Yesterday Jimmy Garoppolo was the better quarterback than Mitchell Trubisky. That does not mean it is time to talk revisionist history
Jimmy Garoppolo and Mitchell Trubisky are likely to be linked together by some people moving forward. Both were talking points of the 2017 NFL draft, and both ended up being acquired via trade. Ryan Pace had connections to Garoppolo, and there was talk of the number three pick going to New England in exchange for Garoppolo. However, the Bears traded up, sending the number three overall pick, two thirds and a fourth to San Fransisco for Trubisky. Then, about five months later, the 49ers sent a second-round pick to the Patriots for Garoppolo.
On Sunday, whether the numbers say so or not, Garoppolo outplayed Trubisky. Trubisky completed 80% of his passes and did not throw an interception. However, the interception was not on Garoppolo and he was a 70% passer with 22 more attempts. The red zone was an issue, but Garoppolo did lead five scoring drives.
He looked more poised than Trubisky overall, and with fewer career starts than Trubisky, that can scare some. However, it is not time to panic. While Trubisky has more starts, Garoppolo has more experience. He is about to finish his fourth season in the NFL. Preseason NFL football is still faster than College Football.
On top of that, think about the coaching situations. Garoppolo was drafted by Bill Belichick, to play in a Josh McDaniels scheme and to learn from Tom Brady. Mitchell Trubisky was drafted by John Fox, to play in a Dowell Loggains scheme and to learn from Mike Glennon. You can see how one of these players started off on a better foot. On top of that, it is not like Kyle Shanahan is the reason his team has underperformed. He is going to be a good coach, and in the debut of his quarterback, Shanahan clearly was more prepared to put him in winning positions than Loggains was in the Trubisky debut.
If Trubisky gets into a good coaching situation next season, and the team hits on a wide receiver via free agency, there is a real chance he outduels Garoppolo at this point next year. The ceiling is still higher with Trubisky.
Building a team around Trubisky should be easier as well. Over the next four seasons, he is under team control by the Bears at a reasonable price for his position. However, on the 49ers side, they have five games to determine how big of an extension they have to sign their quarterback to this offseason.
There could be a cap difference as high as $14 million between Trubisky and Garoppolo five months from now. It is much easier to build talent and bring in names with that extra cash. That could get them the receiver they need to stretch the field or the pass rusher to help get Trubisky the ball in good field position.
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The hot takes will be out. “The Bears traded a first, two thirds and a fourth for a player who lost to the 49ers, who took all those picks and found a better quarterback with a second round pick. This is a black eye on Ryan Pace.”
It could be a black eye. It really could, there is no denying it. However, to make that assumption based on that particular performance is not fair to Trubisky, or Pace. Give it time, a coach and a new free agency class. This will be a debate worth tabling for at least one more year.