49ers tight end on Friday’s media tour in support of second annual Tight End College George Kittle There are no restrictions on the questions that can or cannot be asked of him. And he knows the most high-profile topics will be related to the biggest issues revolving around the team.
Who will be the quarterback in 2022?
Kittle said Trellance there is a “crazy ceiling,” but he needs experience from playing. So, for the upcoming season, does Kittle prefer an inexperienced Lance who is trying to reach his ceiling or Jimmy Garoppolowho has all the experience needed to lead a team?
“It’s the million dollar question, isn’t it?” Kittle said. “That’s one of the reasons I’m glad I’m not the 49ers head coach. That’s what Coach Shanahan is all about. I’ll give you both ways. Jimmy G, great in the crowd, great leader, Mentors people. When he talks, people pay attention. He has a quick release, he knows the offense. Like I said, played two NFC championship games and knows what he’s doing. Trey Lance can run, can stretch games Timing, all the game moves are unbelievable to pass the ball 70 yards. I don’t know. It’s a toss up for me.”
Kittle is fine with anyone as long as they find his way when they should.
“As long as they threw the football at me, it was like that,” Kittel said. “Football is a competitive sport. If you don’t have competition, if you’re not fighting for your start every day, you’re not going to get better. It’s great to see these two pushing each other throughout the year. “I think Trae has learned a lot from Jimmy. If Trae is a starter, if there’s growing pains, hey, so be it. I think we have enough good players around to help him from Trent Williamsarrive [Brandon] Aiyuk, Hope Deebo [Samuel], for me, our running game. I think we have a lot of players around us who can help him succeed. “
If the 49ers brought both of them to camp and let them play, the situation could be distracting. How will players prevent this from happening?
“I mean we’re kind of used to it now,” Kittle said. “I mean, Jimmy G has been under a lot of scrutiny since he tore his ACL in 2018. All season it was like, ‘Oh, is Jimmy G that guy? And then he came back, took us to the Super Bowl, and we lost And then the next offseason was, ‘Oh, is Jimmy G that guy? In 2020, we got hurt again. It was a tough year for the Niners, and then we came back for another NFC championship game. We’ve been through it all. That’s it. I don’t think it’s really distracting. I mean, I don’t know in the building. I see these guys show up every day, go for a run, we lift weights, go to meetings , it’s not even a topic of conversation. We’re all here just trying to be better, whether it’s Jimmy G, or Trey Lance, or Nate Sudfield, or our unrelated Mr. Brock Purdy. Whoever is tossing that stone wants to throw it at me more than anyone else. “
Still, the potential for dysfunction remains high if the 49ers insist on keeping Garoppolo in training camp and preseason. Garoppolo told Adam Schein a few weeks ago that the 2021 season is “weird” and that Garoppolo don’t want anyone. Did Kittle notice the embarrassment Garoppolo went through?
“I mean, everybody can see it,” Kittle said. “When you trade three first-round picks for a quarterback, it’s like writing on the wall, isn’t it? Jimmy is a pro every day. He never complained once. He wasn’t in the corner. Nonsense. He shows up every day as the starting quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers. He goes out to practice every day. He works hard every day. He sets a great example for all the young people, for all of us, he Motivated everyone. I don’t know if there was a better professional player in the NFL than Jimmy Garoppolo to handle this situation. I think he made everyone around him better that year. . . . Hey, you’re It’s unbelievable to deal with what no one else is dealing with here. I can deal with any of my things and move on and go play football. Great. The way he handled it was great for us … I don’t want anyone else to do that, but hey, he’s done a lot on that and he’s playing at a very high level.”
This might be the best case for anyone who could trade Garoppolo to another team or sign him if he ends up being waived. In very embarrassing situations, he handles himself like a pro. So, in a much less stressful arrangement, he’s likely to handle himself this way.
The question remains if and when the 49ers will move him. Garoppolo’s worst-case scenario remains that the 49ers will let them play, the Lance will win, and Garoppolo will face a choice between a big pay cut or being released in late August, when all other depth charts are already OK – and no guaranteed salary for 2022.But it’s also a best-case scenario for the 49ers because it means Lance is ready to leave, and the 49ers will have millions in cap space being used to re-sign players like Samuel Nick Bossa.
Through it all, the question of whether the 49ers think Lance is ready has persisted. If they were in doubt, they would be tempted to rule out competition for as long as possible. If those doubts persist after the preseason, maybe they’ll actually keep him and keep Garoppolo as the starter.