One of the many subjects for the week leading up to the San Francisco 49ers and the Minnesota Vikings has been the quarterback comparisons, and it’s a good comparison. Both the 49ers’ Jimmy Garoppolo and Vikings’ Kirk Cousins have very similar stats, although their win totals are different. Cousins finally led the Vikings back to a hard-fought victory against the Saints and had the Vikings supporting him in the locker room.
Meanwhile, Jimmy Garoppolo has come back in several games (albeit not as major as a wild card playoff game) and displayed how this is his team.
But this isn’t about what the quarterbacks do on the field but off it. And while we’ll save what Kirk Cousins does with his Vikings teammates for another day, Tim Kawakami wrote an article in The Athletic talking about Jimmy Garoppolo’s leadership ability.
The big thing to note from Kawakami is there are coaches meetings (required) and then Garoppolo meetings (not required). Garoppolo would hold meetings on Saturdays with the team to go over the gameplan on Sunday:
“Saturday night before the game, he has his own meeting, which we don’t have to do as a team because it’s not on the schedule,” Sanders said. “But we all meet at a specific time in which he orchestrates the whole meeting to get us going.
“We go over practice or certain stuff that he feels how we can attack certain defenses and stuff like that. No coaches, just players.”
After a few conversations with other offensive players, I learned that Garoppolo calls these meetings for the QBs, receivers, tight ends and running backs. And though they’re voluntary, all of the specified units show up in full force. Of course. Because Garoppolo is the one asking.
In a room with 50+ personalities, having your entire offense show up out of respect for one person says something. And much like an army general, when he speaks, everyone listens. And what Garopolo says is usually useful. From the same Kawakami article:
“I spoke with Jimmy about it and told him I’m probably going to release inside on this guy, so don’t let that mess you up,” [Kyle] Juszczyk recalled. “All week (in practice), I had released outside the guy. We hashed it out. ‘We feel like this guy is going to fly out, I’m going to release inside.’”
So when did that above scenario happen? Oh, when Juszczyk caught a pass down the sidelines against the Seattle Seahawks in Week 17, where the 49ers picked up 49 yards.
I remember a lot of questions about Jimmy Garoppolo’s professionalism and leadership, given who the paparazzi saw him dating in the summer of 2018. Then came his time in training camp where people piled on noting the interceptions, throws, attitude, etc.
Regardless, there’s something though about how Garoppolo acts with his offense. So many NFL mic’d up segments showed Garoppolo in 2017 during that five-game win streak getting individual players and adjusting his throws on the fly.
So there’s sideline adjustments, drives that end in this, and now personal meetings where players willingly attend even though they are not required to. Meetings where Garoppolo is making correct diagnostics for game-day situations don’t forget Richard Sherman even sticking up for Jimmy G, though they play on opposite ends of the ball.
This isn’t a discredit to former 49ers quarterbacks, but when was the last time you’ve seen all of this in one package? This is Garoppolo’s team. Sounds like everyone agrees with it too.