San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo spoke to the media after Friday’s practice to discuss how excited he was to play alongside the Niners weapons, how his ankle is feeling, the Dolphins defense, Kittle’s birthday, and much more.
How are you doing? How did it feel getting back to practice and what kind of complications, what kind of things do you have to work through to be successful on Sunday?
“Nothing crazy. Ankle is feeling really good right now. Got the last couple of weeks off to get it right. The training staff, I tip my hat to those guys, they did a great job with me, just preparing me and everything. But, as far as getting out there, I mean, we’ve had the whole week to work on it. So, it’s feeling pretty good right now.”
Your fullback was just in there saying how you spoke the last few weeks like you could play sort of no matter what? Is that just sort of your mentality that no matter how your ankle feels you can play and how does it feel now? I know you mentioned it, but how does it feel now in comparison to the last couple of weeks?
“Yeah, it was, I’ve had normal ankle sprains, never had a high ankle sprain. So, this was a first and I kind of just thought it was going to be like a normal ankle sprain that I could come back and just trying to get myself mentally prepared each week. So, I was kind of talking to myself, telling myself, ‘Hey, I could play this week. I’ll be all right.’ And just, it took a little time, but I’m glad to be back out there with the guys. It feels great.”
FB Kyle Juszczyk also said that it really didn’t take much for you guys to get back in the swing of things. He didn’t feel any different. Did it take a couple of plays to kind of get back into the groove of everything?
“To loosen the ankle up a little bit. As far as just being with the guys and calling plays, running plays, we got into a rhythm pretty quickly. It didn’t take very long, but, yeah, it just takes a little while to warm it up.”
Head coach Kyle Shanahan was talking about how you might have most of the offensive pieces together, possibly, if RB Raheem Mostert can play and all that. I guess, what’s the level of excitement and thoughts about the potential of the offense?
“It’s exciting to get a group out there that you envision and just sort of really stack days together. Stack days of the same group going out there, just getting the chemistry down and the communication part of it. There’s so many things that go into it, but it just takes time. And so, whenever we could get guys healthy and get guys back, it always is going to help everyone.”
It doesn’t happen too often, but you get to face a former college teammate in Miami Dolphins LB Kamu Grugier-Hill and I think you guys are the only two Eastern Illinois players in NFL at the moment. Are you looking forward to that matchup and do you have any good memories with him from your time at Eastern and with the Patriots?
“Oh yeah. It’s pretty rare for two Eastern Illinois guys to get this matchup. Kamu was one of my best friends from Eastern. We go way back. He lived literally one or two houses down from me, I think. So, it’ll be exciting, a little EIU pride out there. So, I can’t wait to do it.”
Back when you suffered the injury, obviously you pushed through it through the first half. Was that just adrenaline and at what point did they have to talk you out of trying to continue to play? Or what was that discussion like?
“Yeah, it was tough. You’re out there playing and like you said, you do have the adrenaline going, so you don’t fully feel what it really is. But, we kind of went in at halftime, did some tests on it and everything and the doc’s kind of talked me into it a little bit. It was a tough decision, man, because you want to be out there with the guys. I think we made the right decision in the long run just taking those two weeks off and just being smart with it.”
You’ve got your TE George Kittle shirt on. Did you do anything for his birthday today? And then also, what have you seen from WR Brandon Aiyuk who you didn’t get to play with and then you got to watch him on the field?
“Well, I’ll start with George. Happy birthday, George. I’m sure everyone knows about it, but we had some t-shirts made. I didn’t want to wear that one on here. I thought I’d go with this with the election coming up, tell everyone to go out and vote for us. It was a fun day for George’s birthday for sure. B’s been awesome. He really has. He’s really starting to catch onto the offense and learning how it all ties together, whether his route is the main route or he’s trying to help one of his fellow teammates out. I think it’s just, all rookies go through that learning phase and he’s grinding through it right now, but he’s been impressive. He’s made a lot of plays out there for us.”
I just wanted to know how exciting is it knowing that you’re probably going to have essentially your full weapons at your disposal for the first time and I also want to know what you’ve seen from the Dolphins defense?
“Well, like I was saying earlier, just get everyone out there, get everyone back healthy and get the weapons back. It’s all about building chemistry and the more days we can stack days together, be out there together talking the same language, all those little intricacies that go into it, I think it’ll just make us better. And, as far as the Dolphins defense, talented group, can fly around, sideline to sideline. They’ve got some serious speed on that defense. It will be a good challenge for us. They challenge you upfront and with the coverage, just how they tie them together and everything. It’s a good package they’ve got.”