When Trey Lance tossed a 5-yard touchdown pass to Trent Sherfield on his first career throw as a 49er, Jimmy Garoppolo was among the first teammates to celebrate with the rookie on the sideline.
FOX analyst and former NFL quarterback Mark Sanchez noted on the broadcast that it had to be hard for Garoppolo to celebrate with Lance, whom the 49ers drafted with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, to replace him.
On Tuesday, Garoppolo went on KNBR's "Murph and Mac" and admitted it was awkward.
“He’s not wrong,” Garoppolo said of Sanchez with a chuckle. “Nah, it is what it is type of situation. It’s one of those we had a good drive, marched down there. Kyle [Shanahan] called the package, and he’s the head coach. Whatever he calls, goes.
"Just one of those things that you can only control what you can control. And I’m out there with my boys, making the best of it, having a good time. At the end of the day, we’re playing football, trying to get a win. Whatever it takes. It is what it is, you know?”
Lance played just four snaps in the 49ers' 41-33 win over the Detroit Lions, while Garoppolo efficiently commanded the offense for the majority of the day.
Heading into the season, Garoppolo was hesitant about the idea of a QB rotation with Lance. He worried that it'd make it hard to stay in rhythm. But after Sunday, Garoppolo no longer believes that will be the case, based on how Shanahan used Lance.
San Francisco 49ers
“If it was series by series, which I think when we were talking, that was kind of what the thought was, that really would’ve been more the rhythm thing,” Garoppolo told The MMQB's Albert Breer after the game. “Because that was in the discussions for a little bit, and I was like, ‘You know, I don’t know how that’s going to work, just being out for that long and not throwing.’ Switching off like how we’re doing it, it’s different. The rhythm thing doesn’t matter as much — one or two plays isn’t too bad.”
Garoppolo knows this likely is his last year in San Francisco, and is focused on trying to lead the 49ers back to the Super Bowl before he hands the keys over to Lance.
The QB rotation makes for an awkward situation, but Garoppolo is making the best of it and showing why he is a great leader and locker-room favorite in the process.