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.”
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.