The San Francisco 49ers are now three weeks removed from their Super Bowl LIV loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, and like the other 31 NFL teams, they are now turning their attention to the 2020 season. While they fell short on the biggest stage of them all, there was plenty of good to take away from the 2019 campaign.
The 49ers had the No. 2 defense in the league, the No. 2 rushing attack and quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo had a career year, completing 69.1 percent of his passes for 3,978 yards, 27 touchdowns and 13 interceptions.
While the 49ers won their first eight games, Garoppolo never really looked like one of the NFL's elite quarterbacks, and didn't rise to the occasion late in the Super Bowl when the 49ers failed to score a single point in the fourth quarter. 49ers general manager John Lynch believes Garoppolo had a great year in his first full season as a starter, and doesn't want the 13-3 record and NFC Championship to be forgotten just because they lost in Miami.
"We're extremely proud of Jimmy and committed to Jimmy moving forward," Lynch said at the NFL Scouting Combine, via NBC Sports Bay Area. "He's our guy."
Garoppolo played in just three games during the 2018 season before tearing his ACL, so this year was really the first full season he has on record. Because of this, Lynch claims that Garoppolo will continue to improve.
"From the day he walked into our building, he made us better and we continue to feel that's the case, and that's the most exciting thing about him, is the room for growth," Lynch said. "He has not come close to hitting the ceiling. I think the room for growth, the more experience he gets in this system, the more experience he gets playing, in general, we think the arrow's up, and that's a good thing."
49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan is also high on Garoppolo, and.
"I think Jimmy is one of the main reasons we got to the Super Bowl," Shanahan said at the 49ers season-ending press conference earlier this month. "I think he overcame a lot. This was his first year in his career going through an entire NFL season. He still doesn't have as many starts and stuff as Baker Mayfield."
"I think he had a hell of a first year truly playing the position, especially coming off an ACL where you have to fight through that a ton as a quarterback, where your rhythm and everything is not there at the beginning of the year. For him to be like that and to not let the pressure get to him, and to improve as the year went, I think says a ton about Jimmy. I can't tell you how much I loved coaching the guy as a player and as a person this year."
Garoppolo may have appeared to be more of a game manager than a playmaker who could shoulder the load for the 49ers, but we can't forget that this was his first full NFL season. The 49ers' brass is confident in him moving forward, and it will say a lot if the 49ers can replicate their success in 2020.