Laken Tomlinson was pretty much thrown into the fire when the San Francisco 49ers traded for him before last season. The offensive lineman already had 24 starts' worth of experience when his plane landed in the Bay Area. None of it, however, was in a system quite like head coach Kyle Shanahan's.

"The job description for us is different from anywhere else I've been," Tomlinson told team reporter Joe Fann on the 49ers Studios Podcast.

Tomlinson knew he had to get his body into shape to handle the workload demanded of Shanahan and he had to do it while starting 15 games at left guard for the 49ers.

What does Shanahan expect from his guards?

"You've got to be able to move, win on linebackers, you've got to be able to pass protect," Tomlinson answered. "It's a lot of moving, a lot of agile guys."

After being thrown into the starting role while learning on the fly, Tomlinson gradually improved as the season progressed. His play elevated as he absorbed information and became more comfortable. The 49ers noticed and rewarded him with a three-year extension in June.

"For Laken to improve that much throughout the year as an O-lineman in a totally different scheme than he's ever done was very encouraging to us," Shanahan said on Friday. "We saw the same thing throughout the offseason. We thought he had a very good OTAs. That's why we were extremely excited to get him locked up here for a little bit before we got started."

Tomlinson finally had a full offseason to get up to speed. He didn't start feeling comfortable with the 49ers playbook last year until the second half of the season, he revealed. That's when things began to improve for the offensive lineman.

"I wasn't really second guessing myself," Tomlinson said. "I found myself more comfortable and confident. Once I felt that and I had confidence in my knowledge of the playbook and my body as well, I just let it go."

Click here to listen to Fann's entire interview with Tomlinson.