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49ers in Five: Could Trey Lance bring out the best in George Kittle?

“This offense can be really scary”

Everything you need to know in about five minutes

There are a lot of high hopes for the 49ers’ offense with Trey Lance under center. Whether it’s more deep passes or the threat of a running quarterback, almost everyone agrees things aren’t going to look the way they did under Jimmy Garoppolo. This week, ESPN’s Mina Kimes said that George Kittle could take his game to the next level with Trey Lance.

“I think it could be extremely exciting because of the unique traits that [Trey] Lance brings to the table. First and foremost of which is, of course, his versatility. Which is also George Kittle’s calling card. It’s a big part of the reason he’s the most dominant threat in the NFL off of play-action. He leads the league in yards per route run, which counts for productivity off of play fakes over the last four years. Some of that is scheme but a lot of it is because of his dominance as a blocker. Lance brings that similar ability to sow confusion in the minds of second-level defenders so I expect to see a lot more of that.

What’s going to be different, and what really intrigues me is, what Trey Lance brings as a play-maker. We have not really seen George Kittle play with that type of quarterback. Think of Kansas City. How many times have we seen the play break down, and Travis Kelce finds a way to get open because of his connection with Patrick Mahomes? If they can approximate anything close to that, and I think Kittle of course has that ability, this offense is going to be really scary.”

We’ve seen George Kittle produce without Jimmy Garoppolo before. After Jimmy tore his ACL in Week 3 of 2018, Kittle went on to break the record for single-season receiving yards by a tight end - despite 13 starts from Nick Mullens and CJ Beathard.

Lance will undoubtedly affect every skill player on the offense. I personally think Brandon Aiyuk stands to gain the most from the quarterback change because of his ability to get open deep, but that obviously remains to be seen. Tight ends often serve as safety valves for scrambling quarterbacks, so it’s possible that Kittle will take things to previously unseen levels.

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