After watching the Golden State Warriors narrowly avoid elimination, my mind is admittedly not too focused on football. I will, however, try to pull my thoughts together to give y’all something to think about while you wait for some actual articles to be published on Niners Nation.
There has been a lot of hype around George Kittle after his record breaking season this past year, and while it is well deserved, expectations have to be lowered going into next season. In the 3 games that Jimmy Garoppolo started in 2018, Kittle averaged 4 receptions for 63.7 yards a game. In the 13 games after Jimmy G went down, his stats jumped up to average 5.8 receptions for 91.2 yards a game. The numbers are even lower during Garoppolo’s 5 starts the year before. Garoppolo just spreads the ball around too much for Kittle to approach the numbers he had with Nick Mullens and C.J. Beathard, something that should become more apparent next season with the (hopefully) improved pieces added this offseason.
Where I do expect to see him improve are his touchdowns. He only had 5 last year. Jon Embree (49ers Tight Ends coach) wanted him to train with Tony Gonzalez (a former player Embree coached) earlier this offseason, specifically to have him work on his route running, but I can’t, for the life of me, find anything about them actually training together. What I do know is, improved route running will lead to more open looks which in turn leads to more TDs. So no, I don’t expect to see him reach record breaking yardage again this season, but we may only be scratching the surface of what Kittle can actually do.
On to the links...
George Kittle hasn’t reached his ceiling, 49ers tight end coach believes (Jennifer Lee Chan, NBC Sports)
49ers give promotion to Salli Clavelle, NFL’s only full-time female scout (Matt Maiocco, NBC Sports)
John Lynch shares what prompted the 49ers to give Joe Staley a contract extension (David Bonilla, 49ers Webzone)
49ers Preview: Realistic Expectations For Jimmy Garoppolo’s 2019 Season (Vincent Frank, Forbes)
How 49ers’ DeForest Buckner reminds self of dominance with simple note (Matt Maiocco, NBC Sports)
Around the NFL...
Former NFL tight end Kellen Winslow II reportedly convicted of rape, indecent exposure, lewd conduct (Sean Wagner-McGough, CBS Sports)
In Praise of ... the Format and Size of the NFL Playoffs (Jonathan Jones, The MMQB)
Ranking NFL divisions by QBs: Mahomes and Rivers power AFC West to second spot, Brady can’t rescue AFC East (Sean Wagner-McGough, CBS Sports)
I’ll leave you with this little gem...