Expectations for Jimmy Garoppolo were high heading into the 2018 season. The San Francisco 49ers quarterback, after all, was coming off of an impressive five-game winning streak to end 2017. Perhaps the expectations were a bit unrealistic.

Garoppolo was still relatively new to the system. With his performance the season before, everyone was excited to see what he could do with a full offseason studying with an offensive mastermind like head coach Kyle Shanahan.

It's not that Garoppolo was terrible before his season-ending injury in Week 3. It's just that compared to 2017, the performance was a bit underwhelming. Again, the expectations might have been too high.

General manager John Lynch sat down with Grant Cohn of the Santa Rosa Press Democrat on Friday and tried to explain why Garoppolo might have struggled during his abbreviated 2018 campaign.

"It was only three games (before Garoppolo got hurt)," Lynch said in defense of his quarterback.

Cohn noted that Garoppolo took more sacks and showed less confidence while on the field.

"I think that's true," Lynch acknowledged. "But I think his first year, there were very limited game plans, and it had to be. The second year, he probably knew just enough to be dangerous, but also to get bit every now and then.

"You hope that this year, with another year of offseason, albeit some of it not playing — we couldn't do 11-on-11 much in the offseason. Jimmy thrives when there's a rush around him. It's kind of contrary. A lot of people, 7-on-7 is easier. He kind of feels that rush. He's a 'feel player.'"

Lynch goes on to suggest that Garoppolo will improve with more time in Shanahan's offense. It's a "demanding system," says the 49ers GM.

Added Lynch, "As for last year, why wasn't it at the level of 2017? I think that's something where he knew just enough. Our hope was that would improve throughout the year. Our expectation is, even though he wasn't on the field, that did happen.

"This offseason, I know he took a lot in, and we're really happy with where he's at."

You can watch Lynch's interview with Cohn below.