The San Francisco 49ers took the field for their second organized team activity on Tuesday. After practice, several players spoke to the media. Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo was first, and he had plenty to say. Garoppolo talked about everything from dealing with his knee brace, to his chemistry with the wide receivers, to the Kentucky Derby. Here’s the transcript. I’ll let him take it from here.
How did you feel out there today?
“It was good. Yeah, second day, so getting the cobwebs out and everything, knocking the rust off, but overall a couple good days so far.”
Were you able to step into everything with that left leg like you normally would?
“Yeah, I’d like to think so. Yeah, just down the field throws, being able to make those finally and everything. So yeah, I think every throw is doable now.”
Was that the last bit of it to come through, the down the field, ropes, down the field?
“The ropes down the field, the movement, escaping the pocket and things like that, just the awkward movements that you can’t really predict in practice. Yeah, it’s coming together nicely though.”
CB Richard Sherman mentioned that between drills he talked to you about a throw you made to WR Jordan Matthews on a dig route. The competitive nature coming back, is that what’s probably best at this point for you, just mentally being back in the fold like that?
“Yeah, it was cool. Even if it’s just a little trash talking between series or whatever it is, it’s a nice feeling to be back out there, get in the huddle with guys and look them in the eyes. It’s the little things like that.”
Was he as close to breaking the ball up as he said he was?
“He was close, I don’t know if he got there though.”
He also talked about how there was a time where he finally felt like he was confident in his movements, not having to second guess his injury. Do you feel that kind of second guessing?
“We’re only in the second day, obviously not doing the team stuff yet, so I think that’ll be another step in the right direction. The training staff and coaches have put together a nice plan and just getting the reps of seven-on-seven and seeing the defense, safeties, things like that, it’s good to be back out there and being able to see all that stuff again.”
What have you picked up with Jordan Matthews and WR Deebo Samuel?
“They’re two different receivers. Jordan has a wingspan like seven feet or something, it’s insane. You think you miss him on a pass and he’ll make you look good as a receiver, so you love that. And then Deebo, he’s had a couple, yesterday especially, that after the catch he’s just so explosive and fast, so it’s a long way to go for all of us, but I think we’re moving in the right direction.”
I’m not an expert on knee braces, but that brace doesn’t look as cumbersome or as big as the ones you used to see. Is it special, where did you get it and what is your impression of it?
“Yeah, I love it. The training staff, I’m not sure where they got it from, but it’s titanium or something like that. It’s real lightweight. Once I’m out there moving around and stuff, I don’t even feel it. The first couple weeks it was weird, but after that you get used to it.”
Do you go through a few of them, like try a few of them on, or was it just one?
“That was actually the first one I tried. It fit like a glove the first time, so shout out to the training staff for finding that.”
Can you feel your left leg getting stronger?
“Yeah, definitely. Especially in the weight room and things like that. Starting to equal out the weights that you do on both the legs. It’s the little things, but that’s the point where we’re at. Big steps were taken and now we’re focusing on the little things.”
What kind of rehab or post practice stuff do you have to do? Do you have to ice it for a while in the tubs or that sort of thing?
“I’m kind of past all that stuff. Yeah, that was more the first couple months with all the swelling, but we haven’t had any swelling in, I don’t know, a long time. That’s a good thing. Obviously, I’m not doing as much cutting as those other positions, so it’s a little different.”
What are some of these other little things that you’re working on now?
“Just the weird movements, reaction movements, things that are hard to simulate in practice where you don’t want to think about it so much, you want to react to it, the defense. It’s the little things like that, but they’re coming together.”
How difficult is the balance of the workload you have now versus holding yourself back and not overexerting yourself?
“That’s what I’ve got the training staff for. They’ll reel me back in from time to time. I want to go all the time, just get as many reps as I can as fast as I can. It’s just catch up at this time. They do a good job of holding me back, but at times we have our arguments.”
