In a week where just about every analyst has a take on the 49ers' quarterback situation, former NFL coach Sean Payton is siding with Jimmy Garoppolo.
Payton foresees a scenario in which Garoppolo unseats Trey Lance and reclaims his role as the 49ers' starting quarterback this season.
"I think there are seven or eight teams that we’re gonna see, not because of injury, we’re gonna see more than one quarterback play," Payton said on the "The Herd" earlier this week. "I think, and I believe, don’t kid yourself, that we’re gonna see Garoppolo back in that lineup.”
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The 49ers' stunning 19-10 loss to the Chicago Bears on Sunday was Lance's third career start, but first with the pressure of being the team's full-time answer under center. Lance threw for 164 yards and one interception on 13-of-28 passing against the Bears as he dealt with a heavy downpour and bad conditions at Soldier Field late in the game.
Still, though, Payton believes he has seen enough from Lance to warrant Garoppolo taking the reins of coach Kyle Shanahan's offense.
“So here’s the pickle if you’re [49ers general manager] John [Lynch] and if you’re Kyle," Payton said. "You drafted this kid so high. Man, it’s hard to sell to the the guy upstairs writing the check that well, our little binky, our blanket, is Garoppolo, right? But we’re going to start this guy. We’re committed to starting him, but at some point, we’re not having the rest of the roster sitting there ready to win.”
The former NFL coach predicted that San Francisco would join the Miami Dolphins, Seattle Seahawks, Carolina Panthers and Cleveland Browns as teams that will start multiple quarterbacks this season due to poor performance.
San Francisco 49ers
Of those teams named, only the Dolphins also feature a quarterback they selected high in the NFL draft -- Tua Tagovailoa, selected No. 5 overall in 2020.
Payton coached the New Orleans Saints for 15 seasons from 2006-21 before stepping down after last season. He had future Hall of Fame quarterback Drew Brees for all but one of those campaigns -- last year, when the Saints started four different players at quarterback -- Taysom Hill, Jameis Winston, Trevor Siemian and Ian Book.
After the season, Payton announced he was stepping away from coaching.
Lance will get his next chance to prove Payton wrong Sunday when the 49ers collide against the Seattle Seahawks at Levi's Stadium.