SANTA CLARA -- Saturday’s matchup with the Vikings might be the first postseason start for Jimmy Garoppolo, but the quarterback was well prepared by the second half of the 49ers' regular season.
Five games decided in the final seconds of regulation and/or even overtime couldn’t have been a better scenario to prepare several 49ers players for their first journey to the playoffs. Coach Kyle Shanahan is confident that there isn’t much that can faze his quarterback.
“I feel like last week was a playoff game,” Shanahan said Tuesday. “That was pretty intense, or whenever we played Seattle. I think he has shown that he can handle himself with poise. He’s played some really good games and just like everybody, hopefully, he does it this Saturday which will be his first playoff game.
“But I think that Jimmy has played in some pretty big games and anyone that’s around him in those game and talks to him and stuff it’s not much different in those game with him as a preseason game. He stays the same.”
Garoppolo believes the increased intensity as the season progressed helped prepare the team for the intensity of the playoffs. They’ve also had their share of prime-time games, which makes the national spotlight nothing new.
“We’ve had a couple of late games this season that just felt like playoff games starting with Seattle here, Baltimore, New Orleans, all those games,” Garoppolo said. “We’ve said it throughout the entire season, we think it’s going to help us going forward.
“But as far as the experience with it, I think we don’t have to deal with the noise and things like that so it will be a little different at home but just the energy the intensity that’s out there it’s a little different.”
Garoppolo will keep his routine consistent as he has since the preseason. That lack of variation in his routine is one of the reasons veteran left tackle Joe Staley isn’t worried about his quarterback one bit.
“[It’s] the way he’s been the whole entire time he’s been here,” Staley said. “The thing I always come back to when I’m asked about Jimmy, the thing I respect most about him, and the guys in the locker room respect about him is his preparation and his work ethic.
“You see a lot of talented guys come into the NFL throughout the years but what guys respect is the preparation and the work ethic that he puts in. He’s been the same guy since he’s been here since day one. He’s going to try to be the most prepared person he can be. He’s going to practice the same way every day.
“It’s really prevalent with Jimmy in the way he prepares. He’s not going to try to reinvent anything, not going to try to do anything different. He’s going to be the same person, the same quarterback he’s been for this franchise since he’s been here.”
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The unflappable Garoppolo is ready for the increased scrutiny and in fact, seems to thrive in it.
“You got to feed off the energy a little bit. It’s the playoffs, You got to love it.”