Joe Judge knows 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo pretty well. He was an assistant coach in New England when the quarterback was drafted there and spent the earliest stages of his career as Tom Brady’s backup.
"One thing that stuck out to me about Jimmy early on was that he never backed down from any competition," Judge said on Wednesday. "He’s a guy, it didn’t matter what room he was in and who he was competing with, Jimmy was always trying to get on the field and make an impact . . . He’s tough, man. He has those older brothers who always show up at the game, the typical Midwest meathead family. They’re always a lot of fun to have around."
Garoppolo’s brothers were already scratched from Sunday’s game because of the ban on fans attending contests at MetLife Stadium. Now it seems like Garoppolo himself could be a non-factor as well.
49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said the starting quarterback will likely sit out Sunday’s game with a sprained ankle he suffered last weekend against the Jets.
"Most likely Nick Mullens," Shanahan said on Wednesday regarding his quarterback situation. "I’d be surprised if Jimmy is ready. We’re still trying to hold out hope. We’ll see at the end of the week. But right now we’re going as if Nick is playing."
The Giants will prepare for both.
They may not have as intimate a relationship with Garoppolo — or his brothers — but they are familiar with Mullens.
"With Mullens, one thing he does an extremely good job with is you can spread the field out with him and he gets the ball out of his hands extremely fast," Judge said. "He is a guy who kind of turns two, as we say. The ball hits his hand, the ball is coming out and he’s getting it to the receiver. He has very good anticipation, he does a good job pre-snap of reading the defense and knowing where his receivers are going to be and he’s a tough, gritty dude. He’s had some success for them in the past when he has had to play."
Judge said the key to preparing for the possibility of two quarterbacks — the 49ers may be almost certain that Garoppolo will be inactive but the Giants certainly can’t be — is to go slowly.
"You have to have a little bit of a plan for both," Judge said. "These are conversations we are having with coaches and putting a plan together for the players. You want to get it to them in basic increments so you are not double-installing everything all at once for the players."