QB Jimmy Garoppolo Press Conference

QB Jimmy Garoppolo

Press Conference – October 22, 2020

San Francisco 49ers

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Just wondering if this week reminds you at all of your first game, your first start for the 49ers which was in your hometown? Is the excitement level similar to that and how do you sort of manage excitement levels when it comes to locations of games?

“Yeah, definitely. Yeah, it’s an exciting week. Get to go back to where it all started for my NFL career, but it’s a little different than the Chicago week two years ago. I feel like I’ve come a long way, learning the offense and things like that. So, I feel a little different going into this one, but the excitement level, it’s the exact same. It’s an exciting week and can’t wait for Sunday.”

One of the things New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick told us this week about the pre-draft process with you is that he knew it’d be a transition for you because you didn’t do a whole lot of stuff under center or play action, turn your back to the defense, that type of stuff. How much did the Patriots coaching staff help you improve that part of your game, just given now that it’s so important with what you do in this offense?

“Tremendously. Coach Belichick was right about that. My college offense, like every college offense, it’s just so different than the NFL game. Mike points, ID in the fronts, coverages, all that stuff you had to do in New England and so it kind of set me up for everything here. Made the transition a lot easier, but initially I can remember the first OTAs and training camp, it was rough going from college to the NFL. That’s why, when you see these guys come in and start right away, it’s impressive.”

I remember when you first showed up off the plane in 2017, we were asking you much of questions about the Bay Area and obviously you hadn’t been anywhere yet, and you were excited to see everything. Obviously, now you’ve lived in the Bay for a few years. I’m wondering, now that you’re going back to Boston, now you can compare and contrast, both NFL regions that you’ve been in. What do you miss about Boston? What’s different about the Bay Area? What are your general impressions of having been able to live and play on both coasts?

“We’d be here for a while if I told you all the differences. It was quite a change, honestly. Whether it’s the organization, the fan base, the weather is drastically different, which I really like the West coast weather. So, pretty easy to get used to, but everything. Honestly everything was different. The one consistency, I would say, is the locker room. It was a similar atmosphere as far as people being together, pulling in the same direction. That was one thing that, when I initially got traded here, I was just going to be a free agent at the end of the year, but it really stuck out to me just how together this team was. It was a young team, but at the same time, the connection, it was real and guys weren’t faking it. That’s why I fell in love with this team.”

What’s the number one rule in facing a Bill Belichick defense?

“Number one rule? Is this a trick question or something?”

No, you should know if there’s a question. If there’s an answer, you should know it.

“It’s really just, you’ve got to be on your toes. I think finding the safeties is a big part of that. They do a good job mixing and matching their DBs. A lot of different personnel groups, but at the end of the day, you’ve just got to go play ball. They’re going to do something that we’re not preparing for and at the end of the day, you’ve got to play ball.”

Obviously, the Dolphins with Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores and even some of your former teammates with the Patriots, a certain storyline was you didn’t have your best game and maybe they’re onto you. Now you’re facing Bill Belichick. So, anyway, not that you’re like, ‘Oh geez, what am I going to do now,’ but obviously he knows you very well and more so than maybe most weeks, might that be a challenge that you look forward to?

“Well, my ankle is feeling a lot better than it was in the Miami week. So, I think that’ll definitely help out a little bit. As far as the scheme, they come from the same tree, but that type of defensive scheme is so, you’ve just got to be ready for anything. They could do what they’re showing on film, they could not. So, it’s kind of just, it’s a game plan defense and you’ve just got to be ready for in game adjustments.”

Super important question. TE George Kittle just told us that you inadvertently created national tight end day a few years ago. Do you remember that and also does that disappoint you that there’s not a national quarterback day?

“Nah, I’m all right with it just being national tight end day. Those guys, they need some love too. They don’t get enough of it in my opinion. It was the Detroit game, my second year here, I think. Yeah, I was just trying to get George, [former San Francisco 49ers TE Garrett] Celek all those guys fired up. Started declaring it national tight end day and now it’s a holiday. So, congrats for those guys.”

Bill Belichick clearly loved coaching you, you can hear it in his voice when he talks about you. What did you like about playing for him?

“There’s a number of things. Coach being my first coach in the NFL, he was just very honest. Really never beat around the bush. He was very black and white with everything that he did and that’s kind of how I am. I really appreciated that from him. Just whether it was my first day there or when I got traded, he always shot me straight. I think just when you’re talking about just man to man, that’s all you can really ask for at the end of the day.”

There was a huge performance change from the Miami game to last week, and of course your help was involved in that, but it seemed like there was a communication breakdown in that other week as opposed to last week. Was there a difference in communication? Was there something that was working better for you all?

“Communication between who?”

 Just between you and the line and everybody on the offense? It seemed like everything moved smoother. Was it better communication? Were there issues the week before? What was fixed?

“No, personally, my ankle just was getting better and better and I think it’ll keep doing that week after week. That personally was my biggest game, but yeah, I don’t know. I wouldn’t say there was one thing in particular that stuck out. It was just guys going out and executing. I think what happened in the Miami game put a sense of urgency underneath everyone, kind of lit a fire under them and I think it was good for our guys. We had a great week of practice and it transferred to Sunday.”

Given your familiarity with Belichick and that defense, do you find yourself, do you find your mind trying to anticipate what they’re going to do against you? Do you have to sort of guard against that, kind of letting yourself kind of focus in on one particular thing that they might do?

“Yeah, it’s kind of a balancing act. You know these little intricacies and things like that, but you’re also watching the film and breaking it down that way. So yeah, it’s a lot of information that you’re breaking down and taking in, but at the end of the day, you’ve just got to go out there and play football. When you get between those white lines, they could do the same coverages, different coverages that they’ve been planning. You’ve just got to go play ball.”