Jimmy Garoppolo will face three-straight top-10 pass-rushing defenses as the 49ers try to play spoiler for playoff teams in the final games of the season. (Stan Olszewski/Special to S.F. Examiner)

Jimmy Garoppolo will face three-straight top-10 pass-rushing defenses as the 49ers try to play spoiler for playoff teams in the final games of the season. (Stan Olszewski/Special to S.F. Examiner)

Final stretch promises to be tough test for Jimmy Garoppolo, 49ers

Jimmy Garoppolo has had a blessed tenure as the 49ers’ starting quarterback.

He made his first start near his hometown against the Chicago Bears and their lame duck coach. He followed that with an impressive, if painful, outing against the 4-9 Houston Texans. But now the degree of difficulty is going to be turned up for the Niners’ final three games of the season.

The Tennessee Titans and their 37 sacks (fifth most in the NFL) come to Santa Clara today. Next week, it’ll be the Jacksonville Jaguars — owners of the league’s best pass-rushing unit. Finally, they’ll wrap it up at the Los Angeles Coliseum against the Rams, who — wait for it — also experience a lot of success when rushing the quarterback.

And in case that wasn’t daunting enough, Garoppolo and the 49ers will have to handle those significant challenges without one of their best offensive lineman.

Head coach Kyle Shanahan announced Friday the team was moving right tackle Trent Brown to the injured reserve after the shoulder injury that held him out of last week’s contest hadn’t improved.

“Trent tried to battle through it,” Shanahan told reporters. “… Trent is a very important part of this place, of our future.”

And he would’ve been an important part of keeping Garoppolo clean in the pocket against the most daunting pass rush the league has to offer.

Now, it’ll be Zane Beadles who bookends the right side of the line. Replacing Brown’s productivity — he’s widely regarded as one of the best tackles in the league — is a tough ask for the interior-lineman by trade. Despite carrying a 30.9 overall ranking (for context: that isn’t good), Beadles has a believer in his head coach.

“I have a lot of confidence going into games with Zane because the game isn’t too big for him,” Shanahan said. “If we put him on an island, he’ll struggle like anybody. … But if he gets beat, he won’t shut down.”

His presence is going to force Shanahan to alter blocking schemes because it would be a borderline cruelty to expect him to guard Brian Orakpo without some help. (The Niners did get a reprieve of sorts on Friday, when Tennessee ruled Derrick Morgan out with a knee sprain.)

Losing an offensive foundation like Brown is going to make Garoppolo’s first start in Levi’s Stadium more difficult than the Faithful would prefer to see.

It’ll be a true test of his ability to make quick decisions and deliver the ball accurately. Because there’s opportunity against the Titans secondary, which is in the bottom 10 for passing yards allowed.

It isn’t under ideal circumstances, but — for this week, at least — the 49ers are in good position to keep their hot streak going. And they don’t hide the fact they want to play spoiler with their remaining contests.

Shanahan sees it as another learning opportunity.

“People are playing for their lives, and we’re going to get that from a team on Sunday,” Shanahan said. “I want us to have that intensity every time we line up.”

And if Garoppolo can pass these three tests, it’ll be the most joyous offseason for a losing team the Bay Area has ever seen.

Contact Examiner Sports Editor Jacob C. Palmer at jpalmer@sfexaminer.com or on Twitter, @jacobc_palmer.

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

San Francisco Police Chief Bill Scott listens at a rally to commemorate the life of George Floyd and others killed by police outside City Hall on Monday, June 1, 2020. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Will the Biden Administration help SF speed up police reform?

City has struggled to implement changes without federal oversight

Lowell High School (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Students, families call for culture shift at Lowell after racist incident

District to explore changes including possible revision of admissions policy

Alan Wong was among California National Guard members deployed to Sacramento to provide security the weekend before the presidential inauguration. (Courtesy photo)
CCSF board member tests positive for COVID-19 after National Guard deployment

Alan Wong spent eight days in Sacramento protecting State Capitol before Inauguration Day

Due to a lack of votes in his favor, record-holding former Giant Barry Bonds (pictured at tribute to Willie McCovey in 2018) will not be entering the National Baseball Hall of Fame in the near future.<ins> (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)</ins>
Ex-Giants star Barry Bonds again falls short of Hall of Fame

After striking out yet again in his bid to join Major League… Continue reading

San Francisco firefighter Keith Baraka has filed suit against The City alleging discrimination on the basis of race and sexual orientation.<ins></ins>
Gay black firefighter sues city for discrimination

A San Francisco firefighter who says he was harassed and discriminated against… Continue reading

Most Read