Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Matt Breida impressed with Jimmy Garoppolo, 49ers defense, feels team will be much-improved vs. Bengals

Sep 11, 2019 at 3:51 PM--

Matt Breida doesn't sound too worried about his quarterback, Jimmy Garoppolo, even if the media is quick to overreact to Sunday's performance against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, which was a victory, by the way. The San Francisco 49ers running back understands the situation. It was Garoppolo's first regular-season action in nearly a year, and the quarterback is coming off of an ACL injury.

Garoppolo absorbed a pretty good impact on Sunday. No, not the sack, but the 20-yard scramble in the fourth quarter, which was nullified by a Mike McGlinchey holding penalty. Still, it was a nice effort — even if it made every Niner fan's heart skip a beat.

"Just getting the nerves out; I feel like Jimmy did a great job of that," Breida told Damon Bruce and Ray Ratto on 95.7 The Game on Wednesday. "He wasn't worried about much. [...] Just seeing the confidence in him with his knee was great. I feel like that didn't bother him at all during the game, so it's going to be a great year for him, I feel like."

Garoppolo didn't see too much action during the preseason. He had that one brief outing against the Denver Broncos, a longer one the next week against the Kansas City Chiefs, and that was it. The 49ers coaches were content with sidelining their starting quarterback for the remainder of the preseason. While that seems to be a growing trend within the NFL, the cautious approach with Garoppolo probably had more to do with him coming off a serious injury.

Breida, however, doesn't believe the reduced preseason action has resulted in more rust than in previous years.

"I think it feels about the same," Breida said. "I think the first game, you're always going to have your mistakes. Guys are finally playing a full game for the first time. Preseason, I think starters play like a half. Sometimes they don't play at all, so I think the first game, for every team around the league, is just knocking off the rust and getting everyone back in full-game mode. I feel like that's what we did, and I feel like we're going to make a big improvement from Week 1 to Week 2."

There seemed to be less rust on the defensive side of the football, which forced four takeaways against the Buccaneers and even got into the end zone a couple of times. It was a sharp contrast to last year when the unit managed just seven takeaways and two interceptions all season, which set new NFL records for single-season lows.

The defensive front has been revamped, and that is helping the players behind the line thrive. It's nothing new to Breida, though.

"I've been seeing it all camp and all offseason," Breida said. "I knew those guys would go out there and ball, and have a great game, and they did just that. And I just couldn't wait to see them all on the field at once in a live game. It was just awesome, man, the way the defense definitely helped out the rest of the team. It's just an awesome feeling, and, like I said, there's going to be games where we've got to pick them up.

"So it's a whole team effort; special teams, offense, defense, and those guys did a great job against Tampa Bay."

You can listen to the entire conversation with Breida below.

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