QB Jimmy Garoppolo Press Conference

QB Jimmy Garoppolo

Press Conference – January 18, 2022

San Francisco 49ers

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 You have a couple injuries now, so I’m wondering with the temperature in Green Bay supposed to be so cold, how have you handled the injuries in extreme cold in your career? I guess, would that be at Arlington Heights and Eastern Illinois rather than anything in the NFL?

“Yeah. I mean, I’ve played in the cold my whole life, so I don’t think it’ll be anything too crazy with that. But yeah just learning to adjust, changing whatever you have to change, but that’s what this week of practice is for. You kind of get used to those things, so we’re in a good spot though.”

Head coach Kyle Shanahan said you hurt the shoulder in the second quarter. There was a hit where it looked like you were kind of falling to the side and you started to use your hand to try to brace yourself and then pulled it back. How much are you thinking about that in the moment of like, ‘oh, if I try to use my hand, it’s going to hurt the thumb worse.’ And is that kind of what led to the issue there?

“Yeah, I just got thrown down, went to put my hand out and sort of had in my mind if my thumb hit I didn’t know what was going to happen. So I tried to yeah, catch it with my elbow a little bit and just jam the shoulder up. Yeah, that was about it.”

A couple things, first off you said, I think we’re in a good spot there. I’m assuming that means that you feel like you won’t be impacted when and if you play Saturday night, and the other part of that is just what’s this week been like for you as far as budgeting time with rehab or PT on your thumb, on your shoulder, preparing for the Packers, preparing for your own gameplan? Are you spending more time in the facility this week on a short week than maybe normal?

“Yeah, just different time. It’s the same amount of time, but you’re spending it differently. Got to get the body right. Obviously, that’s at first and foremost, but like you’re said, you have to get the mind right for the defense you’re going against, the gameplan that you’re putting in. So there’s a lot of balancing between all of that, but no, it’s playoff football. We know what time it is and there ain’t no time to rest right now.”

Feel free to make excuses if you want here, but obviously, your performance in the second half wasn’t as good as your performance in the first half. How much, if any, did that have to do with your shoulder injury?

“Well, I mean the shoulder, yeah, being a quarterback it affects every throw. So it definitely had some impact, but if I’m out there and I’m being put in that spot, I still have to make the plays that I normally make. So no excuses or anything like that. The injury is what it is. We’re all dealing with stuff now.”

First, are you confident you’re going to play Saturday? And second, you obviously don’t want to start 3-5 and have a four-game losing streak, but in what ways has playing with your back against the wall served you guys in terms of the sense of urgency it takes to make a playoff run to get to this moment?

“I think it’s done us well in some ways. Putting that pressure on your team early, it creates a mindset. It creates an atmosphere in the locker room of a sense of urgency that we have to win now and we have to make some plays. So I think that early on in the year, you obviously don’t want to start 3-5, like you said, but it prepares your mind, I guess you could say for everything that you’re going to go against later in the season. And we’ve been in playoff mode for a while now and coming off two big games in a row, it’s just every one of these games is big, that’s the type of season we’re in right now.”

 Are you confident you’re going to play Saturday?

“Yeah, we’ll feel it out throughout the week, but yeah, just feeling good right now.”

The thing with the cold weather, is there a fine line between preparing for it and overthinking it and creating kind of a mental thing for you guys?

“Absolutely. Yeah, there definitely is. I don’t know. I’ve lived in it my whole life, so there’s just different ways. I think people who have grown up in it and played in it for a long time, there’s ways to prepare for it, things that you kind of know going into it. But yeah, I think our team, we have a good mindset going into this thing and we know what it’s going to be like on Saturday, so it’ll be a hell of an atmosphere.”

I’m going to sneak in two, if I can as well. What’s bothering you more at this point, the shoulder or the thumb?

“Yes (laughing). I don’t know. Yeah, they’re pretty close.”

What do you feel has changed the most about both your team and the Packers since that Week 3 matchup?

“A lot’s changed, honestly. Personnel has changed, they’re getting some guys back, they’re getting healthier and you can see that. And you know, we have some different personnel too than we had Week 3. So you definitely watch that game, take it into account, but it was a long time ago. A lot of things have changed, schematically, personnel-wise, but we have to be prepared for whatever they’re willing to do. They’ve had a lot of time to prepare for this one.”

I think you guys have got 25 or 26 players who were on the 2019 roster. Guys who’ve been through it in the playoffs, including yourself. How much, when you guys get into situations like Sunday in Dallas, where you’re up against the wall, kind of what Chris was alluding to, how much do you kind of tap into to that experience of being in the postseason? How much do you think it can help as you continue in this one?

“I think it plays a big role. I really do. That experience of having been there, helping the younger guys out, trying to let them know what, going into this Dallas game, we knew it was going to be a hostile environment, but that was one of the crazier environments I’ve played in. And that’s just what the playoffs is. We know we’re going to be on the road for all this, and we’ve done well on the road so far this year and we’re just trying to keep that thing going. But as far as the experience goes, it takes you a long way. But at the end of the day, whoever’s out there has to make plays.”

As far as the shoulder and the impact it had in Dallas, there was the play in the second half where you had TE George Kittle on the short throw and it was just short to him. Was the shoulder at play on that incompletion?

“Yeah, like I said before, every throw was impacted. It’s a shoulder injury, so any type of throw you’re going to feel it and it’s going to change things. But yeah, it’s just similar to when I was first dealing with the thumb, my body’s just learning and I have to adapt to it.”

Offensive coordinator Mike McDaniel doesn’t necessarily look like a traditional NFL coach. And he obviously, in talking with him throughout the year we found he has quite a sarcastic sense of humor and dry wit to him, but obviously he can be serious. He’s known to be a pretty good coach. How would you describe that whole dynamic, what’s going on with him?

“Mike is awesome, man. He really is. He’s kind of that, I don’t want to say the mastermind behind everything, but he’s kind of that guy in the background that doesn’t say a whole ton to a lot of people, but his mind is always moving. The ideas that he comes up with are so fresh and new that it’s a cool guy to have on the staff. Just the way that he can implement things. And he simplifies it down to, I mean he’s a lot smarter than most of us. So he dumbs it down for us and kind of gets us all on the same page. And it’s just a good combination with him and all the rest of the coaches.”

That’s a good way to explain it. When you’re looking at the running game and obviously you ran so well against the Packers two years ago in the playoffs and it seems like the running game has really come on strong the last few weeks. How would you kind of compare those two?

“It’s similar. Two years ago, it’s a lot of different players. We had different players, they did, both ways. So you look at it a little bit, but we’re on this year, so there is some differences. Obviously, we’d love to run the ball like we did two years ago. That would be awesome, but it’s going be hard for us and we know it.”