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Joe Staley: 49ers in good hands with Jimmy Garoppolo

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Jimmy Garoppolo earned a lot of media love since he took over a struggling 1-10 San Francisco 49ers team and guided them to five straight wins to close out the season.

Following Jimmy G inking a five-year contract, making him the highest paid player in NFL history, there has been plenty of pushback from those balking at giving a player with just seven starts $137.5 million. Those people apparently weren't satisfied with Jimmy G's lightning-quick release or the fact that he revived a dead-on-arrival offense.

Perhaps they might believe the confidence 49ers veteran left tackle Joe Staley exuded when talking about Garoppolo's leadership and acumen on SiriusXM NFL Radio on Thursday.

"The way he came into the huddle and practice when he was there for two days and really just kind of took over," Staley said, via ProFootballTalk. "He was kind of snapping at guys, 'Hey, pay attention. This is what we're doing right here.' There was no kind of feeling-out period with him. But he did it in a way too where it didn't come off as arrogant or anything like that. It was just like I'm asserting myself. This is what we need to do. I think a lot of that comes from who he was job shadowing for the first three or four years of his career over there in New England.

"He's a great guy. I can't say enough positive things about him. I think the franchise is in good hands with him at the helm."

Garoppolo clearly elevated the 49ers' entire operation. For Pete's sake, he turned Marquise Goodwin into a legit receiving threat. The 49ers scored on 62 percent of their drives with Garoppolo under center. Yes, most were field goals, but when Garrett Celek is your best red-zone weapon, you could see how things might bog down. With Garoppolo consistently moving the ball, the 49ers' defense wasn't routinely put in bad positions, as it had been earlier in the season.

Football is the ultimate team game, yet plugging in a player of Garoppolo's caliber at sports' most important position clearly upgrades the entire operation.

"I think once you have a lot of confidence in what the quarterback is doing, it kind of raises everybody's level around him," Staley said. "I think you just kind of saw that at the end of the year. He was raising everybody's level of play throughout the season as he went. We're excited to have him for the entire offseason and training camp and then the full season."

Quibble with the massive contract if you must -- Jimmy G could have earned more money if he'd gone the Kirk Cousins route -- but questioning Garoppolo's ability and importance to the 49ers is a foolish endeavor.

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