Your movement within the pocket just as a quarterback in general is so important to what you do. At what point do you start thinking about that? Is that going to be a training camp thing or are you already trying to do the mental reps in terms of that stuff?
“Yeah, we have plenty of drills and things like that that we do. It’s like I was saying before with the little things, a D-Lineman flashes in front of you, you have to react rather than a D-Lineman is going to flash in front of you on this drill, you know what I’m saying? There’s not so much in planning it. It’s just reacting. I don’t know if I’m wording that right, but it’s coming along.”
How are these OTAs different from last year, just from the shoulders up for you?
“Much smoother, that’s for sure, the installs and everything. Last year, it was really my first time sitting down and learning it from an OTA point of view rather than cramming for a test. It’s been smoother and a lot more simple in the mornings.”
Is it stuff you’re building on last year and the five games of ’17?
“Yeah, the majority of our offense that we do right now is the bulk of the stuff. It’s stuff that we do 75 percent of the time. We’re not really game planning for our defense. You more so want to get the reps in to help you as an offense. It’s getting guys comfortable, the new guys, the young guys, getting them all comfortable and getting us all on the same page.”
From a leadership standpoint, now that you have the full team here and you’re actually on the field playing, does it seem like it’s been awhile since you could really be in that role and kind of take charge of everything?
“Absolutely. Even being in the huddle, the seven-on-seven huddle, looking guys in the eye, a lot of funny things happen in those huddles. Someone will say something, there’s that little bit of trash talking so, it’s those little things. I was there during the season, but it just didn’t feel the same.”
You’ve got three running backs out because of injury. Does RB Tevin Coleman because he has that experience with head coach Kyle Shanahan, is he fitting in really quickly?
“Yeah, it was a quick transition for him for sure. There’s a couple new things to the offense that I don’t know if they had when he was with Kyle, but he’s an awesome guy, awesome teammate. Just one of those guys, never complains, he’s grinding 24/7 and he’s willing to do whatever you ask him. You’ve just got to appreciate him for that.”
How is RB Jerick McKinnon doing?
“Good, I’m with Jet every day. We get our work in on the side and everything like that. We’ve been doing some throwing and all that stuff, so he’s coming along nicely.”
Did you and Jerick get to a point where you can be competitive? I know you were a little bit behind him and trying to catch up to him, but did that help you get through in terms of finding ways to compete?
“Yeah, I mean, that’s what we do. Any chance you get at it. It’s playing different positions, obviously. Quarterback you’re not really cutting as much as running back, so it makes sense that I’m doing what I’m doing and he’s doing what he’s doing. But, the training staff did a great job with both of us and just having him there mentally in the beginning was a huge part. He was just helping me get through the hard days, I guess.”
Last year, it seemed like everybody’s role was kind of set as far as the quarterback room goes. This year, Kyle said that QB C.J. Beathard and QB Nick Mullens are on equal footing. Has the dynamic at all changed in the quarterback room between you three guys?
“Not so much. It’s a good group. We brought in [QB] Wilton [Speight] a couple of weeks ago and everything, so it’s a good group of guys. We all help each other out, especially in between reps. You come to the sideline and coach might be busy looking at whoever’s in there, and you can talk to each other about it, just what they saw and if you mess something up, how you can fix it, things like that. It’s a good group of guys and a very competitive group of guys which makes us all better.”
How much do you enjoy talking to reporters and friends and family about your knee, how it’s coming along?
“I’ve been looking forward to this all day. Practice is fun, but I don’t know. I feel like I keep repeating myself to you guys. I apologize for that, but that’s the point we’re at. Like I said, we’re onto the little things, the big strides have been made, so now it’s fine tuning the little things.”
Any good stories you can give us from the Kentucky Derby?
“From the Derby? That last race, there was some mayhem after that, I’ll tell you that. A lot of people freaking out, looking for tickets that were on the ground, so it was interesting.”
What was your ticket? What did it say?
“I didn’t win, I’ll tell you that. I would’ve had a lot better of a story then.”