Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Jimmy Garoppolo primed to ‘turn it loose’ with knee concerns behind him, says Kyle Juszczyk

Aug 11, 2020 at 11:48 AM--

When Jimmy Garoppolo spoke with reporters last week, the San Francisco 49ers quarterback noted that he no longer overthinks about the knee he injured during the 2018 season. He is a year further removed from the torn ACL and isn't concerned about his mobility or that first big hit, as was the case last offseason.

"It's night and day compared to where I was last year, at this time," Garoppolo said. "At this time last year, it was more so getting back to being in a live pocket, having live bullets flying around me, and getting used to that. We're past that. I haven't really thought about it in a long time."

Garoppolo has been taking part in walk-throughs without the brace he wore all offseason last year and throughout the regular season and playoffs. That was revealed last week when the 49ers posted the following video of the quarterback without it.

The first practices with contact begin next week, so we'll see if that continues through the remainder of training camp.

Fullback Kyle Juszczyk spoke with reporters on Tuesday via a video conference call and indicated that Garoppolo might be ready to take his game to the next level now that the quarterback's concern for his knee is behind him.

"I just know, speaking as an athlete myself, when you don't have to think about something, if something's not in the back of your mind, and it's not weighing on you, it relieves so much stress, so much pressure, and you're able to play so much more freely," Juszczyk shared.

"So, if he's not thinking about that knee, if it's not even in his head, that's going to be a huge advantage for him, and something that I know, just as an athlete, would make me play better. And I think you're going to see it from him.

"When you don't have to think about that stuff, you can just go turn it loose."

Garoppolo nearly passed for 4,000 yards last season while guiding the 49ers to a division championship and a Super Bowl in his first full NFL season as a starter. Juszczyk isn't the only one who believes the quarterback is capable of more now that he is nearly two years removed from the knee injury.

"When you're coming off an ACL, your concern is, 'Man, can I do this?'" head coach Kyle Shanahan said last week. "That takes a guy a while to get into stuff. Me seeing him now, talking to him on Zooms, but really just seeing him throwing with the wideouts on air, and getting into these walk-throughs, you can tell that he wasn't working on his ACL all offseason.

"He's been working on everything that he learned through his experiences of last season. And when you can do that, I don't see how you won't get better."

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