San Francisco 49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo played against the Cowboys last weekend with a thumb injury on his throwing hand. He is now also facing a shoulder issue. Is Garoppolo playing against the Green Bay Packers? Will he start, or might we see Trey Lance?
Is Jimmy Garoppolo playing tonight vs. the Packers?
Ian Rapoport reported that Garoppolo would play this weekend, but “he won’t be 100%.” Garoppolo has been dealing with a torn ligament in his thumb for multiple weeks now. Making matters worse, he injured his shoulder against the Cowboys.
Defensive lineman Randy Gregory threw Garoppolo to the ground, and the QB was slow to get up, holding his arm awkwardly. The 49ers’ current starter is pretty banged up, but barring any changes between now and kickoff, he’ll be the starter for San Fran.
Should Trey Lance be playing?
There are certainly arguments for both sides. Garoppolo is clearly not 100% healthy, and the Packers will be able to take advantage of that. They can afford to pressure him a little more and possibly force a mistake. Garoppolo has thrown interceptions this season while healthy, so he certainly runs the risk while playing through a couple of injury concerns.
Garoppolo’s leadership and determination to stay out on the field are admirable. But at what point does a decision have to be made that may swing the outcome of this very important playoff game at Lambeau Field? If Jimmy G starts, you know what you’re likely to get. Maybe 170-200 yards passing, with 1 touchdown and 1 interception. If Lance plays the game, what could be different?
A different approach
Lance’s ability to run might be the difference in the game, particularly in the weather conditions we’re expecting to see. It’s January football in Green Bay, meaning snow and a freezing cold temperature. Lance could throw for 200 yards in the same way Jimmy might be able to, but he also adds an extra element with his legs to threaten the defense.
However, is throwing your rookie QB into a Divisional Round playoff game in the Packers’ backyard — where they haven’t lost all season — going to be the best thing for him as the future of the franchise? Is the argument that he’s a professional you’ve spent a lot of draft capital on and should be ready for any and all challenges? I could see that side of it too.
This is a very difficult situation for the 49ers. No matter what happens, their quarterback needs to play well. That way, even if they lose, there won’t be the “what if” attached to the game. Honestly, I think we’ll see both QBs, and I like that it forces the Packers to prepare equally for two very different players in Lance and Jimmy G.