Learning from Brady was 'tremendous' for Garoppolo

At one point in his burgeoning NFL career, Jimmy Garoppolo was seen as the heir apparent for Tom Brady.

Turns out Tom is still slinging and winning Super Bowls and Jimmy G is still battling injuries and aiming to play up to his potential.

It was within the 2018 season in which Garoppolo was supposed to take his next and biggest step into stardom with the 49ers, but taking any steps became an issue when an ACL tear ended his campaign.

Now he's preparing for a comeback and preparation is an aspect of the game he's thankful to have learned from one of the NFL's all-time greats in Brady.

"The preparation as a whole was tremendous just to see it, to be in the same room as it, to learn from it," Garoppolo said of learning from Brady via The Ringer's Kevin Clark. "To be a rookie and see that, it was invaluable. I can barely put it into words. What you learn is playing the game within the game, that's a big part of Tom. I don't even know if he told me that [directly], but he would always talk about the game within the game. He would talk about the snap count, and he'd say 'you're going to go on two on this play' and he'd have a specific reason."

For three seasons, Garoppolo was in the quarterbacks room with Brady, seeing sparing playing time in 17 games with a pair of 2016 starts that truly were the genesis for the Jimmy G hype. While the New England coaching staff has long been commended -- and rightfully so -- Garoppolo pointed out it was Brady who pointed out the intricacies of playing the game inside the game.

"That's not the coaches telling you," he said, "that's the player playing the game within the game. It's the little things, the little details and how he ties them all together -- that's what separates you.

A third season in San Francisco now beckons, though.

First and foremost, Garoppolo must get back into playing shape and show his knee is healthy and ready to go. So far, so "good" on that front.

"The rehab has been great. The whole process, the training staff, and all the coaches put together a great plan. It really went well. To participate in [offseason training activities] the way I did and, hopefully, being full-go for training camp, I couldn't ask for much more coming off an ACL," Garoppolo said. "Knock on wood; we'll keep it going and stay in a good place."