On Tuesday morning, San Francisco 49ers' star tight end gave his thoughts to NFL Network’s Peter Schrager on Matthew Stafford, Jimmy Garoppolo for the umpteenth time, and how the 49ers stack up against the new-look Rams offense.
The headline was Kittle’s comments about Jimmy, but he didn’t say anything that we don’t already know or haven’t heard, though Kittle did have some shots for all of the speculation during the past couple of weeks:
You know, I think that’s all it is speculation. You know, the 49ers aren’t in the playoffs this year so let’s just talk about the most controversial thing which for the past two or three years has been the quarterback position of the 49ers. I think Jimmy G is a hell of a quarterback. I love playing with him. I think he’s a great leader on and off the field. He gets guys into the positions they need to be in to win. Whenever he’s given the opportunity he plays at a really high level, especially when he’s not injured. Fighting fire with fire? I think my fire is Nick Bosa, Arik Armstead, and Fred Warner and I’m pretty confident in that.
This is one of the few times where this isn’t a “what is he supposed to say” situation. Think about who Kittle has played with and how his career has gone with the Niners. His memory of Jimmy G, when healthy, is the offense on cruise control and moving the ball at will during 2019.
It doesn’t hurt that the two are friends, but I genuinely believe that Kittle believes in what he is saying, and this isn’t your typical player/coach speak. Kittle isn’t going to say, “Deshaun Watson or QB X would be great.” There’s no reason for him to do so. Perhaps the biggest takeaway should be “he gets guys into the positions they need to be in to win.” The offense runs 1000% smoother with Jimmy G under center.
Appearing on FOX Sports 1’s “Undisputed,” Kittle spoke highly of Stafford but still has plenty of confidence in his defense:
Matthew Stafford is a great quarterback. I think he played incredibly well his entire career with the Lions. The throws that he makes. He’s a hell of a quarterback and a hell of a leader. The Rams are obviously getting a great football player. I think it’s definitely going to help them, but I’m very confident in our defense and the players that we have to go up and compete with them twice a year.
We need to erase everything we know from the past two seasons when it comes to the 49ers owning the Rams. San Francisco was able to do so because their defense didn’t respect Jared Goff.
There were plays during the game where Richard Sherman would let a receiver run by him, knowing that Goff wasn’t going to throw it deep. Defensive backs were over-aggressive, and rightfully so, as you don’t have to worry about certain routes.
That’s not going to happen with Stafford, who is prone to mistakes, but his gunslinger mentality allows Sean McVay to call more than six passing plays that the 49ers were prepared for.
The onus now shifts to Jimmy G and Kyle Shanahan and the rest of the offense to keep their foot on the gas against a Rams offense that figures to be far more potent than the one we saw in the Goff era.