Phil Simms calls 49ers best NFL team, says Jimmy Garoppolo can improve

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Alex Didion
·3 min read
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The 49ers were minutes away from being the champions of Super Bowl LIV. Holding a 10-point lead entering the fourth quarter, Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs made plays when it mattered and ended up coming out on top.

Jimmy Garoppolo and Kyle Shanahan rightfully took the brunt of the criticism following San Francisco's loss, but Hall of Fame quarterback and CBS NFL analyst Phil Simms thinks not only were the 49ers the better team on that field in Miami Gardens, but he believes San Francisco is the NFL's top squad for 2020.

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"I'll say it probably on the first Sunday of the NFL Today," Simms told 95.7 The Game's "Damon, Ratto and Kolsky" show on Thursday. "I think the 49ers are the best team in football, and the only criticism I will have, is to let the quarterback stay in the rhythm of game, and attack the sidelines a little more.

"That would be the only thing, lot of passes over the middle. The Chiefs, at the end of that game, were daring them to throw it outside."

[RELATED: Five bold predictions for 49ers' 2020 season]

When you examine how Garoppolo's passer rating looks in each section of the field, Simms' appraisal seems somewhat fair. When throwing between 10 and 20 yards in the right third of the field, Garoppolo's passer rating was just 49.1, well below the league average of 78.6 for that spot. Same goes for the right third behind the line of scrimmage, where Jimmy G has a 74.6 passer rating, compared to an 87.3 league average.

He also was just below average on throws 10 to 20 yards down the field on the left third  of the field. Those throws often are the most difficult for quarterbacks to make, as balls tend to be floated and more easily intercepted if underthrown to the sidelines.

But when looking at Garoppolo's chart, there also is a lot of green where Garoppolo's passer rating was well above the league average. In fact, seven of the 12 sections of the field tracked by Next Gen Stats show Garoppolo were above average.

Shanahan is a savvy coach, and he knew exactly what Garoppolo was capable of in 2019, and built the offense to compliment Jimmy G's strengths while hiding his weaknesses behind an elite run game and bulldozing offensive line.

It is expected that Shanahan will open up the playbook more for Garoppolo in his second full year as the starting QB, so the NFL world likely will get a much better chance to evaluate Jimmy G's potential in 2020. It should help 49ers fans to know that according to Simms, Garoppolo leading the class of the NFL onto the field every week.

[49ERS INSIDER PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

Phil Simms calls 49ers best NFL team, says Jimmy Garoppolo can improve originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area