Sunday’s Week 13 contest between the 49ers and Bears features two starting quarterbacks that were acquired this year to be the face of their respective franchises. Chicago selected Mitch Trubisky No. 2 overall after trading up just one spot with San Francisco. Jimmy Garoppolo was a second round pick in 2014 by New England, but after three years of scant playing time behind Tom Brady, coach Bill Belichick was forced to move the impending free agent and made a call to 49ers GM John Lynch at the trade deadline.
While both players look the part, neither is a sure thing, and there are a seemingly endless number of ways a career can derail for an NFL signal caller. For now, though, there is widespread optimism in both San Francisco and Chicago. Let’s see how these two stack up.
The two are nearly identical in size with Tribisky having a three-tenths advantage in 40-yard dash time. Garoppolo isn’t quite the athlete Trubisky is, especially in a straight line, but he does have good feet and lateral agility that help him elude rushers in and out of the pocket. Both quarterbacks ranked among the best at their position groups at the combine in the 3-cone drill.
When it comes to raw arm strength, the rookie also has an advantage. It’s not like Garoppolo has a noodle, though, and his lightning quick release helps an above average arm play up. Neither player has a problem making “NFL throws” to any part of the field with accuracy. If Trubisky has an edge in the tools department, can Garoppolo claim better production with a three year head start in the league?
It’s been touch and go for the former Tarheel in his debut season for the Bears. Trubisky is competing just over half of his pass attempts and has thrown as many interceptions as touchdowns. Part of that is due to a lackluster group of receivers, but some fans have blamed coach John Fox for a vanilla offense and inability to develop a quarterback. In a Week 7 win over Carolina, Trubisky attempted only seven passes, completing four for 107 yards. The rookie is experiencing typical first-year growing pains, but has also shown enough flashes to make Bears fans very excited about his future.
Shot 1 – Watching #Bears QB Mitchell Trubisky there are a lot of positive flashes. Put team in position to tie game w/ 1 min left vs DET. Anticipation, poise, quickness through progressions stood out. Second throw here should've been picked, but I loved everything else pre-throw pic.twitter.com/5kMyVzAPS5
— Fran Duffy (@fduffy3) November 22, 2017
It’s easy to see why Garoppolo is excited to finally get his his shot with San Francisco. Now in his fourth NFL season, he will see extended action for the first time. Despite attempting only half as many career passes as Trubisky, Garoppolo is a clear winner in production, completing 67.7 % of his passes with a 6:0 touchdown-to-interception ratio.
(To see a breakdown of Jimmy Garoppolo’s throws, check out Chris Wilson’s film room series)
Garoppolo has been under wraps so long, his persona is reaching folklore status. From his good looks to a fantastic two-game performance filling in for a suspended Tom Brady to begin the 2016 season, Jimmy G is becoming the NFL’s version of “The Most Interesting Man in the World”. One remarkable fact about Jimmy Garoppolo — he is the highest rated passer in NFL history for players with at least 90 career attempts.
If the Chicago area native continues to impress, #JimmyGaroppoloFacts will only get more outlandish.
— Brian Peacock (@BDPeacock) November 27, 2017
*Pearl Jam “Ten” was actually named after former NBA point guard Mookie Blaylock.