How Jimmy Garoppolo's calm consistency helps 49ers in NFL playoffs

How Jimmy Garoppolo's calm consistency helps 49ers in NFL playoffs

SANTA CLARA -- Rain or shine, preseason or playoffs, 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo consistently is the same person. 

It’s not because Garoppolo doesn’t feel the pressure or know how much the game means, it’s just who he is. You simply won’t see him yelling at a coach or at players on the sidelines after a botched play or a turnover. 

Instead, Garoppolo will be pumping everyone up for their next opportunity to get on the field. Coach Kyle Shanahan knows how important that is for the mental state of his team as they head into Sunday's NFC Championship Game against the Green Bay Packers. 

“I think it's huge,” Shanahan said this week. “I think that's why our guys follow him in any instance. If Jimmy's struggling or if he's balling, our guys would do anything for Jimmy. That's how he's been since the first day he got here when we traded for him from New England.” 

Win or lose, Garoppolo seems unflappable. That was the case when he arrived from the New England Patriots in a Halloween 2017 trade, and it still is. 

“He got here and we were an 0-9 team, didn't know much what was going on,” Shanahan said. “They just gravitated to him right away. And I've seen nothing change. I've only seen it get stronger.”

Backup QB C.J. Beathard has worked closely with Garoppolo since his arrival, and he appreciates Garoppolo's calm demeanor as the 49ers head into their biggest game of the season. 

“Just the way he carries himself all day,” Beathard said. “I think that if you go into it with the mentality that, ‘Oh we have to do extra work this week, we have to do more’ — you want to just keep doing what you’ve been doing. What we’ve been doing is working, staying on top of it.”

Rookie wide receiver Deebo Samuel has grown into one of Garoppolo's preferred playmakers. Only tight end George Kittle had more targets (107) than Samuel (81) in the regular season, but the 24-year-old also led the 49ers with nine drops.

Samuel didn't hear anything from Garoppolo, though. Garoppolo has never gotten frustrated or lost his cool with the receiver over the inevitable mistakes that come with being a rookie.

Or anyone else, for that matter. 

“Jimmy has been the same to me in and out the huddle,” Samuel said. “He’s just really the leader. I never seen Jimmy upset. He’s just an energetic guy because he’s the leader of the offense. Because if you see a quarterback like that, it’s going to rub off on everybody else. So I just feel like he brings great energy to the team. One of the leaders out here. 

“I’ve seen a good bit of people just slamming helmets. I’ve never seen Jimmy do that. We come off a quick three and out and you see Jimmy on the sidelines ‘Come on, guys, let’s get ready for the next drive the next play.’ That’s really just a really good boost for the team.” 

[RELATED: Why Young believes Jimmy G will do 'great job' vs. Packers]

Approaching this week just as they have in every other this season, the 49ers kept their practice schedule and plan the same as they prepared to host the Packers. Garoppolo’s mentality and behavior followed suit. 

“There’s no secret sauce that you can take to win in playoff games.” Beathard said. “Just keep doing what you’re doing. Jimmy’s handled himself really well all week. He’s shown a lot of poise and leadership throughout the week not that he doesn’t very week, but you can just tell. 

“He’s the same. It’s not like the playoffs are here he’s changed. He’s the same guy every day.” 

Programming note: NBC Sports Bay Area feeds your hunger for 49ers playoff coverage at 2:30 p.m. Sunday for “49ers Pregame Live,” with Laura Britt, Jeff Garcia, Donte Whitner, Ian Williams and Grant Liffmann previewing the NFC Championship Game against the Packers. That same crew will have all the postgame reaction on “49ers Postgame Live,” starting at approximately 6:30 p.m.

NFL Draft 2020: Chase Young motivated by former teammate Nick Bosa

NFL Draft 2020: Chase Young motivated by former teammate Nick Bosa

Nick Bosa might have been the best player in last year’s draft, but the top spot went to a quarterback to fill a need for the team with the No. 1 overall pick.

Things could very well go the same way this year, with the Cincinnati Bengals taking quarterback Joe Burrow with the first selection.

That would leave the consensus top player, Chase Young, for Washington at No. 2.

Again, that player is a defensive end. Again, that player is a defensive end from Ohio State.

“Nick, he's always setting the standard,” Young said at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis. “That's just motivation for me to achieve a lot of real good things.

“It's definitely been a blessing to watch him grow into the player that he is. He's definitely helped me along this passage. He hasn't stopped. I'm just grateful to be able to see him grow.”

The 49ers selected Bosa with the No. 2 overall pick last year after the Arizona Cardinals went with quarterback Kyler Murray at No. 1.

Bosa registered nine sacks during the regular season and four more in the postseason. He was the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year. He and Young also have been in contact as Young goes through the same process Bosa experienced a year ago.

“He just told me to be myself,” Young said. “That's what I have been trying to do the whole time I've been here.”

Young, like Bosa, declared for the NFL Draft following his junior season. He enters the draft after compiling a more impressive college career than Bosa, who was hampered by injuries throughout his time at Ohio State.

In 34 college games, Young registered 30.5 sacks and 40.5 tackles for loss. Last season, he had 16.5 sacks, all of which came in the first nine games of the season. In 29 games at Ohio State, Bosa had 17.5 sacks and 29 tackles for loss.

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Bosa’s brother, Joey, went to Ohio State, where he was coached by defensive line coach Larry Johnson. Nick Bosa did not have much of a decision where to attend college because the family was already sold on Johnson’s ability to groom defensive linemen.

“I think the technique that ‘Coach J’ teaches in college works in the NFL as well,” Young said. “I'll continue to perfect my technique. The toolbox that I have now, I know that it'll bring me success in the NFL. That's one thing that I took from Nick and Joey.”

Henry Ruggs, who ran 4.27 40-yard dash, met with 49ers during combine

Henry Ruggs, who ran 4.27 40-yard dash, met with 49ers during combine

The 49ers saw firsthand how a blazing-fast receiver like Tyreek Hill of the Kansas City Chiefs can change a game when Hill's deep catch on third-and-15 swung the momentum in Super Bowl LIV. Henry Ruggs, believe it or not, might be even faster. 

As San Francisco looks to upgrade its receivers for coach Kyle Shanahan's motion-heavy offense, a speedster like Ruggs could be a game-changer. The Alabama receiver said Thursday that he has met with the 49ers at the NFL Scouting Combine. 

Ruggs put on an absolute show Thursday at the combine. After measuring in at 5-foot-11 and 188 pounds, Ruggs ran a ridiculous 4.27 40-yard dash. That is the fastest among receivers this year, and the best time thus far at the combine. His time also is tied with current 49ers receiver Marquise Goodwin, who could be on his way out of San Francisco, as the fourth-fastest at the combine since 2006.

That was just the start of Ruggs' big day, too. He also recorded a 42-inch vertical leap and had a 10'11" broad jump. His athleticism simply is off the charts. 

Ruggs joins a growing list of receivers the 49ers have met with at the combine. But it seems highly unlikely he will be available for the NFC champions. The 49ers own the No. 31 pick in the draft this year, and a handful of teams ahead of them make sense as a landing spot for Ruggs. 

[RELATED: Baylor receiver Mims believes his skills match with 49ers]

Before the combine, Ruggs was selected No. 18 overall by the Miami Dolphins in our latest mock draft. It would be a big surprise to see him fall past the New Orleans Saints at No. 24 overall.

It's clear the 49ers are doing their due diligence on a loaded receiver class and could be eyeing a future star at the end of the first round. Adding Ruggs would be gold to Shanahan's offense.