There were some very newsworthy quarterback battles during the NFL preseason with rookie standouts competing with seasoned veterans for the starting job. And with the exception of the New England Patriots’ Cam Newton situation, most quarterback battles ended the way we expected — the keyword being “most” as one team’s choice for starter is apparently leaving pundits scratching their heads.
Enter the San Francisco 49ers.
The Niners released their regular-season depth chart on Tuesday, listing Jimmy Garoppolo as their starter and rookie Trey Lance as the backup.
Between Garoppolo getting the start in the Niners preseason finale against the Raiders and Lance chipping a bone in his finger during that same game, it was clear pretty early on that Garoppolo was getting QB1 honors.
Yet, some outlets still seem stunned by the Niners’ choice not to tap Lance for the starting job.
ProFootballTalk’s Mike Florio appears shocked Lance isn’t getting thrown into the fire to start off the season. ESPN’s “First Take” debated earlier this week Lance gives SF the best chance to win a Super Bowl despite the fact he hasn’t played a single NFL snap yet.
Okay, fine — the Niners took Lance with the third-overall pick in the draft. But continuing to think they were going to start him over Garoppolo insinuates you weren’t paying attention to SF during the preseason.
Sure, there were a ton of rumors during the offseason that San Francisco was looking to move on from Garoppolo, who has been sidelined with injuries two out of the last three seasons. But anyone who watched the Niners this preseason saw head coach Kyle Shanahan alternate putting Garoppolo and Lance under center with Garoppolo getting the bulk of the snaps in the preseason finale. Plus, as Yahoo! Sports aptly points out, Garoppolo had his best training camp since joining the Red and Gold in 2017.
Now, the release of the depth chart doesn’t mean things can change throughout the season and that Lance won’t get a chance to show what he can do on the NFL stage. Plus, giving Garoppolo the start in Week 1 doesn’t mean he won’t have a bad game at some point and reinvigorate talk about his contract.
Nevertheless, being shocked Garoppolo is listed as the starter on the Niners’ depth chart is just plain silly.
Chelena Goldman grew up on a street where the boys played street hockey and yelling at baseball and football over the radio was a standard — making life as a sports geek the perfect fit. She believes in dominance on the blue line, good red wine, and the theory that you can never be too overdressed for any occasion. You can find her gabbing away on Twitter at @ChelenaGoldman.