SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — Expectations for the 2018 NFL season are high to say the least for the San Francisco 49ers, winners of the final five regular season games last year and led by a star quarterback who welcomes the challenge of returning the team to the playoffs and not just to relevancy.

Jimmy Garoppolo says he is comfortable with the white-hot spotlight following his stellar play for the 49ers, winning the five games he started at the end of the season following a trade with the New England Patriots where he backed up Tom Brady for three seasons.

The 26-year-old Illinois native told KPIX 5 Sports Director Dennis O’Donnell that the offensive line play so far in training camp bodes well for head coach Mike Shanahan’s complicated offense to have a breakout year.

“Well, you know, it all starts up front, and those guys have been doing a great job up front for me, giving me extra time, making the run game go,” said Garoppolo. “When they’re working in sequence with one another, it just makes the whole offense more in sync and smooth. It’s just so much fun when they’re doing the right thing and playing how they’re playing right now. It just makes everything that much easier. So, if they’re doing their job, and me and the skill guys can get rolling and on the same page, I mean, we’ll see. It’s going to be a fun year, though.”

Garoppolo earned NFL Player of the Week honors in a Week 15 victory over the Tennessee Titans, during the 49ers late-season winning streak. He and most of 49ers starters will play at least a series against the Dallas Cowboys Thursday in the teams’ pre-season opener at Levi’s Stadium. The game will be broadcast in the Bay Area on KPIX 5.

Earlier this year, the 49ers signed Garoppolo to a five-year contract worth a maximum of $137.5 million, the largest contract in NFL history on an annual basis at the time it was signed. Garoppolo’s newfound fame since joining the 49ers (his jersey is the among the top 10 sold) appears to fit in with the Bay Area high-profile sports scene and hasn’t been an issue for him even as he is instantly recognized everywhere he goes.

“It’s a good problem to have. It means you’re doing something right. So, it’s just an exciting time in the Bay. You know, we’ve got a lot of good sports teams and everything; it’s a good time to live in the Bay.”






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