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Photo courtesy of the San Francisco 49ers

Photo courtesy of the San Francisco 49ers

Jimmy Garoppolo discusses 49ers-Cardinals, George Kittle, Chandler Jones, new players on offense

Sep 9, 2020 at 2:45 PM--

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo spoke with reporters before Wednesday's practice as his team prepares for its Week 1 matchup against the Arizona Cardinals. Here is everything he had to say.

Transcript provided by the San Francisco 49ers Communications staff.

Head Coach Kyle Shanahan was just saying that mentally it's a little bit different this week than it has been in past Week 1s. Can you talk a little about that? He also was saying he just watched the NFC Championship game and talked about how the crowd really fueled you guys. So, can you just talk a little bit about that and the difference it's going to be in Week 1?

"Yeah, obviously there's a ton of differences this season and it's really up to everyone to just adjust to it as best you can on the fly. I think you can't put too much thought into it, but you have to realize that it is a different week. We had no preseason, so approach is a little different, but it's basically the same. Once we get to Week 1, it's all game prep and getting ready to roll now."

It looked like, obviously last year you guys got into a pretty good rhythm on offense during certain points of the season, but this year you start the year with so many new guys at the skill positions. I include WR Trent Taylor in that, but WR Brandon Aiyuk and TE Jordan Reed and RB Jerick McKinnon. As a quarterback, how relevant is kind of the feeling out process of how you can use those guys and the qualities they bring and at what points during the course of the game or on a weekly basis, one guy might kind of rise above the others?

"Well, I think there's a lot that goes into it. Obviously, it starts in practice, just being able to trust the guy, count on him that he's going to know what he has to do and get it done. I think that's a big factor in it, but once you get into the games, when the bullets are flying and you really see the guys you can trust, the guys you can rely on. Some of that has to come by trial and error, which I do as much of it as we can with practice and just talking to each other off the field and getting on the same page. I think all those things factor into it."

Before games, you tend to run to a corner of the field, kind of fire the fans up. I'm wondering what the process is like for you personally, in terms of the way you energize yourself before a game and how much the fans are a part of that and how much you might be missing that aspect of it on Sunday?

"Like I said before, some things are just out of your control, so you've just got to make the best of the situation. Obviously, not having the fans out there, not having The Faithful, it's going to be weird and we're going to miss those guys. The energy they bring, it's unbelievable. It's invaluable for our team and we're just going to have to bring that energy ourselves. It's one of those things, you've just got to control what you can control and make the best of it."

I know that TE George Kittle didn't get to play too much against the Cardinals last year, but he made his chances count with that touchdown against Arizona Cardinals S Budda Baker. From the quarterback's perspective, I was hoping you could take me back to that play, what you saw. Also, what are the challenges for you when a player of Budda's caliber is covering George? Is there anything special the quarterback has to keep an eye out on to make sure that George can get the ball and do his thing?

"Nothing in particular. On that play specifically, it was man-to-man. Got George on Budda, George made an unbelievable release at the line, got a little separation. That's the hard thing against Budda and all their cover guys is they don't give you much separation. You've got to be on point with the throws, got to make some tough contested catches and all that stuff plays into the game plan. Whenever you get your matchups, you've got to take them."

Looking back from last year, how much did your success last year elevate your expectations for this year or maybe make it more realistic knowing how well you were able to do last year?

"I think it was a good stepping stone, especially coming back from the ACL injury, first full season as the starter and I think it was a step in the right direction. Now this season, just got to keep it rolling. So, it's one of those things you can't think about too much. Can't get caught too much in it, but it's always in the back of your mind."

Two things: who's playing Arizona Cardinals LB Chandler Jones on the scout team? Then also, with all the detractors, your teammates have stepped up and kind of backed you up and said it's ridiculous all the criticism you're getting. How does it make you feel as part of this team?

"Well, I'll answer the first. For Chandler, we've got a couple of different guys mixing in there. Chan, he's unreal. He could do speed, power, make plays in space. So, we've got to have a couple of different guys in there demonstrating all of those techniques. What was the second question? Sorry about that."

Just your teammates stepping up to kind of back you up and say there's no reason to doubt you.

"Yeah, whenever your teammates can back you up like that, say something nice in your favor, it's always nice to hear. What goes on in that locker room, what we see on a daily basis from each other, just the time that we put in, the work that we put in, I think that goes a lot further than everything else. I love my teammates, love the brothers, but it's a great group of guys to be with."

Obviously last year, you were in a Super Bowl. You were the only quarterback who was in the top five in, was it, passing touchdowns, completion percentage yards per attempt. I'm just pumping you up here. Anyway, my point being is you had a very good season, but there was so much talk this offseason, even from Kyle and general manager John Lynch about how much better you can be and you're expected to improve. Does that add any pressure?

"I think I lost you there. I think I know where you're going with the question. No, no added pressure. It is what it is type of thing. It's one of those, you don't want to dwell on last season too much and get caught up in all that good stuff. You've got to make it count the next year. That's what this league is all about is the consistency. You can do it year in and year out and make the best of your situation. Whenever you get your opportunity, take advantage of it."

I know you're getting ready for the game, but obviously the weather and the skies and the air quality up here in San Francisco, it's orange. I'm not sure what it looks like down there, but have you seen some of the pictures on social media and what's it look like down in Santa Clara?

"It's dark out there. It's not clouds. I mean, just with the smoke and everything, we just did a walk-thru a little while ago and there's the ash falling all over the place. It's different, but send best wishes to all the families out there that are dealing with it. It's tough times, and stay safe."

You obviously went through sitting out most of the last year before playing the opener. Do you sense the excitement from T Trent Williams after missing a whole year? What is he going to bring to you guys?

"Oh yeah. All the guys, it's been a while for all of us. Guys coming back from injuries, I know that feeling, so whenever they can get out there and make the impact that they can, it's going to be exciting. I can't wait to see Trent out there."

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