A lot has changed for Jimmy Garoppolo. That includes who he takes snaps from, a partner the 49ers quarterback must be in perfect sync with.
One of the 49ers' more important offseason signings was reuniting center Alex Mack with Kyle Shanahan. The 49ers signed Mack to a three-year, $14.85 million contract, and he's expected to be a big help to Garoppolo and the rest of the 49ers' offense.
Mack's past experience with Shanahan was a big key to getting him to Santa Clara. Shanahan was Mack's offensive coordinator with the Cleveland Browns in 2014 and in 2016 for the Atlanta Falcons when Mack went to the Pro Bowl.
While Garoppolo is going through an adjustment period with his new center, he's certainly already impressed.
“It’s definitely different," Garoppolo said Wednesday on 95.7 The Game's "Damon, Ratto & Kolsky" show. "I’m sure it’s like catching a ball from a different quarterback, everyone's a little different in how they do it. We’ve only had a couple of days together, but it’s been phenomenal, it really has.
"He’s an awesome dude, really funny. It’s nice to have a vet that you can lean on a bit."
Garoppolo also is picking Mack's brain on the center's former quarterback.
"I’ve actually been picking his brain about things that he and Matt Ryan did in Atlanta," Garoppolo said. "The guy has been around for a little while, so he’s got some information up there that you can use.”
Ryan was Mack's QB for all five seasons he spent in Atlanta. Mack went to the Pro Bowl three times with the Falcons, and the two shared a special 2016 season when Ryan was named NFL MVP and Shanahan's offense led them to the Super Bowl.
In 2016, Shanahan's second season in Atlanta and Mack's first, Ryan completed 69.9 percent of his passes for 4,944 yards and 38 touchdowns. He was intercepted only seven times and led the league with a 7.1 TD percentage.
For the 49ers to climb back to the top of the mountain, Garoppolo must lead the way. And it all starts with the connection between he and his new center.