Jimmy Garoppolo’s first start and win for the 49ers has injected an amount of excitement in the team the likes of which Kyle Shanahan has never seen before.
The first-year head coach said Monday after watching the tape of the Niners’ 15-14 win over the Chicago Bears that Garoppolo didn’t play a perfect game. But, there’s just something about Jimmy.
“I think it was some excitement that we needed,” he said. “I think we’ve gone through a long year.”
As has been the theme throughout this season, Shanahan focused on the long term when making his assessment.
“I think it’s been a necessary year,” he continued. “I think there was a lot of good that has come from this year, even though your record doesn’t totally show it. I’m looking forward to seeing that throughout the next couple years.
“But, I also think as you get to the end here, it’s nice getting a guy in there that can lead us into next year and for guys to get to know him, get to see him. I think it will make guys a lot more excited coming back in the offseason.”
Shanahan said he was proud of the way his players performed in their second win of 2017.
Not only did Garoppolo excel at quarterback, but the receivers caught most of the balls thrown their way and the offensive line had its best outing of the season, according to Pro Football Focus.
Of course, going 0-for-5 inside the red zone is going to be a cause for concern. But, Shanahan was content to write that statistic off to untimely penalties and focusing on the positive.
“No matter what the score is or no matter how you’re playing in a game that if you believe you can win, you always have a chance to win. That’s what we’re trying to develop here,” Shanahan said. “Not just hoping that we are. That comes through having success, and doing things like that and overcoming some things that we did. Hopefully we can put a few of those together and that can lead us into next year.”
Football coaches rarely look that far ahead, but Shanahan is going all-in on the notion the 49ers can build momentum in a lost season that will create a foundation for future success.