Most players get criticized for things they do. 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo has been criticized lately over something he didn’t do. As in he hasn’t thrown the ball very much during the past six quarters of football.
The circumstances that led to the run-heavy offense — several near misses against the Vikings in the divisional round — have fed the perception that 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan became freaked out by the potential for turnovers and opted to run the ball until the running game is stopped. Against the Vikings in the third and fourth quarter and against the Packers in the entire game, the running couldn’t be stopped.
Which is good for the 49ers, but not great for Garoppolo. Especially if, in the Super Bowl, there’s yet another Bob Griese game plan.
In an interview with Tyler Dunne of BleacherReport.com, 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman was asked about the criticism of Garoppolo, not for doing something wrong but for doing nothing.
“Idiots sound like idiots at this point,” Sherman said.
So is it good if the quarterback doesn’t have to throw the ball?
“Once again, it’s people telling you how to win,” Sherman said. “Like, ‘Hey, we don’t care that you’re winning by double digits every game. You’re not winning the way we want you to. So let’s criticize him.'”
That’s fine. But if the running game isn’t there, Garoppolo will need to win with his arm. Is Sherman confident that Garoppolo can do it?
“We’re the No. 1 seed going into the Super Bowl,” Sherman said. “We’re as confident as we’re going to be.”
The not-so-subtle dodge isn’t surprising. At this point, it’s not known how Garoppolo will handle the kind of pressure that comes from a season riding on a drive or a decision or a throw because he hasn’t had to face that kind of heat. And he may not have to next Sunday.
If he does, it will make for a more interesting Super Bowl. Whatever the outcome.