The 49ers are going to spend another week in purgatory.
And this time the forecast calls for rain.
There was no pomp and circumstance to Jimmy Garoppolo once again being named the 49ers’ starting quarterback for Sunday night’s game against the Colts. As of Wednesday, he was the only healthy quarterback, so he’s the pick for head coach Kyle Shanahan.
Of course, had injury not intervened, Shanahan likely would have played Garoppolo over Trey Lance this week anyway. Apparently, he gives the Niners the “best chance to win”.
We’ll see. That’s a claim that’s becoming more and more dubious by the day.
What we do know is that the NFL is a head coach and quarterback league, and the arrangement in Santa Clara between Shanahan and Garoppolo isn’t working.
There’s a reason Lance is on the roster.
You might say, “Dieter, Jimmy Garoppolo is 24-10 as the 49ers starter under Shanahan.”
And yes, that’s factual.
But five of those wins came at the end of a bizarre 2017 season and 13 on the back of one of the strongest overall teams in the NFL.
I’m not discounting those wins, only providing context. Garoppolo deserves credit for that success — he was stellar for a few of those contests. But this is also the quarterback who was deemed a massive liability in the 2019 playoffs, and then lived up to that threat in the Super Bowl.
Garoppolo is a better version of Jared Goff, who went 42-20 under Sean McVay in Los Angeles, received a huge contract after going to the Super Bowl with the Rams, and then this past offseason was unceremoniously shipped to Detroit, where he is winless and his new head coach is calling him out after six games.
I wonder what will happen to Garoppolo when Shanahan isn’t calling the plays for him anymore.
We’ll find out soon, but not soon enough for my liking.
Garoppolo is a lame-duck quarterback. If not for injuries and a misplaced allegiance from Shanahan — a coach who is looking down the pipe at losing records in four out of his five seasons at the helm — Jimmy G would already be on the bench.
The inevitable wouldn’t be prolonged.
I understand the mitigating circumstances at hand this week, but what’s the end game if Shanahan keeps Garoppolo at quarterback going forward, as he seems to want to do?
Nine wins, at best?
Maybe the last wild-card spot in the NFC?
How does that help the Niners contend for a Super Bowl in the future?
Garoppolo wasn’t good enough to keep Lance off the roster. Why would he now be deemed good enough to save his job and hold off Lance for another year?
At the same time, Shanahan seems to have little interest in working through the growing pains that come with the quarterback that he drafted third overall.
As for Lance, he gets to sit and watch. Is that the best way for him to learn what it takes to win in the NFL? To win with these 49ers?
Leashes are shorter than ever for quarterbacks in the NFL. Sam Darnold played 38 games for the Jets before they decided he wasn’t the guy for them. After Darnold’s first five games in Carolina, the Jets look like they made the right decision.
Tua Tagovailoa had even less time in Miami — 12 starts — but his name is now part of every trade rumor.
In a league where the scheme is supposed to fit the talent of the quarterback, you don’t need a full rookie contract to find out if the kid has it or not.
What the young quarterbacks do need are some reps to determine if they’re just capable or possibly great.
Perhaps Shanahan will see the light and realize that the sooner he plays Lance, the sooner he can find out if the No. 3 overall pick has what it takes to succeed in the NFL. If Shanahan can make that determination early, he might stand a chance of outliving the kid in Santa Clara.
If he waits, he’s putting his career as the 49ers’ head coach in Lance’s hands.
They might prove capable — I’m bullish. They also might not.
Meanwhile, there’s a game on Sunday, in front of a national TV audience.
Is Garoppolo the starter returning to his role? The backup stepping up for a week?
Does it matter?
Either way, this team cannot move forward to bigger and better things with No. 10 under center, because he’s not part of this team’s future.
And until the change is made at quarterback — permanently — we all get to hang out in purgatory with Jimmy G and Kyle.©#YR@ MediaNews Group, Inc. Visit at mercurynews.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.