It didn’t take long for the San Francisco 49ers to warm up to Jimmy Garoppolo.
After the New England Patriots traded their then-backup quarterback in 2017, Garoppolo started five games with the 49ers, leading the team to victories in each of them. But Jimmy G won over his new teammates well before the wins.
He did it on Day 1.
“Honestly, it sounds cliché but it’s real, it was at the first practice,” 49ers fullback Kyle Juszczyk said Tuesday in Miami, via NBC Sports Boston’s Phil Perry. “He ran the scout team the first day. And that first period he absolutely diced our defense. You could see it in his footwork, his mechanics, the confidence that he emitted. You could see that this guy was the real deal.”
George Kittle was excited when he first got the news about Garoppolo. But once the tight end heard his new quarterback’s calls at the line of scrimmage, he knew Jimmy G would be a strong leader.
“It was funny, his first play under center, he has a really good cadence,” Kittle said. “He has a good voice for it. Right after he said, ‘Hut! Hut! Hike! For the first time, everyone was like, ‘Whoa! Nice!’ It was sick.”
Even offensive tackle Joe Staley, who didn’t know much about Garoppolo’s time with the Patriots, quickly realized what all the buzz was about. Although he didn’t have a strong reaction to the trade, he certainly reacted once the two stepped on the field together.
“… He came in here and he really blew me away,” Staley said. “In the huddle, all the little nuances of being a quarterback — the command that he had, his quick release. You could definitely tell that he was trained in that Patriots system as far as getting rid of the ball fast, which is awesome for an offensive lineman.
“He’s continued to grow and develop since he’s been here. It’s been awesome to see him get to this point.”
Garoppolo will seek his first Super Bowl title as a starting quarterback when the 49ers take on the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LIV on Sunday. The former Patriot looks to channel Tom Brady, who gave him advice ahead of the big night.
Thumbnail photo via Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports Images