There isn’t a more polarizing player on the San Francisco 49ers during the Kyle Shanahan era than Jimmy Garoppolo, and it’s not close.
Jimmy’s rocky relationship with Shanahan is well-documented. A career that couldn’t have started on a higher note would have been difficult to end at a lower point.
Garoppolo did a press run in Las Vegas with USAA on Friday afternoon. He spoke in front of 150 people in the military, where he was asked to give a score prediction. Before giving it, Jimmy said that he was rooting for points and believed Super Bowl LVIII would be a shootout.
He picked the Kansas City Chiefs to win 35-31, which may come off as if he still has sour grapes toward the organization, but I didn’t take it that way. It’s a human making a prediction on the fly without thinking twice about it.
Of course, since there’s history, 49ers fans won’t appreciate Garoppolo picking against his former squad. But while it seems like predicting a Niners loss means he’s rooting against them, it was anything but.
Jimmy was complimentary about Brock Purdy and believes he doesn’t get enough credit for what he’s done this season. Garoppolo said, “You have to give him his flowers.”
I had a chance to speak with Jimmy about Shanahan, Trent Williams, his ACL injury, and if he had any advice for Brock.
Can you recall a time when Kyle Shanahan was the most upset at you?
Jimmy: Most upset? Oh, man. [Laughs] When wasn’t he? Just missing an easy read or something like that, probably. Kyle only did it in the right situations, I guess you could say. It was a blessing in disguise, I would say.
On the flipside, what’s one thing that he taught you the most to help you become a better quarterback?
Jimmy: How he sees the game is different than the offense that I was first brought into in New England. Seeing both different offenses, I really tried to take the best of both worlds. So, I really tried to take it as a blessing in disguise when I first got there, kinda learning the different sides of the offensive game.
Now, it’s catching on like crazy. All these different teams run similar schemes. He taught me a ton. How to play on time and little things like that.
What was the most impressive thing you’ve seen Trent Williams do on a football field?
Oh, man. I’m trying to think of what game it was. I can’t remember what game it was, but we called a sweep to his side. Just how quickly he gets out of a 3-point stance. To be full sprint, and running with the running back at 3-whatever he is...and I heard his basketball game is even better. That’s the crazy thing.
He’s one of a kind. He’s one of one like, for real. I know everyone says that about different guys, but he really is.
What was your favorite moment as a Niner?
Tough one. That game in Green Bay was pretty sweet. The playoff win in the snow. In Green Bay. Just how everything played out that season. Barely making it into the playoffs. Going on a little run. That was some good times. We had a lot of good times, though.
Is it still “F Green Bay!”
[Laughs] I grew up in Chicago, so yeah. That one runs deep.
Do you ever think about how different your career would have been if you didn’t tear your knee up, and do you think that changed how you played the game?
Oh yeah. I think it’s very evident that it changed. It’s a weird thing because I know exactly what you’re saying. I look at everything as a blessing. And everything happens for a reason. I think me tearing my ACL, as much as it sucked, as much as rehab sucked, it happened for a reason, and I’m glad everything worked out the way it did. Who knows? If I don’t tear it, who knows?
What’s one piece of advice for Brock heading into the big game?
Keep it simple, man. Just be yourself. He’s played a hell of a year. You have to remember what got you there. What you did and the routine to get you there, all of those little things. Do what got you there and let the chips fall as they may in Vegas.