San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo is going to play in his first conference championship game after securing his first career playoff win. That raised the bar to the next level with the focus on how he will handle being on this stage for the first time as the starting quarterback. With that in mind, Garoppolo may lean on something he learned from his time with the New England Patriots from playing behind Tom Brady.
Jimmy Garoppolo’s Time With Patriots
Coming out of Eastern Illinois, Garoppolo didn’t grab much national attention during his collegiate career. But his play was enough to intrigue the Patriots enough to take him with the 62nd overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft.
Garoppolo spent the first his first two years sparsely seeing the field until his third after Brady received a four-game ban due to the deflate-gate ordeal. The former second-round pick stepped in as the starter for the first three games of the 2016 season before a shoulder injury derailed him.
That saw him throw four touchdowns to zero interceptions while posting back-to-back games with a passer rating above 105. Following that point, Garoppolo was moved before the trade deadline the following season as it grew clear that he wasn’t going to re-sign in New England.
Although his time with the Patriots was short, he had the unique opportunity to learn from a future first-ballot Hall of Fame quarterback that has helped him in this next chapter of his career with the 49ers.
What Jimmy Garoppolo learned from Tom Brady
Over his brief time with San Francisco, it has become quite clear that being in New England for the first couple of years of his career has had a notable impact on him. A sizable chunk has been his dealings with Brady over that span that allowed him to learn first hand from the six-time Super Bowl champion.
During his media session on Wednesday, Garoppolo voiced that he had some tutelage from Brady on how to properly prepare for a big game throughout the week. The four-time league MVP has garnered a strong reputation for his steady study habits that have been at the core of helping him along in his illustrious career.
Beyond Garoppolo’s talent, that will be another aspect that will need to continue to stay the course if he hopes to continue to experience success as a starting quarterback. That will be put to the test on Sunday night in the NFC championship game against a highly formidable opponent in the Green Bay Packers.
Jimmy Garoppolo, 49ers honed in on Packers
The 49ers are going to play in their first NFC title game since 2013, which has put a great deal of importance on the team, making the most of this opportunity.
San Francisco’s defense will play a critical factor in the contest, but it will also be Garoppolo’s performance that could play a pivotal role. The 28-year-old had a quiet outing in the win over the Minnesota Vikings as he completed 11-of-19 passes for 131 yards with a touchdown and an interception.
Garoppolo didn’t throw the ball much in the second half against the Vikings, which could be a much different case this time around in the NFC title game. The 49ers will need a balanced attack to get past the Packers, who are looking to avenge a disappointing 37-8 loss back in the regular season.
It’s also a chance for Garoppolo to put forth a statement game that proves further that he has what it takes to push the franchise forward to compete for the Super Bowl. There is a lot on the table where he can step up to prove he can lead his team to that stage.