QB Jimmy Garoppolo Press Conference

QB Jimmy Garoppolo

Press Conference – December 15, 2021

San Francisco 49ers

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What kind of distinguishes the Falcons defense when you start to dive into their film?

“Very good tackling team. I think it starts there. The front is pretty talented, a couple guys who can pass rush pretty well and also play the run. But yeah, they’re solid across the board. I don’t know, they’re in a good spot right now it seems like.”

What do you mean by that?

“Their guys are playing well on the perimeter, playing well up front. Linebackers, [Atlanta Falcons LB] Deion Jones can run as well as anybody. So, it’s a good group.”

Early in the season, something like 80-percent of the completions were going to WR Deebo Samuel. This last game especially, you guys spread the ball around, even on that last drive I think four different receivers. How much more sustainable is offensive success and how important is to spread the ball around the way that you have?

“Tremendous. I can remember early in the season, Deebo getting all that attention and I think it opens other guys up. And then obviously, the injury, things happened with that, but I think whenever you can spread the ball like that to different positions and different guys at those positions, it makes it tough on defenses, especially in situational football. End of the, game third down, who’s going to get the ball, they have to defend everything.”

When you have a game like Sunday where TE George Kittle got so many balls, did you go into the game knowing, ‘okay, this is going to be a Kittle game?’ Do you have an idea of it or is it something that sort of just develops?

“You have an idea of it. I think more so probably around halftime, you really have a good feel for what they’re doing and how we’re going to attack it in the second half. But yeah, I couldn’t have told you that on Wednesday, George is going to have 13 catches or whatever, but you have an idea of it going into it.”

WR Jauan Jennings has had key moments that he made clutch catches. What has he done to earn your trust?

“J.J., it starts with his attitude, very positive guy. Even if he messes something up in practice, he’ll come up to me and he knows what he did wrong and he knows how to fix it. When a receiver can do that with a quarterback, you gain trust with each other, he gains it with me and vice versa. And he’s just done that day in day out. He really didn’t have a ton of opportunities early on, and now he’s getting his chance. When the ball’s thrown his way, the dude makes plays.”

After the Arizona game, you said that it felt like your backs were up against the wall and it helped you kind of lock in. How has that kind of carried forward into maybe as you go down the stretch here and chase the playoffs?

“It really put us into a, I don’t want to call it playoff mindset back then, but for a little while now, we’ve been in a playoff mindset. Just the way we prepare. You could feel it in the locker room, you could feel it on the practice field. It’s just that little bit of extra pressure, motivation, whatever you want to call it. It just helps guys lock in a little better.”

A lot of teams around the league are dealing with COVID outbreaks and it seems like the league’s ramping up stuff again. Has that been addressed with you guys and how have you guys avoided a lot of this this season?

“A little bit of luck. It’s really about putting the team first when you’re away from the facility, all those things that you do, they can come back to bite you in the butt on the back end. But I think guys realize what type of opportunity we have this year. I think coming down the stretch especially, things are starting to get pretty serious now. And we got a good group of guys and when we’re all on the same page like this, it makes for a good thing.”

A lot of examples this year, particularly recently in big moments and kind of big drives, you’ve done pretty well. It hasn’t always worked out, like Seattle. Just as a quarterback emotionally, do you feel like there are nerves, do you have a sense of calmness or what are your emotions like when you know, ‘okay, we have to convert this?’

“There’s definitely a lot of emotion, especially this past one. Just the way that they came back and everything, scored at the end there. I always catch myself just trying to calm down and let things happen as they may. You feel all of the energy around you, everyone going nuts and everything, but as the quarterback, you kind of just have to be in the middle of everything, kind of be the eye of the storm and just be right there. There’s really no secret to it. You just have to simplify it and go play football really.”

Is that something you learn through experience? Your first couple times, are you kind of internally freaking out?

“I’d say back in like high school, college, something like that. As a quarterback, you progress since you start playing and the more you get put in those situations, you just get more and more used to them. I’m trying to think of like a little secret or something, but there’s really no secret to it. You’ve just got to go play.”

As a group, the offense really struggled in the second half, for most of the second half. And then as a group, you just flip the switch in overtime. Is it just that you’ve been in this position before?

“Yeah, kind of what I was saying. Just the experience, even two years ago, we were in a lot of those same situations when it comes down to the end of the game, you’ve got one drive. There is a calmness, just looking in the huddle, looking at each other’s eyes, there’s a good feeling to it.”

Do you have any hopes and wishes for the new year?

“Oh, geez. I’m hoping to get through this year first, I don’t know. You’re catching me off guard with that one. I don’t know. Hopefully have a happy, healthy year. Something like that. That’s so cliché, but sorry. Yeah.”

George was talking about how hard the turf was and he’ll have a practice day off to kind of heal up and there are some other guys that do that. Head coach Kyle Shanahan was mentioning that you’ve got the two games in 10 days, so things will be changed. As a quarterback, you really don’t get those days off like other positions do. What’s the key for you to bouncing back? You got sacked a decent amount of times to that game, it was an overtime game. Was it a rough Monday?

“I’ve had rougher Mondays. I’ll say that. It’s just football. You’ve got to get back to it. I think this time of year, everyone’s dealing with something. Whether it’s on the injury report or not, everyone’s dealing with something. Whenever I start to feel sore, I think of the linemen and all of the stuff that they’re going through. What they do on a day-to-day basis physically is not even comparable to me. So whenever I feel sore, I’ve just got to think back to something like that.”