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Golden Nuggets: Kittle believes he could return to the 49ers by Week 14

Your daily San Francisco 49ers links for Wednesday, December 2, 2020

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San Francisco 49ers v Seattle Seahawks Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images

Today is technically a day off for the 49ers. They’ll travel to Arizona and get settled in, before taking the practice field on Thursday.

Kittle expects to return to 49ers’ lineup ‘sooner than later’

Kittle said he is encouraged with the recent improvements he has noticed with his physical condition.

“They said eight weeks; I said six,” said Kittle, who sustained the injury on Nov. 1. “And I’m excited. These last couple days have definitely progressed forward and made me very optimistic about returning to the field of play.

“When I first got hurt, my mindset was that I’ll be back. And I’m going to continue to keep that mindset because I definitely feel like I’m going to be on the field here sooner than later.”

“The good news is it’s apparently the easiest bone to heal in your foot, and it’s definitely doing a good job of that. Thankfully, I have great trainers and great [physical therapy] guys. They’re the ones that are getting me back and healthy. And I think we’re doing a fantastic job of that so far.”

Kittle did not reveal details of his rehab regimen, but he emphasized his recent progress has given him a lot of reason to believe he will return to action before the end of the season.

“If you’d ask me that six days ago, I would’ve been a little less optimistic,” he said. “The last week has been really good for me.”

San Francisco 49ers’ Kyle Shanahan says Arizona ‘best scenario for us’

On Tuesday, Niners coach Kyle Shanahan discussed the Niners’ forthcoming move for the first time, acknowledging the logistical challenges of the relocation and all that it entails while also tipping his cap to the Cardinals for their help in getting the Niners squared away in the Phoenix area.

“The best scenario for us and the most convenient for us right now with the situation presented is just getting out to Arizona, there’s a good setup there,” Shanahan said. “The Cardinals have been awesome with us, everyone out there has been awesome with us. I do believe we have a really good setup there to make the best of it, and that’s where we’ll play our games, too.”

Before settling on Arizona, which was a contingency that the 49ers and the NFL had discussed well before the season began, the Niners did what they could to find a more local option. Their initial preference was to find a Bay Area county nearby where they could practice and then fly to their “home” games in Arizona and return.

There’s Hope: 49ers Post-Week 12 Under Reaction

49ers don’t have to win the final five.

San Francisco does not have to finish the season undefeated to have a shot at the playoffs — they just have to be unbeaten within the NFC West.

If San Francisco comes up short on Monday Night in Arizona versus Buffalo or Washington or Dallas it does not indicate the season is over, all it indicts is more anxiety and stress over making the playoffs.

If Arizona loses one of the two versus Los Angeles (highly likely) and loses to San Francisco, then the 49ers will own the tiebreaker due to a better division record. Obviously, San Francisco has to take care of business first — that’s the main ingredient to the recipe.

Who would be San Francisco 49ers’ emergency QB?

Kyle Shanahan was asked who the Niners’ emergency quarterback is in a video conference with reporters on Monday.

We’ve got a couple of choices. They fight over it, but it’s been (FB Kyle Juszczy) Juice. He takes a lot of pride in that, but now that (RB Jerick McKinnon) Jet’s back, and no offense Juice, but Jet played quarterback in college. So, I’m probably going to go with Jet.

Juszczyk spent some time in high school under center and also ran some wildcat formations in college at Harvard. He has not thrown an NFL pass.

McKinnon was the starting quarterback at Georgia Southern for his first three collegiate seasons, leading the team’s triple-option attack. His lone NFL pass attempt came in 2016 while he was with the Vikings. It fell incomplete.

SF 49ers: 4 biggest unsung heroes over first 11 games of 2020

No. 3: SF 49ers Defensive Tackle Kevin Givens

The SF 49ers were without starting nose tackle D.J. Jones (reserve/COVID-19 list) for Week 12, and that’s been just one notable shortage along a banged-up defensive line this season.

But worry not, as second-year reserve nose tackle Kevin Givens made his presence felt with an impressive two-tackle, one-quarterback hit performance in his first-ever start at the NFL level.

Givens even recorded a fumble recovery, too.

On the year, Givens has seen a total of 327 defensive snaps (47 percent) and posted a highly respectable 65.9 Pro Football Focus grade in the process. Considering Jones is heading towards free agency next season and the Niners may be hard-pressed to re-sign him, at least they know Givens could be a reliable option on the cheap to possibly fill Jones’ void.