Joe Santoro: Time for 49ers’ Jimmy GQ to show he’s worth the money | NevadaAppeal.com

Joe Santoro: Time for 49ers’ Jimmy GQ to show he’s worth the money

Joe Santoro
For the Nevada Appeal

Is Jimmy Garoppolo of the San Francisco 49ers overrated, overpaid and overhyped? Well, we will likely find out this year. If he stays healthy. Tom Brady’s former backup will turn 28 years old in early November. This is his sixth year in the NFL and he has started just 10 games and thrown for just 17 touchdowns and 2,968 yards in his career. He’s never thrown a pass in a playoff game. The most games he has started in a season is five (2017). And he makes just under $30 million a year. He was intercepted during one practice this week on five consecutive passes. The best thing about Garoppolo so far is his nickname (Jimmy GQ). It is time for him to justify the hype and salary.

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Competition at quarterback in the NFC West is going to be heated over the next decade or so. They are all young (Garoppolo, the Rams’ Jared Goff, Russell Wilson of Seattle and Kyler Murray of Arizona), confident and talented. If the 49ers are going to survive in the NFC West, they need Garoppolo to mature quickly. That’s why it’s time for the 49ers to put some legitimate weapons around their GQ QB. Flipping a dozen or so passes to tight end George Kittle every game won’t get it done.

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The Nevada Wolf Pack has sold alcohol at Mackay Stadium since its Division I-AA days in the late 1970s. When the Pack joined I-A in 1992, it was just one of a handful of teams (about 1 percent of all schools) in I-A that sold alcohol at its home football games. Well, it seems the Wolf Pack was well ahead of its time. Due to declining attendance and a need to drain every possible dollar out of its fan bases, more and more programs are joining in the fun and selling alcohol at home games. Just under half of the 130 Division I-A teams will do so this year and that number will likely climb rapidly in the near future. Every team in the Mountain West allows alcohol sales in at least in its luxury suites except Utah State. Ain’t no party, after all, like a Mountain West party.

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When is the NCAA going to wake up and allow its football programs to play at least one preseason game? The NCAA allows its college basketball teams to play fake games before the real games start so why not football? Coaches would relish the chance to evaluate players in actual competition. Fans would appreciate a peek at an opponent they wouldn’t normally see in the regular season. Make every player in the program eligible for the game. Cut the quarters down to 10 or 12 minutes. Don’t allow tackling of the quarterbacks. Make season ticket holders buy a ticket to the game, like the NFL. No never-ending TV timeouts and commercials. The whole thing would get done in two hours. And everyone would benefit.

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The 2020 Major League Baseball season will begin March 26. Too early? Well, the NCAA men’s basketball Final Four won’t begin until April 4. There will be games March 26 at such warm-weather spring break vacation spots as Toronto, Baltimore, Chicago, Cleveland, Milwaukee and New York. Baseball obviously believes in global warming. But tell that to the fans in Chicago, Milwaukee and Cleveland who might have to shovel their driveway March 26 in order to get to the ballpark.

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Baseball will conduct its Players Weekend Aug. 23-25 and, as usual, there will be some unique nicknames on the backs of jerseys. You’ll have the old standards (Madison Bumgarner will be MAD-BUM and Pablo Sandoval will, of course, be PANDA. But a few will be memorable, like Josh Phegley (PTBNL, which stands for player to be named later), Eric Thames (Phone Home, for his initials which were made famous by the movie E.T.) and Francisco Lindor, who will have a smiley face emoji followed by MR. SMILE followed by another smiley face emoji. J.A. Happ will have JDOT ADOT and Minnesota Twins pitcher Devin Smeltzer, a cancer survivor, will have #CATCHCANCERLOOKING on the back of his uniform. The NCAA should allow such creativity by its athletes also.

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Former Nevada Wolf Pack wide receiver Rishard Matthews announced his retirement from the NFL this week after seven (2011-18) seasons. Matthews is arguably the second greatest NFL wide receiver to come from the University of Nevada behind Nate Burleson. Matthews caught 230 passes for 3,160 yards and 21 touchdowns for three (Miami, Tennessee, the Jets) teams. Burleson caught 457 passes for 5,630 yards and 39 touchdowns for three (Detroit, Seattle, Minnesota) teams from 2003-13. Who is third on that Pack NFL wide receiver list? Alex Van Dyke, who caught 26 passes for 219 yards and three scores for the Jets and Eagles from 1996-2000. Trevor Insley caught 14 passes for the 2001 Indianapolis Colts and wide receivers coach Jay Norvell.

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It seems like Northern Nevada is not going to get the Oakland Raiders’ summer training camp after all. At least not in the near future. The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported recently that the Raiders will likely remain in Napa, Calif., in July and August next year and are currently looking to extend their stay at their Napa Valley Marriott-Redwood Middle School site in Napa for quite some time. The story reported that conflicts with the Wolf Pack football team’s training camp (starting in early August) and Northern Nevada’s altitude were concerns for the Raiders. The Raiders will move to Las Vegas (for their regular season home) starting in 2020.