TEMPE, Ariz. — Titans cornerback Logan Ryan isn't surprised by Jimmy Garoppolo's early success with the San Francisco 49ers.
As teammates for three seasons with the New England Patriots, Ryan watched Garoppolo operate in practices while working behind starter Tom Brady.
"Jimmy is a cool dude," Ryan said. "He is poised beyond his years, and he played like that in his two starts so far. He's undefeated, and he's not afraid of the moment.
"What stands out is the way he handles pressure, and he has a quick release. He usually knows where he is going to go with the ball. It is hard to get him flustered."
But Ryan, after wrapping up practice with his Titans teammates on the campus of Arizona State University, said he's looking forward to facing his old buddy again – this time in a game -- when the Titans fans the 49ers on Sunday.
So, who has the advantage when two players are familiar with one another?
"Hopefully history repeats itself and I will pick him off like I did a lot in New England," Ryan said with a smile. … Nah, Jimmy's a good player, and he knows I'm a good player. I have seen him for years. I just tell our guys to be confident and keep playing like we're playing."
Garoppolo, acquired by the 49ers via trade in October, has started out on fire for the 49ers, who have won two straight and three of their last four games.
Garoppolo passed for career-high 334 yards and a touchdown for 92.2 rating in Week 14 against the Texans. He has 627 pass yards in two career starts with San Francisco, the most by a 49ers quarterback in his first two starts with team since 1970.
Garoppolo is one of four active quarterbacks to win each of his first four career starts (two with NE last year; and two with 49ers). The other three QBs are Drew Brees (2002), Ben Roethlisberger (2004) and Trevor Siemian (2016).
"He's played well versus Chicago and he played better last week versus Houston," 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said of Garoppolo. "I've just been impressed with him just coming into a situation where he didn't have all the time to fully get ready and understand everything, and for him to go in there and still stay poised, stay confident.
"He's made some plays too. By no means has it just been served up to him - he's getting in there and he's made a bunch of big plays that've given us a chance to win these games. I feel like the guys have been playing a little bit better around him also."
The Titans have played well on defense of late, especially in recent weeks.
The team has 20 sacks in the last three games combined, and the defense has moved up to ninth overall in the NFL.
But the 49ers have been reenergized of late, and the Titans know they'll need to make plays.
"I just tell the guys to go out there and be confident, and to keep playing the defense we're playing," Ryan said. "We just need to do whatever it takes to win. If it takes more than what we have been doing, then we have to do more.
"But we have to win this game."
Titans players take the field for Thursday's practice at Arizona State University. (Photos: Gary Glenn)