BRADENTON, Fla. — With 40-degree temperatures, pouring rain and a rabid fan base screaming at dangerous decibels, Jimmy Garoppolo and the 49ers offense went to a silent count in Baltimore.
Heading to New Orleans for Week 14 will be a little warmer, but it won’t get any easier for the offense to communicate in the Superdome. Saints fans are loud and are well known for forcing opposing offenses into committing false starts and delay of game penalties on a regular basis. Garoppolo and coach Kyle Shanahan’s preparation includes being ready for the hostile environment.
“I think we have to know what we’re in for first,” Garoppolo said. “We’ve played there in the past and I’ve heard the loudness. It’s incredible. I think just practicing out here on the practice fields, clean communication between me and Kyle and then getting into the huddle and communicating it with the guys, it’s just about being clean with that.
“The more reps we get at it, got a good test last week that will help us out this week and it’s about doing it right for longer.”
The 49ers regularly have music blasting during the non-teaching segments of practice and this week is no different. The sound system traveled to the IMG Academy where the team will practice all week. They hope to somewhat replicate the noise that the offense will have to deal with in New Orleans.
“We’re trying to, yeah,” Garoppolo said. “I think they have it cranked up as loud as they can. It makes it difficult on us in the huddle, but that’s kind of what you want. You want to replicate that environment as best you can.”
Sunday’s matchup in New Orleans caps a three-game stint for the 49ers facing teams with the top records in the league. Experience with the atmosphere at a heightened level will help prepare the team going forward and potentially for the postseason. Because of his time with the Falcons in the NFC South, Shanahan is very familiar with the noise of the Superdome.
“It’s as loud as it can be,” Shanahan said. “I think it was good for us to be in Baltimore the week before. I think that was the loudest stadium we’ve had to deal with so far this year. New Orleans will be the exact same, if not louder.”
There are very few members of the 49ers who have playoff experience. While trying to not look ahead too much, Garoppolo sees this as a chance to prepare them for what is to come.
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“Definitely, with a young team and everything and myself included, these big games, these big moments, it’ll only help us going forward,” Garoppolo said. “It’s just about stepping up in the right situation, the right crucial times and just making the plays that are there for you.
“Not doing too much, not doing anything outside of your norm, but just being ready when your number’s called. We’ve had a couple of them this year, some big ones in some primetime games and things like that, but it’ll definitely help us going forward.”