What Jimmy Garoppolo Learned From Tom Brady's Playoff Experience
The San Francisco 49ers will be participating in the NFC championship game for the first time since 2013. Part of the team's resurgence in the NFC West has been because of quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, who had his first full season as the team's starting QB this season.
Garoppolo, a former Patriot, was traded by the Patriots to San Francisco in 2017, and tore his ACL as the starting QB of the 49ers in the beginning of the 2018 season. Now healthy and able to fully grasp the team's offense thanks to live reps, San Francisco looks unstoppable this season, even after trailing off from a 8-0 start to the regular season. That's because of some strong play by Garoppolo, to go along with an elite run game and defense.
One has to think some of the ways Garoppolo has gone about his business in the playoffs is based on how Tom Brady approach this time of the season in New England. Garoppolo spent three seasons with the Patriots after being drafted by them in the second round, and got to learn and watch from the greatest QB of all-time in the process.
Sure enough, Garoppolo was asked leading up to the NFCCG what he has learned from Brady to prepare for postseason play.
"I haven’t personally talked to him, but just, you know, things that I took away from watching him go through it and everything, just the consistency that he had throughout the entire run,” Garoppolo told the media last week. “Whatever it was, the first playoff game, the Super Bowl, he was very consistent between all of it and I think that just goes into your preparation throughout the week. If you are prepared going into the game then you’re going to play like that.”
Leading by example is what Brady does best, and that's what Garoppolo was able to learn from during his time in New England. The 42-year-old's attitude during the playoffs is an attitude preached by head coach Bill Belichick, who does not treat playoff games any different than a regular season game. That mindset keeps everyone focused and helps them prepare and perform their duties on the football field at a high level.
Unlike Brady, who had to throw his team to victories many times throughout his career, Garoppolo doesn't look to be in that predicament this season. With a top defensive unit and the second-best run game in the NFL (the Ravens were no. 1, and had a historically great run game this season) Garoppolo has a similar role to Ryan Tannehill in Tennessee - make some good throws, but more importantly: don't turn the ball over. If he doesn't commit turnovers, then the 49ers can dominate possession and run the ball down the opponent's throat while the defense makes plays and gives the ball back to the offense.
If Garoppolo can make a couple big throws against the Packers in the NFCCG and play turnover-free football, then the 49ers should be in the Super Bowl for the first time since 2012.