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Golden Nuggets: One sleep away from George Kittle’s season debut

Your daily San Francisco 49ers news for Saturday, September 24th, 2022

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San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle ‘pretty happy’ to be making season debut Sunday night

“I’m pretty happy,” Kittle said Thursday. “Just had a breath of fresh air, honestly. It feels great to be back on the football field with the boys. I love our performance staff. They do a fantastic job of getting us back together but I’d be OK with not really seeing them for the rest of the season. So, just really happy to be back out there catching the football, actually getting to put pads on, hit people.”

Hutchinson: What to look for in 49ers’ matchup with Broncos

“I know one prediction I’d like to have back. I predicted Jason Poe would start at left guard by the end of the season. It was couched in an appreciation for Poe and was firmly defined the hot take category, but it doesn’t look like anyone’s replacing Banks right now.

His athleticism allows him to be sloppy with his hand placement at times, but to say his technique is poor would be a mischaracterization; he just has a bit of room for error. His ability to adjust, especially handing off difficult stunts with Trent Williams, was eye-opening.

In my book, he has been the clear second-best lineman behind Williams.”

Jimmy Garoppolo, Trey Lance, and the 49ers’ Long-Term Quarterback Dilemma

“We can hold two things in our mind at once. The Lance trade might still yield Super Bowls for San Francisco. But it is also probably painful for 49ers fans to realize their team could have just taken Parsons in 2021, paired him with defensive end Nick Bosa, and perhaps be the Super Bowl favorites in the NFC right now—and could have beaten the Rams in the NFC championship game last year, too.

The 49ers are back to where they were before the Lance trade—all in on Jimmy Garoppolo to win now. But the entire idea behind the Lance trade was for the 49ers to strike the balance between short- and long-term success. In trying to do both, the 49ers may have ended up serving neither.”

49ers vs. Broncos: Can Aaron Banks, Spencer Burford keep shining in prime time? (paywall)

“While we’re on the topic of run-stuffing defensive tackles: Jones now wears No. 97. That actually initially threw off Banks, who grew used to Jones’ old No. 93 with the 49ers.

“I saw the 97 and I was like, ‘Whoa, D.J. grew a couple inches and lost a couple pounds,’” Banks said, laughing.”

Eager to attack, 49ers’ Jimmy Garoppolo might get his wish vs. Broncos (paywall)

“It sounds as if Garoppolo would like to be less programmed in the 49ers’ offense. However, Shanahan said he didn’t know what Garoppolo meant in his uncharacteristically candid comments to reporters.”

Kyle Shanahan provides updates on George Kittle, others on KNBR

“No news. Hopefully [Arik Armstead will] get in a little bit today,” Shanahan said. “Hasn’t been able to go this week yet, so I’m not sure, but still early today on Friday. So I’m hoping when he gets in here he’s good enough to get in a little today in practice, but it’s usually half speed today anyway, especially for the D-linemen. The only full-speed period we do is 7-on-7 on a Friday. But if he’s out there, I know that’s a better sign than him not being able to go.”

49ers coach Johnny Holland, three years into cancer fight, sees sunshine (paywall)

“Three years ago this week, Holland, 57, the San Francisco 49ers’ linebackers coach, met team physician Dr. Tim McAdams in an office at Levi’s Stadium. He was expecting to hear that his strained rib muscle and pain in his back and left shoulder had a benign cause.

Instead, McAdams closed the door. Holland was told his CAT scan from the previous day revealed that he probably had multiple myeloma, a cancer that starts in abnormal plasma cells in the bone marrow that form tumors. The results from Holland’s blood work the following day provided confirmation — he was Stage III. The typical life expectancy: between five and 10 years.”

AROUND THE NFL: In an ever-changing NFL, what does modern pass defense look like? (paywall)

“49ers defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans offers a perfect example of a defense rotating in the opposite direction. His 4-3 base scheme looks to hide its true colors with two high safeties and wide edge rushers (San Francisco ranked sixth in quarters coverage snaps against the pass in 2021). With the seams protected and corners playing over the top of vertical routes on the sidelines, offenses want to attack by isolating the middle linebacker underneath, throwing into the flats or running posts into open airspace.

Ryans solves this problem by rolling his weak-side safety down and playing Cover 3 to flood the middle of the field again. This approach is what I’d call a “weak-side rotation,” where the weak safety plays a major role in the breadth of a defense’s coverage menu.”