NFL

49ers’ George Kittle still has ‘no idea’ if Jimmy Garoppolo, Trey Lance will start

It was back in April ahead of this year’s NFL Draft when San Francisco 49ers All-Pro tight end George Kittle admitted during a podcast episode that he had “no idea” if veteran Jimmy Garoppolo or 2021 rookie Trey Lance would be his starting quarterback for Week 1 this coming September. 

Kittle added at that time he was “kind of 50-50” between the two, and it appears he’s since obtained no additional inside information about the state of the depth chart. 

Per David Bonilla of 49ers WebZone, Kittle made a Friday appearance on “The Pat McAfee Show” and wasn’t able to offer much of an update during that discussion. 

“Now, if Trey Lance is the starting quarterback, and I say ‘if’ because I have no idea what’s going to happen … all he needs is reps,” Kittle explained during his comments. “And if there’s growing pains, there’s growing pains. I think we have a good enough team around him, from Trent Williams to Nick Bosa to Fred Warner to George [Kittle] to [Brandon] Aiyuk to Deebo Samuel. We have enough guys to help him out through those growing pains. So, if it happens, it is what it is, and if at the end of the day we have to run the ball 35 times, count me in, baby.”

Multiple knowledgeable individuals have heavily suggested some within the 49ers fear Lance isn’t yet ready to guide an advertised contender to the Super Bowl. Kittle didn’t address that but insisted that Garoppolo helped Lance develop throughout the 2021 campaign. 

“Jimmy G, he could have been a d— and said, ‘It’s not my job, not my responsibility to take care of this guy and put him under my wing.’ But instead, what he did is he was professional every single day,” Kittle remarked. “He didn’t complain one time. He showed up, he worked, he started, he got us to the NFC Championship Game, and he helped Trey along the way.

“So I thought Trey took a bunch of steps forward. And for Trey to become a really good quarterback in the NFL, he needs reps. And so, once this kid gets a lot of reps, just watch out because some of the things I’ve seen him do in practice is kind of mind-boggling, so I’m waiting for it.”

As long as Garoppolo remains attached to the 49ers, some will continue to doubt that Lance will receive a majority of meaningful reps later this year.

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