The only way to know what someone is going through is to have walked a mile in their shoes.
Luckily for the 49ers, Jimmy Garoppolo already has walked way more than a mile in the shoes that Trey Lance now wears. Garoppolo was drafted in the second round of the 2014 NFL Draft by the New England Patriots with plans to eventually take the reins from Tom Brady.
During his three-plus seasons in New England, Garoppolo learned a lot from Brady and fielded a lot of questions from the local media about how and when he would be taking over for a living legend. So, Garoppolo understands what it's like for Lance to be dealing with questions about who the 49ers' starting quarterback will be during his first training camp.
“I'm sure he's handling it like a champ," Garoppolo told reporters Wednesday when asked about what he learned from Brady that he could impart to his younger teammate. "Trey's a good dude. He's pretty even-keeled for the most part. I think that's a big part of it, but I'm sure he's doing a great job with it.
"Advice for it? I don't know, just be yourself I guess.”
Of course, Garoppolo's arrival also helped spark a new phase of Brady's career. Brady won two Super Bowls after Garoppolo was drafted and eventually the Patriots had to trade Garoppolo to the 49ers in October of 2017 as Brady wasn't declining in the way they believed he would.
Garoppolo has been solid for the 49ers when healthy, but his injury history led coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch to make the bold move to trade up and select Lance, effectively starting the clock on Garoppolo's time in San Francisco.
Lance has impressed in training camp, appearing to push Garoppolo for the starting job most believed would be the veteran's this season. While Shanahan has refused to name a starter for competitive advantage reasons, signs still seem to point to Garoppolo being the guy under center when the 49ers take on the Detroit Lions in Week 1.
However, Lance will see the field during his rookie season even if he doesn't start. The 49ers have been working on installing a package for Lance during camp, and Garoppolo has received advice from Drew Brees on how to deal with the coming off the field in certain situations, something Brees dealt with in New Orleans when Taysom Hill would come in.
“I’ll keep that between me and him, but just kind of a stay ready type of thing," Garoppolo said. "Yeah, it's a different type of flow to the game. As a quarterback, you’re used to being out there the whole time. And so, it's just something that you’ve just got to get reps at and get used to it.”
The 49ers will play their final preseason game Sunday against the Raiders, and then Shanahan will tab who he believes is best suited to lead a team with Super Bowl aspirations in 2021.