San Francisco 49ers running back Jerick McKinnon recently stated that he and his new teammates discuss the possibilities in 2018 with the focus being on the Super Bowl.

"In the season, you're going to have ups and downs," McKinnon said during an interview with Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area. "That's just part of a 17-week NFL season. But at the end of it, you've just got to keep the eye on the prize, and that's the Super Bowl. Whatever it is that happens, we have to stick together as a team to get to that common goal."

With the 49ers in Year 2 of a massive roster rebuild, declaring the team a Super Bowl contender this season could be considered a reach. For the players in the locker room, that remains the goal. After all, most of them were around for last year's five-game winning streak to end the season with quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo leading the offense and the hope is to carry that success into 2018.

"The whole team has talked about it," McKinnon said. "We had a thing with the Navy SEALs. They were asking us, 'What's the goal?' It was equally collaborated on: 'Win the Super Bowl.'"

Why shouldn't that be the 49ers' goal? There probably isn't a team in the league that desperately seeks out mediocrity. Still, there are some who believe the 49ers should lower their expectations or at the very least, stop discussing them this early in the offseason. One of those individuals is former 49ers defensive coordinator Eric Mangini, who recently appeared on FS1's First Things First with Cris Carter and Nick Wright.

"I think the first thing they have to do is stop talking about the Super Bowl," Mangini said. "And all they need to talk about is OTAs. They need to focus on this moment and then move on to training camp, and then move on to the first game.

"One of the biggest things that you can get caught up in is either focusing on the past, what happened, or focusing on the future. You can't control the past. There's nothing you can do about that, and you're not Nostradamus. You can't predict it. Just focus on the moment you're in right now."

Then Mangini dropped a Matt Flynn comparison for quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo.

"Look, Jimmy Garoppolo did a lot of good things last year," he said. "Matt Flynn did a lot of good things in Green Bay. He was 5-0 before he went to Seattle and then he never played significantly again after that. So let's see where they go and the worst thing they can do is start predicting, and projecting, and talking. Forget about that stuff. There's a lot of good teams they've got to get past."

While Mangini wants the 49ers to stop talking Super Bowl, he feels that a playoff appearance would be a significant enough improvement over last season.

Wright noted that the 49ers have failed to address skill positions in the first round of recent drafts, which means there is a lot of pressure on Garoppolo to carry the offense.

"He's going to have to make Pierre Garçon, and Marquise Goodwin, and Jerick McKinnon better than we've seen them up to this point in their NFL careers," Wright said.

Carter voiced his opinion on the discussion surrounding Super Bowl contenders including the 49ers. He has a strong belief that the team is not there yet.

"What other Super Bowl contender (is there that) we don't know 10 starters playing for them?" asked Carter. "So, No. 1, get them off the Super Bowl contender list, right? Because ain't no way a team can be a Super Bowl contender and I don't know 10 guys on their team, ok? Let's just stop all that offseason ish giving out these Lombardi trophies.

"Jerick McKinnon, I would have asked him this question when he said that: Everyone around here talking about the Super Bowl. Is this team better than that Vikings team you was just on? Because I disagree with you if you think so. And I know the Vikings, they came up one game short of the Super Bowl and last year at this time, they weren't talking about that.

"So Super Bowl teams are not made in the OTAs by your conversation. They are made by the teams deciding this week we're going to try to get better at a certain aspect of the game. They have serious question marks as far as their defense and their secondary. They've got serious question marks as far as their playmakers. So there's a lot of work that they need to do. Jimmy G has not been there four or five years so let's not make a goal for the 49ers that's really not obtainable."

What are realistic goals for the 49ers? Carter believes making the playoffs, splitting the division series against the Los Angeles Rams and Seattle Seahawks, or sweeping the Arizona Cardinals are better ones.

"Establish a home-field advantage the way the 49ers used to," he said. "There are so many other building blocks that (John) Lynch and (Kyle) Shanahan have to (accomplish) before you are a Super Bowl (contender). There is no other team last year that was 1-10, that we are considering them Super Bowl contenders."