Jimmy Garoppolo might be just 26 years old with only three career NFL starts under his belt, but he’s already making a world of difference for the San Francisco 49ers.
The former New England Patriots understudy made his first start with the 49ers on Sunday, and he was pretty darn good. Garoppolo completed 70 percent of his passes, racking up nearly 300 yards through the air and doing just enough for the Niners to eke out a win in Chicago.
It wasn’t the prettiest effort. Garoppolo is still learning the system, and the Niners are, well, a two-win football team. But Garoppolo’s presence alone seems to have transformed the entire organization, a huge step in the ongoing rebuild of one of the NFL’s proudest franchises.
And it hasn’t taken long for Garoppolo’s new teammates to buy in to his talent and potential.
“It’s a special feeling with him,” offensive lineman Brandon Fusco told reporters after Sunday’s win, per the San Francisco Chronicle. “He’s a special player. That’s the reason we did what we did to get him. You can definitely feel it. We’re all excited. There’s more to come from this.”
It’s not just the way Garoppolo throws the football, either.
“Just look at him. Look at him,” wide receiver Marquise Goodwin said, per the Chronicle. “You know what I’m saying? He’s got it together. He came in a short time and has just helped us flip this around. Some people are just winners, and he’s a winner. … He’s just a confident guy. When you play with confidence like that, you feel unstoppable.”
It seems Garoppolo’s time in New England, playing for one of the greatest coaches of all time (Bill Belichick) and behind one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time (Tom Brady) paid dividends.
“To me, it’s like he really learned from Tom Brady,” running back Carlos Hyde told reporters, per The Mercury news. “That’s what he reminded me of: just a young Tom Brady out there. How Brady is late in the game, where you give him like 30 seconds to go, yo, he can still win the game for his team.”
There’s a reason why trading Garoppolo pained Belichick so much. There’s reason to believe Garoppolo will only get better, too, which means the future is once again bright in San Francisco with No. 10 under center.
Thumbnail photo via Mike DiNovo/USA TODAY Sports Images