49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo has become a pin cushion of sorts this season, with criticism regarding his play being accentuated by a seemingly conscious decision by coach Kyle Shanahan to skew the offensive attack heavily toward the run, after several ill-advised near-miss throws in the divisional round of the playoffs. On Sunday, Garoppolo threw the ball only eight times against the Packers, in a 37-20 win that vaulted the 49ers to the Super Bowl. And that only heightened questions about Garoppolo’s role in the team’s success.
Speaking to reporters on Thursday, Garoppolo acknowledged that he hears the criticism.
“[E]veryone has different ways to get motivated, and very similar to [Richard Sherman] I do the same thing,” Garoppolo said, in response to whether, like Sherman, Garoppolo uses slights as motivation. “I hear all the stuff and everything, but you can’t put that all out there all the time. You have to do with it what you will and take it for what it is. Just at the end of the day you’ve got to go out there and play football.”
Sherman tends to sound off regarding his critics. Why is Garoppolo less talkative?
“I don’t know,” Garoppolo said. “I think maybe having two older brothers, you say too much, you keep your mouth shut a little bit. Just, I don’t know. I think it just comes for me naturally, how I am.”
If the 49ers can run the ball like they did against the Packers and in the second half of the Vikings game, Garoppolo’s contribution to the Super Bowl win will be questioned. Some will wonder whether it makes sense to pay him $27.5 million per year when he’s barely throwing the ball. If Garoppolo has a solid game against the Chiefs and the 49ers win their sixth championship, that talk will end — possibly for good.