DALLAS – The 49ers have the best team in the NFL.
They have everything. They have a Super Bowl caliber pass rush and a Super Bowl caliber run defense. Plus they’ve had a Super Bowl caliber secondary since the emergence of Ambry Thomas, and a Super Bowl caliber offensive line since Tom Compton replaced Mike McGlinchey.
Plus they have a Super Bowl caliber running back, a Super Bowl caliber full back, a Super Bowl caliber tight end, a Super Bowl caliber wide receiver, a Super Bowl caliber wide-receiver-running-back hybrid, and they even have a Super Bowl caliber quarterback.
Unfortunately for the 49ers, they keep him on the bench, and instead play Jimmy Garoppolo, aka Jimmy the Arsonist, aka The 30-Year-Old Rookie, aka Mr. Mediocre, supposedly because his experiene gives the 49ers the best chance to win, even though he is painfully limited and doesn’t play like an experienced quarterback.
Let’s be honest. Trey Lance is as talented as any player on the 49ers. The real reason Garoppolo has played all season and continues to play is so he can take the blame if / when the 49ers eventually get elimintated. Garoppolo is Shanahan’s human shield. Always has been If Lance were to start and the 49ers were to lose, Shanahan would take the blame, not the rookie quarterback. So Shanahan sticks with Garoppolo, his fall guy.
Garoppolo is currently injured – he has a torn ligament in his thumb that requires surgery. In the past two games, Garoppolo has thrown four interceptions, and with the exception of a few drives, he has not played well.
This week, it’s obvious the Cowboys are a bad matchup for him. They have a ferocoius pass rush, and he doesn’t move well. Their defense leads the league in interceptions, and he’s an interception machine.
For those reasons, most analysts and fans agree the 49ers’ best course of action is to run the ball more than 40 times and pass fewer than 10 times, as they did when they won the NFC Champsionship two years ago.
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In other words, don’t let Garoppolo lose the game.
If that’s the game plan, I have a better one: Play Trey Lance.
Running the ball 45 times is much easier when the quarterback is a running threat and the offense can play 11-on-11 football and not 10-on-11 football, which is what they play when Garoppolo hands off.
Everything on offense will be easier with Lance on the field. That’s why Lance gives the 49ers their best chance to win. He’s talented enough to win a Super with this team. Garoppolo isn’t – he proved that two years ago. His limitations hold back the entire team. And even if he wins this week, next week he most likely would have to travel to Green Bay, where his mediocre arm will not function well in the cold. Which means Lance will give the 49ers their best chance to win next week, too, if they make it past the Cowboys.
But the 49ers won’t play Lance unless Garoppolo gets injured. So instead of winning the Super Bowl, the 49ers most likely will fall short, blame Garoppolo, trade him and then turn their attention to next season.
Screw next season.
Play the kid.