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What should the 49ers expect from Jimmy Garoppolo in 2019?

Jimmy Garoppolo, 49ers

The 2018 season did not go the way the 49ers were expecting. Aspirations were sky-high after the way they finished the 2017 season. After inserting Jimmy Garoppolo as their starter, the team rattled off five straight wins to close the year.

Paired with head coach and offensive guru Kyle Shanahan, they were supposed to spearhead the league’s next great offense. Instead, Garoppolo tore his ACL just three games into the season and missed the rest of the year. So what should the 49ers expect from Jimmy Garoppolo in 2019?

It’s a tough question, but the answer is to temper expectations. Fans will rightfully be very excited about the prospect of Jimmy G returning, but they can’t get ahead of themselves. Garoppolo has still started only 10 games in his career, barely more than half a season.

He’s likely to be a little rusty when he first returns, having not played since Week 3 of the previous year. The 49ers will need to be patient with him, and be willing to deal with some bumps along the way. He was good but not great in his limited action last year, getting a little sloppy with the ball at times, and he still has a ton of room to grow.

All that being said, he has the potential to dominate in 2019. The 49ers have some of the most cap space in the NFL, and have signaled that they’ll be aggressive using it this offseason. They’ve been linked to Antonio Brown in trade rumors, and whatever they do they should have a significantly better receiving corp for Garoppolo to target next year.

They’ll also have Jerick McKinnon back, who missed the entire season due to a torn ACL of his own. McKinnon is one of the best pass-catching running backs in the league, and will be a great weapon for Garoppolo.

Andrew Luck was able to come back from a year away from the game and pick up right where he left off, so there’s no reason that Garoppolo can’t too. Shanahan has one of the most innovative offenses in the league, and is consistently scheming guys open. Tight end George Kittle was unstoppable last year, and should only continue to grow in his third year in the league.

Everything is set up for Garoppolo to be successful, from his supporting cast to his coaching staff. The main hurdle for him will be a mental one, and he’ll need to deal with intense media scrutiny and pressure from fans. Expectations will once again be high in the third year of the Shanahan era, but Garoppolo should be able to meet them now that he’s healthy.