Jimmy G, all new and shiny to San Francisco 49ers fans, continues to captivate after leading his team to consecutive wins.
With his first home start coming this weekend against Tennessee, there were some insightful questions posed to head coach Kyle Shanahan about Garoppolo’s style this week. What did he take from Tom Brady? What does he do differently?
- Butler: Controversial retweet just "a big misunderstanding"
- Steelers man-to-man plans vs. Pats may be unrealistic
- CURRAN'S Know Thine Enemy: Steelers can score - and be scored on
It’s interesting to read Shanahan’s take on it, particularly Garoppolo’s leadership ability.
Asked about that in relation to Brady, Shanahan said, “Anytime you get an opportunity to hang around someone and just watch their process and how they go about their job, especially someone like Tom, where you have the guy who’s arguably the best of all time and has had an unbelievable career, I think it’s been great for Jimmy to watch how he carries himself.
“When you’re a quarterback you’re almost CEO of the company to a certain degree,” Shanahan continued. “I think people look at Tom that way. There’s just this certain way to act and handle things and talk to people. Jimmy is very good at that stuff. I’m sure it helped getting to watch someone who’s probably the best at it.”
That’s what’s jumped off the screen to me watching Garoppolo. The ability to divorce himself from the chaos of pressure situations and manage the team and his communication with the sidelines. That he’s seen the best in the business to do it – Brady and the New England coaching staff – has to make him feel empowered to take charge. It may not be a stretch to say that he’s probably as adept as anyone on the Niners coaching staff at doing it because of the level at which he was taught and the reps he took.
Shanahan also talked about Garoppolo being able to conquer his “quick-twitch” tendencies as a scrambler because he saw the rewards Brady reaped by staying stationary as much as he could.
“They are wired two totally different ways as athletes,” said Shanahan. “Tom is a slower moving guy, which gets him a lot of patience in the pocket and he stays there very calm and I think that’s also how he moves naturally, where Jimmy is more a quick-twitch guy who sometimes it’s harder to get those type of guys to slow down and be patient in the pocket, because they just move faster.
“I think that’s what has been impressive with Jimmy and I’m sure he does get that from watching a guy like Tom do it,” he added. “You want both in your game. Jimmy does have both. That’s what allows him to stay in the pocket and let things develop. When there isn’t one he does have a chance to get outside of there and extend the play.”
Shanahan alludes to the possibility that Garoppolo may not be as disciplined had he not apprenticed behind Brady.
“Sometimes the better athlete you are growing up, you don’t sit in that pocket very long. You drop back and you just run. Usually, you’re a better athlete than everyone else, so you just run around and get touchdowns and make plays and some guys go to college and continue to do that,” he said. “A lot of people win Heismans doing that kind of stuff.
“Eventually, you get to the NFL and you can’t always do that,” Shanahan said. “You have to learn how to sit in the pocket and let a play develop and I think that’s tough for guys who have been great athletes because it’s all about reps and you’ve just never had to do it before. Then you’ve got some guys, to me, like [former NFL QB] Peyton [Manning], probably Tom, I don’t think they were ever that fast or running around on a football field just making plays with their legs. I’m sure since Pop Warner and early on, they learned to sit in that pocket and go through progressions and do stuff. That’s why those guys are a little bit better at it when they get to the league, because they have been doing it their entire life and they don’t have to just learn versus NFL defenses. When you have both of that aspect, it definitely gives you a higher ceiling to be successful.”
As Garoppolo continues to have success, he will inevitably keep pushing the boundaries of what works and what doesn’t. Shanahan seems to expect that.
Asked about Gaoppolo as a risk-taker, he said, “He’s definitely taken some. So, we’ll see as this goes. You want guys to be aggressive and let it rip. You just don’t want guys to guess. You want guys to see it and believe it in and not hesitate and think about it and let it go.
“When guys do that, it usually gives them a chance to be great. It’s also going to give you some games where you have a lot of picks and stuff and you just didn’t see it right and it’s how you respond to those and what do you learn from them. Does it make you more gun-shy and do you get worse as it goes because of it? Or do you learn why you saw it wrong, why you made that pick and you get better? I think if you look at a lot of the great quarterbacks through all-time, a lot of them, especially early in their careers, they have had a lot of picks. They have had a lot of pick-sixes and stuff. Those guys learn from it and get better from it and the guys who don’t, it usually gets a lot worse.”
So far, it couldn’t be going much better for Garoppolo. Or Shanahan.