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Photo courtesy of the San Francisco 49ers

Photo courtesy of the San Francisco 49ers

49ers-Giants: Joe Judge preparing for both Jimmy Garoppolo and Nick Mullens

Sep 24, 2020 at 7:02 AM--

Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo hasn't officially been ruled out of Sunday's game between the San Francisco 49ers and the New York Giants. Most don't expect him to play, though. Garoppolo sustained a high-ankle sprain on Sunday and did not practice on Wednesday.

The most likely scenario is that fans see Nick Mullens leading the 49ers offense against the home-team Giants at MetLife Stadium.

Giants coach Joe Judge is familiar with Garoppolo. The coach was with the New England Patriots during the quarterback's time serving as Tom Brady's backup.

"One thing that stuck out to me about Jimmy early on was he never backed down from any competition," Judge told reporters on Wednesday. "He's a guy, it didn't matter what room he was in, who he was competing with, Jimmy was always trying to get on the field and make an impact.

"... I'd say there was a really high confidence level with Jimmy. He's a really good player. He's got a tremendous arm. He can make all the throws. He can beat you with his legs. He's very mobile.

"He's tough, man. He has those older brothers who would always show up at the game, the typical Midwest meathead family. They're always a lot of fun to have around. ... He was a guy, who when he stepped in the huddle, there was an immediate confidence around him.

"It's no surprise, the success he's had in San Francisco. I think a whole lot of Jimmy."

For now, Shanahan said the team is preparing as if Mullens will start. Anything is possible, though, so Judge isn't counting Garoppolo out just yet.

"As far as whether it's Jimmy or Mullens, to be honest with you, you have to have a little bit of a plan for both because what they may do is maybe a little bit dictated by who's at the game," Judge said. "These are conversations we're having with coaches, that we're putting a plan together for the players. You want to get it to them in basic increments that you're not double-installing everything all at once for the players."

Judge isn't as familiar with Mullens, who on Sunday will likely make just his ninth NFL start.

"On Mullens, one thing he does an extremely good job with is you can spread the field out with him," Judge said. "He gets the ball out of his hands extremely fast. He is a guy who kind of turns two, as we say. The ball hits his hand, the ball is coming out, and he's getting it to the receiver.

"He has very good anticipation, he does a good job pre-snap of reading the defense, knowing where his receivers are going to be, and he's a tough, gritty dude. He obviously had some success for them in the past when he has had to play."

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