49ers' John Lynch defends Jimmy Garoppolo, believes QB has room to grow


INDIANAPOLIS -- General manager John Lynch slammed the door Tuesday on any speculation the 49ers could look to move on from quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo this offseason.

“We’re extremely proud of Jimmy and committed to Jimmy moving forward,” Lynch said at the NFL Scouting Combine. “He’s our guy.”

Garoppolo, 28, started more than five games for the first time in his career last season, as he started all 16 regular-season games and three games in the postseason. Garoppolo threw for 3,978 yards and 27 touchdowns in the regular season, as the 49ers won the NFC West and clinched home-field advantage in the NFC playoffs with a 13-3 record.

“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.”

Coach Kyle Shanahan said Garoppolo may have faced unreasonable expectations at the beginning of the season after returning from a torn ACL in his left knee that limited him to just three games in 2018.

“I thought there was as much pressure on him at the beginning of the year as anyone I’ve been around,” Shanahan said. “And he just took it, handled it all year and got better throughout the year. I was very impressed by him.”

Garoppolo compiled passer ratings of better than 110.0 in seven of the 49ers’ final 10 games of the season. The club did not lean on Garoppolo in the team’s first two playoff games, as the 49ers controlled the games on the ground.

[RELATED: 49ers roster analysis: Quarterbacks in good shape entering 2020 season]

In Super Bowl LIV, Garoppolo completed 18 of his first 21 pass attempts. But in the final 10 minutes, he went 2 of 10 for 24 yards with an interception and a sack as the 49ers blew a 20-10 fourth-quarter lead in a 31-20 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.

“He had his first full season as a starter in the NFL and he ended up in the Super Bowl,” Lynch said. “I know Jimmy feels the same way we all do. We left a little out there. That’s a shame. That’s something we’re going to have to deal with, really, for the rest of our lives. But nobody knows that more than him.

“I’m incredible proud, as is our entire organization, for the way he’s handled himself and the way he’s played and for the way he’s led our team.”

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