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Photo courtesy of the San Francisco 49ers

Photo courtesy of the San Francisco 49ers

Jimmy Garoppolo discusses Pettis, Aiyuk, Kittle, McKinnon, Jennings, knee brace, 49ers’ emphasis on the deep ball

Aug 18, 2020 at 3:02 PM--

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo spoke with reporters after Tuesday's training camp practice. Here is everything he had to say.

Transcript provided by the San Francisco 49ers Communications staff.

Obviously, some of these receivers getting hurt can't really help your rapport with them, but it looked like you and WR Dante Pettis kind of are reestablishing something and Dante seemed today to have his most productive day in a long time.

"Yeah, he's been coming along. It's very encouraging, just the physicality that he's playing with, the competitiveness that he's bringing. You love to see that and it's just one of those things that you've got to keep it rolling. I think our whole group, though, as a receiving core has done a really good job so far."

I was wondering if you could talk a little bit about WR Brandon Aiyuk these last couple of days and what you've seen out of him.

"Yeah, he's been good. There's flashes that you can see. He has a good feel for feeling the zones and when it's man-to-man, he knows when to break off routes and just do what he has to do to get open. It's a real natural instinct, just running routes for him. It's really cool to throw routes to a guy like that. He sees the field very similar to a quarterback and it makes my job very easy."

I know you touched on this last time you talked to us, just talking about the importance of YAC, yards after catch, in this offense. I'm curious, is there more of an emphasis on it here than other places you've been? Is it something to do with just kind of the way the scheme is designed or what have you seen in that regard?

"The two places I've been, New England and here, it's been a pretty big emphasis in both the offenses. It's about the receivers, the running backs, tight ends, once they get the ball in their hands, what can they do? But as a quarterback, the more accurate you can be, the easier it is for those guys to make plays with it once it's in their hands. So, I think it's one of those things that we talk about a ton. We talk about it so much that it just kind of comes naturally now, I think. We've got the guys to do it, man. You see it out there every day. Those guys, they can roll."

Head coach Kyle Shanahan really brought RB Jerick McKinnon in originally to kind of build the offense around him. What is it about him and his route running, what he does on the field that really makes him different and how he can really change the offense?

"Jet brings a little bit of everything. He's a unique running back. Kind of like what I said about Brando. He sees the field very similar to a quarterback and that's a cool part, because when it's a soft zone, he'll feel the spot and get to the spot where you want him to and he sees it the same way as me. We could talk the same language, and all the backs, they do a great job of that stuff. Just finding the right spot, find the soft spot, and then they go get YAC after. What they do in the run game, I think, speaks for itself with those guys up front. They've got the full package going back there."

I'm just curious what your thoughts were now that TE George Kittle is signed and if there has been any back and forth banter between you two now that he's fairly well compensated?

"There's plenty of that in the locker room. We've got to keep each other humble, but all in good fun. I'm so happy for George. He's one of those guys, it's well-earned. He deserves every bit of that contract and you're happy for a guy when it happens like that. You see everything that guy's been through, coming from Iowa, being a late round pick and making the most of it. I love to have him on my team and I love his shirt game, too."

Now that you guys have kind of been in camp for a couple of weeks, and just the last few days of practice, how's your confidence changed about them pulling off a season amid a pandemic? Have concerns lessened? Maybe go back a couple months ago, did you have a lot of doubts in your mind?

"I think everyone, you go back a couple months, not even just doubts, there were a lot of questions. My family, my friends would ask me questions and I wouldn't know. It was just pieces really had to fall into place perfectly and they have so far. I think the NFL and NFLPA have done a great job of putting us in a great atmosphere. You can't take any more precautions than we're taking right now. It's been really good, though. I'm excited for the season and hopefully we'll keep this thing rolling."

WR Jauan Jennings was known in college as a very physical runner, broke a lot of tackles, et cetera. I'm not sure how much you can glean from that, from these practices, but could you maybe speak to maybe what you glean from his mentality and just how he's performing so far early on?

"Jauan, he's got a great mentality. I'll tell you what, he is always ready to roll, locked in, confident. You love to see that from a receiver, especially a young receiver. He brings it every day and you can see once he gets the ball in his hands, he's ready to roll and he wants to get physical with people, but it is practice. So, there's that fine line, but it's been fun with him. He does some special things out there. One-on-ones, he's been tearing it up on the field, too, just in team drills. Whenever you get a young guy like that, it's always encouraging. So, just got to keep it rolling at this point."

It's been pretty well documented, some of the success that guys have had in the second year with Kyle, with the system, Atlanta Falcons QB Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons QB Matt Schaub, a couple. Have you gone back and looked at those guys at all and seen kind of development? Is there anything that you can kind of pinpoint as something that just feels more natural to you going into this year?

"We watch those guys a ton. We watch a bunch of old tape from ourselves a couple of years ago, but there's examples that go way back in this offense. This offense has been around for a while, but I can't put my finger on anything specific. I think it's more of just the understanding of how everything ties together with the run, the pass. Trying to make everything look the same but different at the same time. I think that's the magic of the offense. Kyle does a great job with that, thinking a couple of plays ahead and putting you in a good situation. I think when we're thinking the same way and we're on the same page, that's when we're really clicking."

We noticed that you were wearing a brace again. I'm just wondering if there's any reason or just for comfort level? Also, what you've seen from OLTrent Williams kind of being on the left side, his battle with DL Nick Bosa? It's been an interesting battle so far.

"Oh yeah. Well, the knee feels great for everyone concerned out there. The brace is just for precaution, getting back into camp and everything like that, but the knee feels great. The battles on the edge between Trent, Bosa, [T] Mike [McGlinchey], [DL] Dee [Ford], there's a lot of battles out there. It's impressive. A lot of talent on talent and it's one guy will win one rep and the next guy, he'll win the next one. So, that's the battles you want to see in camp. If it was one side dominating the other, that's a bit of a concern. But, it's been a battle every day and it's been a grind. So, that's what you want to see during camp."

We haven't gotten a chance to speak with Dante yet, but have you noticed a change in his attitude and maybe a heightened sense of urgency just given the state of the receiving core and where he might be at in his career?

"Yeah, Dante has it, but it's really everybody. We're all out here competing. We're competing for jobs and at the end of the day, you've just got to put your best foot forward and do what you can on the field and make the best of it. I think the competition part of it, that's good. That means that our team is in a good spot. Guys are competing for the roster spots, and that's what you really want during camp. Whether it's Dante or anyone, all the receivers, they've been battling their ass off and it's been impressive so far."

Kyle Shanahan said you guys need to take advantage of the deep ball when it presents itself and early on it seems like you've had some good connections deep. Was that a main focus for you this past offseason? And my second part of the question is, I saw you wearing the 10's. How many Jordan cleats are you going to wear this year?

"I'll start with the cleats. I really liked the 10's. They're kind of my babies right now, so I'm going to stick with those for a little while. See how those go and we'll take it from there. I've got a couple of different color variations that I'm holding onto, but we'll get those out soon. But, what was the other part? Sorry about that. Oh, the deep ball, right?"

Yeah, it was just the deep ball. Was that a main focus this past offseason for you to work on?

"Yeah, I'm always working on it. I like where I'm at with it. I think we've got guys who are able to run those deeper routes, post goes, things like that. As long as I can get it out there for them, we'll be in a good spot. It's always been one of those things that, it is what it is. I think we've got the guys to do it this year."

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