San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo spoke with reporters from the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida after Wednesday's practice as the team prepares for its Week 14 matchup against the New Orleans Saints. Here is everything he had to say.

Transcript provided by the San Francisco 49ers Communications staff.



What was your assessment, obviously not the easiest conditions as far as the weather and everything, but how was your overall assessment of how you played on Sunday?

"I thought there was plenty of room for improvement. Whenever you watch the film, you always see things, a throw you wish you had back or something like that, but I thought we competed well. In crucial situations, we need to make more plays I think. We're onto the Saints now."

What do you see from their defense?

"They're a talented group. They fly around. A lot of fast guys, linebackers play sideline to sideline. They're good up front, so it's a well-balanced defense. They follow their rules, they've got a good plan that they put together every week. It kind of changes a little bit week to week, but they do what they do."

You practiced a little against them when you were with the Patriots in the offseason, do you remember anything about that that might help and carry over?

"Yeah, I mean, that's more you think about personnel and things like that and the matchups that you'll get. The scheme, you've just got to take it as the year goes. You can't look too far into the past with things like that, but it's a good scheme they've got. It's well put together, there's really not a ton of weaknesses."

Did you and New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton swap stories about Eastern Illinois? Have you known him for a while?

"For a little bit. Yeah, I met him, he probably doesn't remember it, but my freshman year he came back and got his number retired at Eastern, so that was my first time. We've met a couple times in the league, so great guy, awesome representation of Eastern Illinois."

Have they retired your number?

"No. I think I've got to do a little more first."

What are the focuses when you're going into an environment like the Superdome with the noise and things like that?

"I think we have to know what we're in for first. We've played there in the past and I've heard the loudness. It's incredible. I think just practicing out here on the practice fields, clean communication between me and [head coach] Kyle [Shanahan] and then getting into the huddle and communicating it with the guys, it's just about being clean with that. The more reps we get at it, got a good test last week that will help us out this week and it's about doing it right for longer."

WR Emmanuel Sanders was talking about how he's been talking to the fellow wide receivers and letting them know what this kind of year or time of year is like. Do you just sense that leadership that he has and that experience and how invaluable that it?

"Yeah, you feel it, you see it, it's everything. Even if he's not saying anything, guys are just watching him before practice, warming up, how locked in he is in meetings. Whatever it is, the guy just does a great job. Some of it I think is just natural. I think just being himself and it comes across as being a leader. It's awesome having a guy like that. It makes everyone better and really helps everyone pick their game up."

You said that when RB Jeff Wilson Jr. went in for that one snap you didn't even realize it was him. How interchangeable are all those guys that are in the backfield with you?

"All of them, they have unique things that they do well, but all of them can do everything. I know that kind of sounds weird, but they can all catch, they can all run with the ball. You've got to pick your spots and I think Kyle and the rest of the coaches do a great job of putting those guys in there and putting them in spots to be successful, really, and that's what it really comes down to at the end of the day."

Some of the other guys were talking about understanding how big this game is. You obviously played in big games a lot this year, especially over the last couple of weeks. How can those experiences maybe help you as the stages and lights kind of get bigger and brighter?

"It definitely, with a young team and everything and myself included, these big games, these big moments, like you said, it'll only help us going forward. It's just about stepping up in the right situation, the right crucial times and just making the plays that are there for you. Not doing too much, not doing anything outside of your norm, but just being ready when your number's called. We've had a couple of them this year, some big ones in some primetime games and things like that, but it'll definitely help us going forward."

Not that you haven't been locked into those games, but is being away this week before another one, do you think that can be advantageous in some ways?

"Oh yeah. It always helps getting away from everything. All we have here is football basically, and shoutout to IMG. Their facilities are unbelievable. This is nicer than my college facilities. They're definitely taking care of us here, but it'll be good for us all to get this week away and be together."

Kyle talked about TE George Kittle having his best run-blocking game in Baltimore. How important is it to get him back on the field?

"Yeah, it's huge, it's huge. Run, pass, whatever it is, even just on the sideline and hearing his voice and having him out there talking to guys, it's all of that combined is what makes George, George. It's a unique combination of all that stuff and he's also a baller on the field. You love having that guy out there."

What did you feel about the energy in today's practice? It seemed like it was pretty good for December?

"Oh yeah, well I mean, when you're playing December football in 75 or whatever, you better have some energy. Yeah, I think everyone knows what this week is, though. It's a big game going into a hostile environment, we just have to know what we're in for. We had the music rocking today and everything, we'll be ready for it."

Did you replicate the music to what it was like in Santa Clara, what it might be like in the Superdome?

"We're trying to, yeah. I think they have it cranked up as loud as they can. It makes it difficult on us in the huddle, but that's kind of what you want. You want to replicate that environment as best you can."