The Los Angeles Rams were a surprise team in 2017. They won the NFC West and made the playoffs for the first time since 2004. Meanwhile, the San Francisco 49ers ended the season winning each of their final five games with quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo at the helm. While the 49ers were already out of playoff contention when that winning streak started, they hope the momentum from the late surge carries over into the 2018 season.

The 49ers and Rams each came away with a victory after their two 2017 matchups. Then-rookie head coaches Kyle Shanahan and Sean McVay led the two franchises last year. Both are considered to be among the most brilliant offensive minds in football, which makes future matchups exciting.

McVay spoke to the media at the 2018 NFL Scouting Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis on Wednesday. He was asked about his new division rivals, Shanahan, and Garoppolo.

"You saw a lot of good things," McVay said. "I think when you look at it, a huge amount of respect for Kyle and the way he's able to put his players in good spots. Then I think with Jimmy, you talk about some of the traits that you're looking for. He's a natural thrower of the football. He can move around, buy time with his legs, change the launch point, showed great feel for the play-action game. So you see why they're excited about him."

While Garoppolo was not yet with the 49ers when the two teams played each other early in the season, he was the starting quarterback when San Francisco played the Rams in the season finale. Garoppolo completed 20 of his 33 pass attempts for 292 yards, two touchdowns, and two interceptions in the 49ers' 34-13 victory.

Over the course of the season, Garoppolo completed 120 of his 178 pass attempts for 1,560 yards, seven touchdowns, five interceptions, a passer rating of 96.2, and a rushing touchdown during his five starts and six game appearances with the 49ers.

On February 8, Garoppolo signed an NFL-record five-year, $137.5 million deal to remain with the 49ers in 2018 and beyond.

"I always joke with Kyle, 'I wish you were in another division,'" McVay continued. "But it'll be fun competing against those guys, and Jimmy did a great job for them."