Jimmy Garoppolo wasn’t able to see the field for much of the 2018 season, but that doesn’t mean he didn’t make the most of his time on the shelf. As detailed in a report by Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated, it was actually Mike Shanahan, the father of Garoppolo’s head coach Kyle Shanahan, who served as the quarterback’s mentor throughout the year.
After sustaining a torn ACL in late September, Garoppolo and the elder Shanahan met three times a week for four or five hour sessions in October, November and December, breaking down a decade’s worth of tape of Shanahan’s offense. It was Kyle Shanahan who came up with the idea for the two to pair up, which led to Mike actually living with his son and three grandkids for the majority of the season.
“[Kyle] just thought it’d be really good if I had the time,” Mike told Breer. “The coordinators were getting the other guys ready to play. With Jimmy not playing, if he’s sitting in the meetings as the third-team quarterback, that’s totally different from sitting down for four, five hours a day to talk about the plays. That’s what was fun for me, fun for Jimmy too. There was no need for him to sit around and go over game plans. That’s pretty time consuming.
“As a quarterback, you always want to know the why, because if someone comes up to you and asks a question, you want to be able to answer it,” Garoppolo said. “So there’s certain things, when I got traded here, they were just telling me, ‘Learn this play, you don’t need to know the whole play, just this part of it.’ And then after that was over, you get more time to break it down and everything, and Mike did a phenomenal job with that.”
Due to spending the majority of his career behind Tom Brady and missing nearly all of last season, Garoppolo has been relegated to just 10 starts in his five year career. Because of that, it’s expected that there will be ups and downs if Garoppolo can stay healthy enough to play for an entire season. Hopefully Garoppolo’s time with Mike Shanahan will at least make him more comfortable in 2019.
“Getting the overall understanding of that from a guy who’s been in it forever—you can’t ask for anything else,” Garoppolo said. “I keep telling myself it’s a blessing in disguise, this whole process with the knee and just coming back from it. We have to go out there and prove it now. We can all talk about it, it sounds good, but you have to go out on the field and prove it.”