No. 1: Jimmy Garoppolo is back and raring to go
When Garoppolo went down to a torn ACL in a scramble gone wrong in Week 3, the hopes of the 49ers went down with him.
However, Garoppolo and his work ethic cannot be denied. He and McKinnon are already doing drills at the 49ers facility. He (and McKinnon) still have a way to go in their rehabilitations, but the fact they’re able to do these drills together should be a good thing for the both, as they will be able to get through it together.
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Garoppolo will return to an offense that is in better shape than when he left. McGlinchey was one of the top rookie linemen in the NFL, Pettis had an exceptional run after the 49ers bye week, then-rookie running back Jeff Wilson showed some ability when he took over starting duties to close the year, Kittle became one of the top tight ends in the NFL and Bourne would record over 40 catches for the year.
And Garoppolo will finally have McKinnon with him, a combination the 49ers are hoping will explode after they weren’t able to see them together in a regular-season game.
He also has a good backup in quarterback Nick Mullens, and both should be able to help the other get better.
With all due respect (and there is a lot of that due given his journey) to Mullens, Garoppolo is still the 49ers’ top guy at quarterback. His physical gifts are better and his ceiling is bigger, all he needs to do is to develop some touch on his long throws to truly break through and be the franchise quarterback that the 49ers haven’t seen in a long time.
There’s a lot of reasons to be excited for next season, and the team may be closer to a Lombardi than you might think.