San Francisco 49ers fullback Kyle Juszczyk anticipates Jimmy Garoppolo being the team's starting quarterback in 2021, provided he can stay healthy.
Appearing on the Ross Tucker Football Podcast on Wednesday (h/t David Bonilla of 49ers Webzone), Juszczyk discussed his expectations for the Niners' quarterback situation in 2021: "I'm a realistic guy, and I know the numbers. Correct me if I'm wrong. I don't think there's been a rookie quarterback that's won a Super Bowl, so I'm aware of that. My thought is that as long as Jimmy's healthy, I think he's our guy."
Garoppolo is the incumbent starter in San Francisco, but the 49ers moved up in the first round of the 2021 NFL draft to select quarterback Trey Lance with the No. 3 overall pick, which suggests it may not be long before he takes the reins.
The 29-year-old Garoppolo is set to enter his fifth season with the Niners after beginning his career as Tom Brady's backup with the New England Patriots.
Jimmy G has largely been successful in San Francisco, going 22-8 as a starter during the regular season, but injuries have held him back.
He has missed at least 10 games in three of his four seasons as a member of the Niners, including last season when an ankle ailment limited him to just six contests.
Garoppolo wasn't particularly good in those games either, going 3-3 and completing 67.1 percent of his passes for 1,096 yards, seven touchdowns and five interceptions.
The only season in San Francisco that Garoppolo was fully healthy for was 2019 when the Niners went 13-3. The signal-caller threw for a career-high 3,978 yards and 27 touchdowns, and the 49ers went to the Super Bowl.
That performance seems to have inspired confidence in Garoppolo from Juszczyk at the very least, but he did acknowledge the possibility of both Garoppolo and Lance playing a role in 2021:
"My thought and my hope is that Jimmy's ballin' but so is Trey during practice, and we can find ways to implement him into the offense and help us win games. So, that's just what I'm hoping for, and trying not to think about what the implications are, what it would really take for [Lance] to be the full-time starter. That most likely means either Jimmy's not playing well, which means the team's not doing well, or that means Jimmy's hurt, which we saw last year what happened when Jimmy was hurt."
Lance showed off a special skill set during his collegiate playing days at North Dakota State, but he has just one full season as a starter at the FCS level to his credit.
Because of that, Lance may need more seasoning and development than some of the other quarterbacks who were taken high in the 2021 NFL draft.
At the same time, Garoppolo's durability issues could press Lance into action early in the season, and if he succeeds when given the opportunity, Jimmy G's time in San Francisco may essentially be over.