Sports

What’s behind Jimmy G’s surprising long-ball accuracy?


SANTA CLARA — Jimmy Garoppolo doesn’t spend a lot of time analyzing how far his passes travel, but he was proud of himself for the last ball he threw in the regular season finale against the Seattle Seahawks.

Even though it cost the 49ers quarterback $7,000 after being fined by the NFL.

It went some 35 to 40 yards in the air, directly to Garoppolo’s intended receiver, a 49ers fan in the stands who had made the trip from the Bay Area to Seattle to see the 49ers clinch home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.

“Pretty accurate on the throw, I thought,” Garoppolo said Tuesday before practice as the 49ers prepared to face the Minnesota Vikings in the divisional round of the NFL playoffs. “I wasn’t trying to start a riot or anything. I was trying to throw it to that specific guy and he made a great catch on it.”

It’s been one of the surprise storylines of Garoppolo’s season. He’s emerged as one of the NFL’s most accurate deep passers, even if he doesn’t cut loose all that often.

While the Minnesota Vikings Saturday will be prepared for the 49ers’ array of crossing routes, pick plays and other passes designed to travel a minimum through the air with the idea of scheme creating run after catch, they’ll also have to get ready for Garoppolo to drop back and wing it a time or two.

According to one stat, Garoppolo has a 97.7 passer rating on throws which travel 16 or more yards in the air, the best figure in the league. Playerprofiler.com has calculated that Garoppolo’s completion percentage of 55.6 percent is the best in the NFL on passes of 20 or more yards in the air.

Garoppolo is the only regular starting quarterback over 50 percent in that metric, with the Cowboys’ Dak Prescott (48.7 percent) No.2 and Patrick Mahomes of the Chiefs No. 3 (48.5).

Not bad for a quarterback who was catching grief for his deep ball accuracy early in 2018 before being sidelined with a torn ACL.

Coach Kyle Shanahan isn’t spending time figuring out how to beef up Garoppolo’s deep passing stats. The 36 passes of 20 or more yards (he’s completed 20) in the air is the fewest among NFL regular starters. Aaron Rodgers has 94 such passes and has completed 34 percent, Russell Wilson 83 for 39.8 percent and DeShaun Watson 82 for 42 percent.

“I’d probably embarrass myself if I sat up there and talked too much about stats because I guarantee you guys know them better than me,” Shanahan said. “I just watch every play and I kind of just have a pretty good feeling whether he’s playing good or not.”

Garoppolo, originally drafted by the Patriots, has a predictably simplistic idea of what stat makes a quarterback a success. A career record of 21-5 indicates he’s on the right track.

Wide receiver Kendrick Bourne admires Jimmy Garappolo’s ability to take the extra split-second to throw a long pass. Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group

“Honestly, I don’t really look at the stats,” …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Sports

      

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