The 49ers will play their season opener versus the Chicago Bears without All-Pro tight end George Kittle. Unfortunately, injuries have been a reoccurring theme for Kittle. As a result, second-year quarterback Trey Lance will now turn to the names of Ross Dwelley and Charlie Woerner as targets at tight end.
Head coach, Kyle Shanahan’s play-calling, should ease Lance into his third start. San Francisco’s tight ends stock rose after their strong performance against the Minnesota Vikings. We look at why the 49ers will be OK with Woerner and Dwelley below,
Woerner jumped Dwelley last season as the second tight end on the roster and started three games in Kittles absence. The third-year tight end saw the jump in the depth chart because of his superior blocking. However, he missed most of the training camp after he underwent core muscle surgery.
Two things to love here— Jordan Elliott (@JLeeElliott) February 2, 2022
1. Trey Lance throwing a dot to Charlie Woerner on the Corner route
defender falls down but the ball placement was so good it likely wouldn’t have mattered even if he didn’t
2. Aaron Banks (#65) with a great pass protection rep on this play pic.twitter.com/47Xp9hwQJx
Woerner’s receptions will come from a quick or play-action pass. Lance lays it on the numbers, and Woerner does the rest. Woerner looks to prove that he is more than a blocker. His ten career catches could be matched this year alone.
Nearly 50% of Woerner’s receiving yards in 2021 came from this reception. This 27-yard catch set up a Deebo Samuel touchdown, bringing the game to 20 to 18 early in the fourth quarter.
The time has come for Dwelley to fight for his TE2 spot on the depth chart. Woerner may get the start, but Dwelley is the better receiving option. In addition, Dwelley can stretch the defense vertically and has proven to have good hands.
You can see Dwelley as the inline tight end at the top of the screen. Dwelley puts his route running skills on display with a strong stick nod route. Lance will benefit from having Dwelley on the field more because of his agility.
Another example of Dwelley stretching the defense vertically. It would not surprise me if Dwelley ended with north of 60 receiving yards. He will be an easy target for Lance with his ability to get open near the middle of the field.
Football is here, and the 49ers will be fine without George Kittle. Instead, Shanahan will use a mixture of Dwelley and Woerner to keep the defense attentive. Woerner holds more value to the run game with his run blocking, while Dwelley could help the passing attack.