(CBS San Francisco/CBS Local) — The San Francisco 49ers enter their Week 1 matchup with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with more questions than answers. At the top of the list may be quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. His less than stellar showing in the preseason has 49ers nation wondering: Is he their QB of the future, or even the present?
Garoppolo missed most of the 2018 season with a torn ACL, and was only serviceable in his short time before the injury. His first regular-season action this year may not be a strong gauge of his ability to lead this 49ers team. As SportsLine senior analyst Larry Hartstein sees it, “given how bad each of these defenses are, I don’t think we’re going to have much of an adjustment period at all. I think both teams are going to excel through the air.”
It still would be nice to see your high-priced quarterback, returning from injury, excel in a game situation, even if this Bucs defense won’t provide the challenge of a reasonable NFL defense. And Garoppolo has some talent to work with. As Hartstein sums it up, “You’ve got Tevin Coleman. You’ve got Marquise Goodwin back. You’ve got, of course, George Kittle.”
The 49ers defense will also have its hands full Sunday, as the Buccaneers aerial attack features its own array of weapons. “You look at the Bucs, with Chris Godwin, Mike Evans, O.J. Howard, Jameis Winston,” according to Hartstein, “with Bruce Arians calling the plays, being aggressive down the field. He doesn’t care if Winston throws an interception or two. He’s going to keep attacking against that 49ers pass defense, one of the worst in the League last year.”
This game has the makings of a high-scoring affair. But even if Garoppolo turns in a big afternoon, it shouldn’t be interpreted to mean he’s back and ready to lead the 49ers to greatness… at least not yet.
The 49ers meet the Buccaneers Sunday @ 1:25 PT.