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Ted Robinson: Jimmy Garoppolo has given the 49ers fanbase something to grab onto

Apr 2, 2018 at 4:51 PM--

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San Francisco 49ers play-by-play announcer Ted Robinson was in Los Angeles in January going for a run along The Strand, which is a strip in Manhattan Beach with some of the most expensive homes in the country on one side and the beauty of the Pacific Ocean on the other. During his run, Robinson was wearing a shirt with the 49ers logo on it when a fan running the opposite direction went by and, without breaking stride, shouted exuberantly, "Hey! We've got a quarterback!"

The runner probably didn't know who Robinson was, but the story is an excellent example of the feeling among the Niner Faithful with the quarterback situation finally settled. A month after Robinson encountered the fan, Garoppolo signed a five-year, $137.5 million contract that will align him with the six-year deals that head coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch received last year, proving the quarterback is their guy.

"The last five weeks of the season (were) the most fun that I've had on this job and that's what Garoppolo did by coming in and in two months, to a place where he knew no one, he made everybody pull together," Robinson said on KNBR last week.

The 49ers have admitted that even after the trade for Garoppolo, there was still some longing on Shanahan's part for Kirk Cousins, who was always part of the head coach's long-term plans for the franchise.

"We made the trade, but then there were some days that Kyle Shanahan was like in mourning because I think everybody knows his master plan was to have Kirk Cousins come in eventually," Lynch said during an ESPN Radio interview last month. "I was proud of Kyle because I think he knew this was the right thing for our franchise and he didn't hesitate."

After a few weeks, Garoppolo made Shanahan forget about Cousins or any other potential franchise-saving quarterback.

"Jimmy went out there and played very well," Shanahan said during an interview on The Adam Schefter Podcast. "In the first game, I was extremely excited. In the second game, I was even more excited. By the third game, I think we all kind of forgot about free agency and about the draft and we're like, 'Alright, we can isolate on one guy right now.' And we were very happy that it happened."

Robinson believes the presence of Garoppolo changes everything for the 49ers – not just on the football field, but in the minds of fans.

"I think Kyle had to recognize (after a few Garoppolo starts and wins) this works, and the fanbase had embraced Garoppolo, which was so important," Robinson continued. "Kyle and John haven't been here long enough to totally understand how beaten up the fanbase has been for much of the last 15 years, and they needed something to grab onto ... The excitement is there."

Shanahan is eager to see how Garoppolo performs in a full season. While he has only started seven career NFL games, each of them have been victories.

"I'm looking forward to watching him play through a season," Shanahan said on Monday. "I know he's going to have some highs and I know he's going to have some lows and I want to see how he responds to it, how his teammates respond to it."

You can listen to the entire interview with Robinson below.

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