Before he was the 49ers franchise quarterback, on his way to a Super Bowl in his first full season, Jimmy Garoppolo, of course, backed up Tom Brady in New England.
This much-discussed story line was once again a talking point Thursday with Garoppolo at the podium.
Garoppolo was asked Thursday about how many New England-related questions he had received this week. With a laugh, Garoppolo said:
“At least fifty percent. Honestly, it’s probably close to fifty percent.”
Having just answered that question, Garoppolo was immediately asked another question about his time in New England. Reflecting on his conversation with Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, Garoppolo talked about how the Patriots coach broke the news to him that he had been traded:
“Coach [Belichick] was always very honest with me. The main thing I really appreciated about coach, was that when he called me in, there was really no beating-around-the-bush. He was right to the point, he said he appreciated everything and I said the same to him, and ‘thank you.’ The guy taught me so much about the pro game, and the in’s and out’s of it. I appreciate everything he did for me, all of those coaches in New England. My time there was good.”
Having to transition from the Patriots offensive scheme to Kyle Shanahan’s complicated playbook, Garoppolo had to familiarize himself with some of the intricacies of Shanahan’s system—and he had to do it quickly.
Garoppolo has come a long way from his time as a backup in New England. His rise to stardom in 2017, followed by his ACL tear in 2018, Garoppolo reflected on how he has grown as a quarterback since joining the 49ers:
“I think in terms of progress, i’m still hopefully progressing in the right direction. I’m going to keep learning and keep growing as a quarterback. I’ve played only so many games still, and there’s a long way to go. I think coming into this offense, obviously it’s a little different from what New England was, but just the understanding of things like the play action, it’s a little different in New England’s system.”
Garoppolo and the 49ers offense are likely to turn to play action Sunday against the Chiefs. Kansas City is expected to focus on the 49ers running game, which would open up opportunities for Garoppolo in play action.