Ratto: 49ers Betting On Jimmy G's Face

Jimmy Garoppolo could be a good quarterback, but no one knows for sure after five starts, Ray Ratto says

August 16, 2018 - 9:06 am

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The San Francisco 49ers enter the 2018 season with high expectations. In fact, they enter the 2018 season with almost unrealistic expectations, as many fans expect them to go from 6-10 to Super Bowl contenders 

“I have never seen in my (almost) 70 years on this planet a team that has gotten so much public support based on the face of its quarterback – because that’s what they’re betting here,” NBC Sports Bay Area columnist Ray Ratto said on Ferrall on the Bench. “They are betting Jimmy Garoppolo’s face. He could turn out to be a great quarterback, but nobody knows that based on the information they have now because he’s had five starts in that town. They won them all and he put up numbers that previous 49er quarterbacks haven’t put up since Jeff Garcia.”

Indeed, Garoppolo completed 67.4 percent of his passes for 1,560 yards, seven touchdowns and five interceptions last season. The 49ers rewarded him with a five-year, $137.5 million contract, fully committing to him as their quarterback of the future.

“I don’t think this year is that future,” Ratto said. “If you think they’re going to be in the playoffs, you’re looking at 10 or 11 wins. I don’t think they’re four games better than they were a year ago because I still think their defense is suspect. I also am not convinced that defensive coordinators, given nine months to look at Garoppolo tape, won’t be able to figure out the things he doesn’t do well and then make him adjust to them. 

“I think that is when you find out how good a quarterback is,” Ratto continued. “It’s not the rookie year; it’s the second year after everybody’s gotten a look at you. If he turns out to be as good as he was last year, then yeah, he’s the real deal – but I need to see that first. And until then, this looks like a team that is slightly better than a year ago. I would say 8-8 – and clearly not as good as the Rams barring injury.”

In the AFC West, meanwhile, Ratto isn’t convinced that Jon Gruden can fix the Raiders.

“I think any team that can’t figure out the wisdom of signing Khalil Mack probably has bigger problems than Jon Gruden can solve,” Ratto said. “I think they will eventually sign him, but they will sign him at a number that will mean that they will resent him because he’s got the leverage here. He could end up with Jon Gruden hating his guts. But if they don’t have him, they have sent a message to every free agent in football that they’re not only a team you don’t want to play for, but they’re not a team that’s going to pay for you, either. So you scratch them off your list entirely.”

That, of course, does not bode well for a team’s long-term prospects.

“If you can’t get any free agents, it means you have to draft brilliantly year after year after year,” Ratto said. “And that is not anybody’s history. You will have down years. This is not the 12-4 team of two years ago. This is a 6-10 team. Their margin for error is really thin. Without him, you’re basically saying, ‘We don’t mind if we suck.’”