LA Rams: Wednesday walkabout of the NFC West

Mandatory Credit: Asb 1126 Thanksgiving Dinner
Mandatory Credit: Asb 1126 Thanksgiving Dinner /
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LA Rams NFC West
Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports /

San Francisco 49ers

The San Francisco 49ers spent 2020 with a quarterback by committee approach to rival the running back by committee.  So how successful was that approach, who has the inside track to start in 2021?

Jay Blucher: Forced by injuries to adopt a QB by Committee, the position was a revolving door all year long for the Niners.

It seemed as if Jimmy Garoppolo spent more time in the booth watching his team play due to injury than he spent on the field helping his team.  Jimmy G will have missed 23 games throughout the last three seasons due to injury. And when he has managed to take the field, he has been plagued by inconsistent play.

Uncomfortable Truths Department memo: In the whopping six games he played in during the 2020 season his stat line was 1096 yards, seven TDs, and five INTs.

Despite leading his team to a Super Bowl appearance in 2020, the criticism of Garropolo has reached a crescendo, and now, his fragility as a starting NFL QB is openly questioned.

Backup QB C.J. Beathard played in 6 games, threw for 787 yards, 6 TDs, with no INTs. And Nick Mullens saw action in 10 games and threw for 2437 yards, but he had as many TDs as he did INTs at 12.

That’s not exactly the definition of a three-headed monster.

Must Read. LA Rams must kick the tires on QB Robert Griffin III for QB competition. light

Bret Stuter: The San Francisco 49ers swept the LA Rams, but would only go 4-10 against the remaining teams on their schedule. Despite the false bravado, that is nowhere near where the team or its fans hoped to finish this year.  And part of the poor results this season was anchored in poorer than expected play from the quarterback position.

The 2019 version of the 49ers offense ran from the fingertips of 49ers’ young quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. He started all 16 games, threw 331 of 478 for 3,978 yards, 27 TDs, and 13 INTs. In 2020, the Rams had all three quarterbacks involved in at least one-third of the games. Statistically, the leader of the group was Nick Mullins, who saw action in 10 games.  Yes, he threw for 2,437 yards but tossing 12 TDs and 12 INTs won’t strike fear into any opponent.  Garoppolo was the most accurate of the trio, but his 1,096 yards and seven TDs came at the risk of five INTs. So he was hardly the answer. For the least risk, the 49ers had CJ Beathard. He was the least accurate or productive with just 787 yards, but he did toss six TDs and zero picks.

Mullins, Beathard, and a late-season signed Josh Rosen are all free agents this season. And yes, Garoppolo is under contract for two more years. But that contract has no more guaranteed money and can be severed with only minimal financial impact to the team. So will the 49ers retain any of the three? Or just scrap ’em all and start over? The sense is that the 49ers will do a bit of both, likely keeping one veteran and pairing him up with a free agent veteran to compete for the starting role.