very 49ers that allowed them to select Mitchell Trubisky second overall. It feels as though Trubisky and Garopplo will forever be linked to each other through the Chicago lens.
Now, the question will be whether or not Jimmy Garoppolo is worth the hype. Keep in mind that Garoppolo is coming up on four years of NFL experience, and has been watching Tom Brady every step of the way. On the other side, Mitchell Trubisky is in a mess of a situation to start his career. However, at this point, Garoppolo should be the better quarterback on Sunday.
Garoppolo is known for his quick release, and with that comes precise accuracy. There is a difference between accuracy and precision. Take the play below.
Garoppolo faces a third down and nine. He sees where the defender is regarding the wide receiver. The cornerback is pushing Julian Edelman to the sideline. Garoppolo makes a strong throw to the outside shoulder, leading Edelman towards where he had to run. An accurate throw is still a completion. A precise pass gets the first down.
With the extra yard or two of precision, Edelman can catch the ball in stride, turn up the field and get the extra yards needed for a first down. Garoppolo is 17-25 on third down for ten first downs and a touchdown in his career.
Below, Garoppolo sees LB Jelani Jenkins running from right to left. However, he knows Jenkins does not have the presence to make a play on the ball, as he is running to a spot, not playing the quarterback. Garoppolo rips a pass into a tight window and still does it with the ability to give his receiver room to run after the catch.
Watch how Garoppolo stands in under pressure to make the tight window pass with precision and velocity.
Below is his most impressive display of quick accuracy. Garoppolo again picks on Jenkins. He looks right and gets Jenkins to run that way. Then, he looks back left and hits Danny Amendola in stride to dive into the end zone.
This play is impressive due to much more than his quick accuracy, though. First to note is the footwork. Watch how perfectly he navigates what turns into a muddy pocket in order to keep the play that he built alive.
Garoppolo has fantastic footwork. You can see it as he stands in clean pockets and progresses sideline to sideline. You can also see it as he navigates these tough pockets. Watch his feet below as he maneuvers around and buys himself a window to throw while under pressure.
He places every step meticulously as he feels pressure and adjusts.
Extends to pass not run
The footwork to navigate the pocket is one thing. The ability to do it with eyes downfield to continue to make plays is what makes you think he could be something.
You see it below on a 39-yard completion. Garoppolo has a running lane for cheap yards as he steps up. However, he is still focused on the big one and completes it as he stays with the intuition to pass the football.
On the play, below he used his mobility to pick up yards on the ground. However, even until the last second, he is looking to make the play down the field. Preston Brown, 52, believes that Garoppolo truly wants to pass and that is what frees him up to turn a sack into a gain of yards.
Manipulate the defense
One more time we will refer back to the touchdown pass to Danny Amendola. He showed the accuracy to lead his receiver into more yards. He showed the footwork to navigate a pocket and extend the play to create the touchdown. He also threw Jenkins, and the safety, Isa Abdul-Quddus off just enough to create the separation for the completion himself.
The ability to look off defenders to create spacing is the most impressive attribute of his game and the one that makes him such an intriguing player despite just two NFL starts. The play below defines his ability make this a game-changing weapon.
Garoppolo goes down the field for 24 yards. Keep an eye on how the safety reacts in this play.
Now, watch how Jimmy Garoppolo completely baited the safety into setting up an easy completion. Garoppolo is looking right the entire time. Abdul-Quddus recognizes this and breaks that way. The second he cuts is the second Garoppolo shifts to the left and makes his pass. Manipulating the safety to create a completion down the field is impressive. On top of that, he does this as he feels pressure, navigates the pocket with perfect footwork and makes a strong and accurate pass down the field. Not everyone is doing this.
Below, you see him look Reshad Jones off far to the left to lead his receiver into a one-on-one matchup to the right. You can guarantee that Garoppolo is going to test rookie safety Eddie Jackson in this situation, hoping to rip off a big play.
This article is not to say that Jimmy Garoppolo is a future legend, or even that he is going to rip the Bears a new one. 39% of his career incompletions have come from passes thrown too high or overthrown. His first two NFL seasons featured one sack per every six dropbacks.
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However, it is fair to say that Garoppolo has the chance to make plays on this Bears defense. Danny Trevathan is expected to be back, but Adrian Amos now seems unlikely to go with the signing of Chris Prosinski. The back end has been questionable as of late, and if Garoppolo can extend plays, and manipulate defenders, he will have a strong 49ers debut. It will be on the front to expose a weak offensive line early in this game and keep Garoppolo to his short passing game.