Last year's San Francisco 49ers team never stopped fighting, even after losing nine straight games to start the season. Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo wasn't sure what to expect when a mid-season trade sent him from New England to San Francisco (0-8 at the time). The Patriots were 6-2 at the time, and he found himself on a team in search of its first victory with a first-year general manager and first-time head coach.

What Garoppolo found in San Francisco surprised him.

"When I first got here, I remember going to the first practice, and guys were flying around," Garoppolo told CBS 5's Dennis O'Donnell during a recent one-on-one conversation. "They were [0-8] at the time, and I remember standing on the sideline, and I was like, 'This doesn't look like an 0-8 team.'

"The presence of everybody, the energy that people were playing with, I mean, most [0-8] teams, you'd expect them just turn it in and the year's over with. But guys were flying around.

"It was different, and I kind of felt that right away. There was a confidence in the air. They lost five games by three-or-fewer points. Once things started clicking at the end of the year, we got into a little bit of a roll."

The 49ers, led by Garoppolo, indeed went on "a roll" to end last season. Many attribute that success to the new quarterback who was inserted into the final five games of the season and came out with a victory in each.

Garoppolo knows the 49ers were a young team last year and he expects the team to grow in year two. What do the 49ers look like now compared to his shortened first season with the team?

"I think we're playing with a lot of energy," Garoppolo answered. "There's a lot of competition at a lot of positions, and that's what you want to see at this time of the year. It makes our team deeper.

"Injuries are going to happen at some point. We were a young team last year and those guys who were rookies last year are now in their second year, feeling more comfortable and everything. You know, it's starting to come together nicely."

Expectations are understandably high for the 49ers in 2018. They have Garoppolo, who Peter King of NBC Sports recently called the most compelling story in the NFL, and head coach Kyle Shanahan, who is considered one of the most brilliant football minds in the game. Add some young stars to the mix, and you have a recipe for some exciting football.

Garoppolo and the offense's success will hinge on the play in front of the quarterback.

"It starts up front (with the offensive line), and those guys have been doing a great job up front for me," Garoppolo said. "They're giving me extra time, making the run game go. When they're working in sequence with one another, it just makes the whole offense more in sync and smooth.

"It's just so much fun when they're doing the right thing and playing how they're playing right now. It makes everything that much easier so if they're doing their job and me and the skill guys can get rolling on the same page, we'll see. It's going to be a fun year, though."

You can watch the full interview with Garoppolo below.