Richard Sherman found Jimmy Garoppolo's tell, so Garoppolo is using it to his advantage
It turns out, Garoppolo's release is fast but also predictable
Richard Sherman has been Jimmy Garoppolo's teammate in San(Francisco)ta Clara and he's already identified Garoppolo's tell -- a potentially hazardous flaw that opposing defenses might be able to use stop the unstoppable quarterback. It's either that or Sherman is spreading misinformation so that defenses look for a flaw in Garoppolo's game when really his only flaw is that he's started only seven games in his career.
Last week, Sherman told reporters how it's easy to identify when Garoppolo will be releasing the ball because he almost always fires away when he takes his hand off the ball.
"You just need to read him. Hand off ball, he's letting it go," Sherman said. "You have to be decisive when you make those decisions. If he takes his hand off the ball and doesn't throw it, I think he'll throw guys off. But when he takes his hand off the ball, you've got to be ready to break."
It's worth noting that Sherman, who also said it was evident that Garoppolo learned under Tom Brady, wasn't trying to criticize Garoppolo. The quote above came in response to a question about Garoppolo's quick release and it was preceded by Sherman praising that particular aspect of Garoppolo's game.
"It's definitely pretty quick," Sherman said. "It's not A-Rod quick, but it's definitely quicker than most quarterbacks."
Still, the fact remains that Garoppolo's started only seven games in his career. Though he's gone 7-0 in those starts and he set the NFL on fire when he started the final five games of the 49ers' season a year ago after , he's not yet viewed as a sure-fire superstar only because of his limited experience. The upcoming season will be the most revealing of Garoppolo's career. Not only will he enter the season after spending an entire offseason soaking up Kyle Shanahan's playbook and system, but opposing defenses will enter the season with access to Garoppolo's film.
That's where the tell comes into play. The tell isn't as obvious as KGB's tell in "Rounders" (spoiler alert in that link), but it's obvious enough that Sherman's already picked up on it. And if Sherman picked up on the tell after a few minicamp and OTA practices, then opposing defenses and coaches will too. So, it'll be important for Garoppolo to adapt and adjust as defenses adapt and adjust to him.
The good news is that Sherman and the defense have already told Garoppolo about it. So, Garoppolo has an entire summer to work on his predictability. Plus, Garoppolo is already using that tendency against the 49ers' defense in practice.
"He's like a coach out there," Garoppolo said of Sherman. "He's watching everything. The defense, they've told me that, but at the same time, I use that against them because they're thinking that. So, it's a game of cat-and-mouse. It always is. They're reading you, you're reading them at the same time. It's a who-flinches-first type of thing. We've had some good battles and it's been a good camp."
If Garoppolo replicates the success he saw last season during the upcoming season, go ahead and anoint him. But if he doesn't, keep in mind that he's still a young quarterback adapting to life as a starting NFL quarterback. There'll likely be growing pains at some point in the near future. Though, maybe with the help of Sherman and Shanahan, Garoppolo can fast-forward past the learning stages and skip straight to the superstar portion of his career.
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