49ers news: Why can the 49ers’ organizational philosophy overcome any potential quarterback drama in 2022?
Under Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch, the 49ers built one of the best rosters in the NFL from top to bottom while making two NFC Championship appearances and a trip to the Super Bowl.
I believe none of these accomplishments represent their greatest strength as the 49ers brain trust. The duo’s greatest power is being able to manage personalities and cultivate a team locker room culture in a league that features an increasing number of difficult egos and personalities.
You name the situation, and this 49ers regime was able to handle it. Contract negotiations, hold-ins, star player trades and all the “noise” of last season’s quarterback. That makes them uniquely equipped to handle Trey Lance and Jimmy Garoppolo’s quarterback room — as well as any potential drama that may ensue in 2022.
Let’s be clear: Trey Lance is the starting quarterback, and Kyle Shanahan went out of his way during Tuesday’s conference call with Bay Area media to make that clear. He also clarified that Garoppolo was brought back as part of the deal that he was the backup quarterback.
Similar to 2021, when Kyle Shanahan repeatedly said Jimmy Garoppolo was the starter (and then stuck with him throughout the season), I predict he’ll stay at Trey Lance as the starter unless there is an injury or the wheels really fall off the 49ers season.
It seems like a lot of people are looking at this latest move from the 49ers as “cover” against Trey Lance in case he struggles or doesn’t live up to his No. 3 draft status. I see it as valuable insurance in Lance’s injury case.
Let’s take a look at Shanahan’s history in 2018 and 2020. Two seasons that were essentially lost due to the injury of a starting quarterback. Given the roster that has been built in San Francisco this season, I don’t think Shanahan was willing to risk sacrificing another season in case something happened to Lance and he couldn’t play.
It was by no means plan A. As Shanahan and Lynch reiterated on Tuesday, they expected to trade Garoppolo at the start of the new league year in March. But shoulder surgery, coupled with extensive rehabilitation to combine with musical chairs at quarterback this offseason — Garoppolo was left standing when the music stopped.
Most NFL organizations wouldn’t even consider that as a possibility – either because they botched the relationship with the player or because the player doesn’t want to come back to the team in any capacity.
The 49ers’ refreshing and honest approach to handling trade deals doesn’t always leave their players happy, but has certainly earned them enough respect to be able to maneuver a unique situation like this.
While I say that, I also don’t think Shanahan and Lynch deserve all the credit for being able to piece this all together. It also takes people of character like Garoppolo and Lance to be able to accept the situation and thrive in it.
It seems like many are focused on the potential drama that could result from this whole fiasco – including myself at times – but I think the 49ers ethos and culture will eventually overshadow any potential problems that could result, and I believe this will be a fruitful relationship for the 49ers.