We'll get our first real glimpse of Jimmy Garoppolo's on-field acumen Sunday against the Chicago Bears, but he made it clear on Wednesday that he's already got a PhD in QB speak.
Reporters peppered Garoppolo with questions about the start of a new era of San Francisco 49ers football, his expectations for the future and the potential of getting the franchise tag this offseason. The quarterback didn't go full Marshawn Lynch, but all of his responses were still relatively the same. Garoppolo made it evident that his sole focus is on the Bears.
"I'm just trying to take it one game at a time right now," Garoppolo said. "I know it sounds very cliché, but there's a lot of football left in the season. So, we're trying to make the best of it."
Garoppolo's first start in a 49ers uniform will come just more than a month after San Francisco acquired the quarterback in a trade with the New England Patriots on Oct. 31. Fans have had to wait patiently while Garoppolo learned the intricacies of Kyle Shanahan's offense. He's still by no means a master, that won't happen until the offseason, but Garoppolo clearly feels comfortable enough for Shanahan to put him under center against the Bears.
It's yet to be determined whether or not Garoppolo will wear a wristband to help him call plays. Shanahan normally prefers that his quarterbacks stay away from the aid, but this certainly qualifies as a special circumstance.
This entire week of practice will be dedicated to putting together a gameplan that will give Garoppolo the best chance to be successful.
"He'll work at it all week and whatever he doesn't feel comfortable with and he doesn't get down in these three practices, then we'll take it out and whatever we're going with Sunday, he'll know 100 percent of it," Shanahan said. "I want him to feel real comfortable going into this game. So, we'll see how he feels at the end of the week."
Garoppolo said that he'll have "a ton" of family and friends on hand at Soldier Field Sunday as he grew up just 30 miles northwest of Chicago in Arlington Heights, Ill. He'll be facing a stout Bears defense led by former 49ers defensive coordinator Vic Fangio. Chicago owns a top 15 defense in both scoring and total yards allowed.
Thankfully for Garoppolo and the rest of the 49ers, the weather on Sunday will be tame as far as winters go in Chicago. There will be mostly sunny skies with a high of 51 degrees. More importantly, there's just a 20 percent chance of precipitation. Those conditions will feel balmy compared to the blizzard these two teams played in last season.
Although Shanahan wouldn't confirm, it's likely that Garoppolo will start the 49ers remaining five games in 2017 as long as his health permits. Everyone is eager to see how Garoppolo builds on his tantalizing, albeit brief, 49ers debut in Week 12 that featured a 10-yard touchdown pass to Louis Murphy.
There's no denying that Sunday may be the start of something special in San Francisco, but that's a conversation for another day as far as Garoppolo is concerned.
"I'm trying not to think about the future too much," Garoppolo said. "I've learned in the past that when your mind wanders like that, quarterbacking in this league is hard enough. So, when you start thinking about other things you're going to have a tough time. I think just staying focused on the Bears this week."