Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Jimmy Garoppolo ready to lead 49ers to something special, says Mike McGlinchey

May 26, 2020 at 5:42 PM--

While the media continues to doubt Jimmy Garoppolo, there is no shortage of confidence in the San Francisco 49ers quarterback from his teammates. They know Garoppolo is the player who can lead them to a championship. In just his first full season as a starter, the 49ers quarterback led the team to the Super Bowl and would have come away with a victory had it not been for some late-game heroics from Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes.

One of 49ers players who has complete faith in Garoppolo is offensive tackle Mike McGlinchey, who on Tuesday spoke one-on-one with Jordan Schultz of ESPN on Instagram Live. The third-year offensive lineman explained that Garoppolo becomes a different person after stepping on the football field and once tasked with leading the offense.

"He's way different once he steps across the line," McGlinchey told Schultz. "He's got that kind of aw-shucks, like Joe Cool, like really chill personality off the field, but as soon as you look at him in the huddle, the way that he looks at you, and the way that he's talking, and the way that he commands everybody around him, there's just something that switches in his brain. And it's just like, 'Alright, it's go time.'

"And he's such a competitor. He's one of the most competitive people I've ever been around. Like, really has a drive and works his ass off to be so good. Playing with him is so fun.

"Hopefully, it's something where we're at the start of something really, really special here in San Francisco. Jimmy's young, and he's only going to get better."

McGlinchey remembered how cool and collected Garoppolo was under pressure during Week 14's thriller last season against the New Orleans Saints. Drew Brees and the Saints offense had just taken the lead late in the game, and the calm 49ers quarterback told his teammates it was time to go win the game.

Garoppolo and the 49ers accomplished that in dramatic fashion.

Added McGlinchey: "As soon as he looks at you in the huddle, you know, 'OK, this is the guy that's going to get it done.'"

McGlinchey notes that Garoppolo isn't the only reason the 49ers' future is bright. He mentions other key contributors like tight end George Kittle, who he calls "arguably the best football player in the NFL." Then there are wide receivers Deebo Samuel and rookie Brandon Aiyuk, fullback Kyle Juszczyk, running back Raheem Mostert, among others.

"We're so loaded," McGlinchey continues. "We're on a point where we can do something really special. You think about legacies of football players, and how (Aaron) Rodgers, and (Tom) Brady, and Brees have built their careers up. It almost feels like we're on the precipice of that with Jimmy. He's right there, and I think—if we do have a season—I think he's going to prove that he's going to take another step forward again."

San Francisco 49ers tackle Mike McGlinchey on Tuesday spoke with Jordan Schultz of ESPN on Instagram Live for well over an hour. The one-on-one discussion covered a myriad of topics during that time, including the recent retirement of McGlinchey's former teammate and close friend, Joe Staley.

McGlinchey may not have Staley anchoring the opposite end of the 49ers offensive line moving forward, but that doesn't mean he doesn't intend to continue utilizing the former tackle as a mentor. McGlinchey hopes that Staley, even retired, can help in his professional development.

"Hopefully, [Staley] will be up (from his home in San Diego) helping us out with the Niners as much as possible," McGlinchey told Schultz. "I'm still definitely going to lean on him and send him things that I'm thinking about. He still does want to be involved with football, but it's to the point where your body's not letting you play anymore.

"He's still a great football mind, the way that he prepared his whole career. I mean, he separated himself because of that kind of stuff, and so he's got countless lessons that you can learn from forever."

Staley's lessons for McGlinchey probably won't be limited to offensive-line play. The two still speak with each other at least a few times a week.

"He has become one of my best friends, and rarely is our conversation just about football," McGlinchey added.

As part of the conversation, McGlinchey did remember some advice Staley offered up during his rookie offseason. It came after what McGlinchey remembers to be his most embarrassing moment as a pro.

McGlinchey was in Houston as the 49ers took part in joint practices with the Texans. The tackle was immediately tasked with blocking five-time Pro Bowl and five-time first-team All-Pro defensive end J.J. Watt. That's a tall order for anyone, especially a rookie.

Watt embarrassed McGlinchey during a one-on-one drill.

"I tried to do a little reach block on J.J., and he just came off like it was the Oklahoma Drill," McGlinchey explained. "He hits me, catches me under the rib, and just plants me on my back. It's in front of the entire training camp, 10,000 people.

"There's reporters everywhere watching me because I was the first (round) pick. It was probably one of the most embarrassing things that's ever happened to me on a football field.

"And then Joe comes over to me and looks at me, and just goes, 'Well, it can't get any worse than that. So you might as well just forget about it and just keep playing football.'

"Luckily, it was the first three minutes of practice that happened on, and then we settled into the rest of the day, and it was OK."

Note: The full interview video has been removed from Instagram.

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