Three snaps. Two throws. One touchdown.
The move to start Garoppolo, coming more than a month since acquiring the 25-year-old signal caller, was made official on Tuesday afternoon after the team also announced that their previous starter C.J. Beathard was diagnosed with a bruised left knee and hip.
For San Francisco, starting Garoppolo against the Chicago Bears (3-8) will finally offer the team an opportunity to “kick the tires” on the former second rounder after giving up a second round pick of their own to obtain him.
With only two full games under his belt, both as a member of the Patriots in 2016, there are still questions revolving around Garoppolo’s true skill set. Being that his contract will expire after this season, starting him this week will prime the answers to those questions.
Whether or not Garoppolo is just another product of the Belichickian-System, as proven by the countless other backups who have come and gone before him, has yet to be seen. So far — albeit in 1:09 of play — he has proven the ability to extend plays with his feet and find open receivers in the end zone.
Due to the timely announcement, Garoppolo will now have the benefit of taking the majority of reps with the starting unit throughout the week of practice leading up to Sunday’s Week 13 game against Chicago. Garoppolo has mentioned the difficulties of learning the “foreign language,” as he calls it, of Shanahan’s system so an additional week of practice should bode well for him.
Shanahan and co. have a few options with Garoppolo, including a long-term extension, franchise tagging him for the 2018 season or letting him walk after the season is over — which would essentially amount to the team giving away a precious second-round pick.
If Garoppolo plays well against the lowly Bears the likelihood of including Garoppolo in their long-term plans will go up.
Garoppolo will also be starting his first game as a 49er near his hometown of Arlington Heights, Illinois, a mere 26 miles from Soldier Field in Chicago.