That spotlight became infinitely brighter after he posted a 5-0 mark as a starter with the 49ers before parlaying that success into a five-year, $137.5 million contract in February.
So, does the 26-year-old Garoppolo ever dwell on how his life has changed so quickly over the last few months?
“I like to think about it at certain times,” Garoppolo told Peter King of NBC Sports.com, courtesy of the latter’s “Football Morning in America” column.
“When I’m in here working, you just don’t have any time to think about it. But every once in a while it’s good to sit back and smell the roses as my dad would put it … not now. Now, it’s grind mode. Don’t really have a lot of time for that.”
Garoppolo also doesn’t have a large sample size to consider. He completed 67.4 percent of his passes for 1,560 yards, seven touchdowns and five interceptions in six games with San Francisco after being acquired from the New England Patriots for a 2018 second-round draft pick.
It didn’t take long, however, for Garrett Celek to realize that Garoppolo was here to stay with the 49ers.
When King asked Celek when he knew Garoppolo was a keeper, the tight end said, “The first time he got in the huddle with us.”
Celek isn’t the only fan of Garoppolo.
Consider the words of Tony Romo, an ex-NFL quarterback, current CBS analyst and fellow former Eastern Illinois star:
“You cannot be in a better situation early on than Jimmy,” Romo said, per King. “He’s been with some of the best minds you could ever be around in the National Football League. He got the foundation of Bill Belichick, who probably set his routine for success for the rest of his career. He was around Tom Brady for three-plus years, learning through osmosis if nothing else. Tom’s ability at the line of scrimmage to do something, and then for Jimmy to go back and study the how and why … I am sure Jimmy saw so much subtlety that took Brady years to learn through experience. Jimmy could just see it in practice and he’s like, Oh, now I see why he did that. You get that ability to improve at a much faster rate than you otherwise would have on your own. It’s really a priceless thing for young quarterbacks to be behind a great quarterback.
“And now with Kyle Shanahan, he’s getting an offensive genius. I don’t throw that term around lightly–Kyle really is. I would argue there’s three or four guys in the league who really separate themselves as head coaches or offensive coordinators getting chunk plays. You’re dropping back and you’re having a guy come open 20, 25 yards downfield. That’s a huge load off a quarterback’s shoulders for always having to produce on third down to move the chains. That’s where Kyle really separates himself.”
Garoppolo began to separate himself when he won the two games he started for the Patriots in 2016, as Brady served his four-game suspension for his part in Deflategate. Garoppolo injured his right shoulder in the second game that season, and was replaced by Jacoby Brissett for the final two contests before Brady’s return.