“The Ringer’s Kevin Clark and Steven Ruiz are joined by star 49ers tight end George Kittle to talk ball. They discuss the changing tight end position, how he’s processing the NFC championship loss, the ways head coach Kyle Shanahan utilizes the 49ers skill players, and more (0:33).”
“We played Seattle in the playoffs this year and Kyle has this thing where if he wants to set up a play action or a bootleg type, we’ll sometimes call a run play that he knows is not going to work,” Kittle explained “... We’re running a run play multiple times, and it’s averaging like two yards a carry, two yards a carry, two yards a carry, and we threw a play-action behind it and Deebo [Samuel] goes for like 75 yards in Seattle.
“The whole thing is set up because it’s the exact same motion, it’s the exact same alignment, it’s the exact same. And all of a sudden, Deebo’s running a shallow, I’m faking like I’m the defensive end, linebacker thinks it’s power, he steps up four yards and Deebo’s uncovered in the flat running for a touchdown.”
“I think Trey looks a lot different,” Kittle told Rome. “I think his confidence in himself — he has this calmness to him in the huddle, he looks like he’s having fun again and he’s healthy. Those are three things that are good for the Niners.”
Lance’s newfound swagger is translating to his on-field performance, Kittle said.
“I’m really excited, too,” Kittle said. “This OTAs practice, the last day of minicamp, me and Trey connected on a 60-yard touchdown down the sideline — a little box fade around the linebacker. He threw it away from the safety, perfectly in the bread basket.
“I was able to catch it in stride for a touchdown, and that was a route that, in training camp last year, we kind of struggled to connect with.”
“Don’t get me wrong, I know it’s going to come to an end,” said the 6-foot-2-inch, 193-pound receiver. “It’s time to start thinking about retirement. I know it’s coming. But as long as that fire is still there and I’m productive, I’ll play.
“Even if we won a Super Bowl next season I wouldn’t retire. I was watching Charles Barkley on television and he was talking about how he would like a championship. When I see a great athlete in that position it makes me work harder and not take what I’ve accomplished for granted.”