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George Kittle highlights one area that’ll help improve his connection with Trey Lance

The duo spent last week at Kittle’s annual Tight End University event.

Los Angeles Rams v San Francisco 49ers Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images

49ers tight end George Kittle spent last week in Nashville where his annual Tight End University event took place. NBC Sports Bay Area’s Jennifer Lee Chan spoke with Kittle, who highlighted where Trey Lance has progressed as a quarterback.

Kittle said that Trey had taken a step forward during OTAs:

“Trey has been great. I think he took steps forward in the OTAs. It’s really fun when you start connecting on plays that you might have struggled with in the past, and that’s something that we did at OTAs a couple of times. So that was fun. Got to get a lot of extra work in.”

The Mike Florios of the world will take that as a dig at Lance, but I read it as a compliment. To me, Kittle is giving us tangible evidence of Lance improving. On a specific play, a year ago, for whatever reason, Lance couldn’t complete said pass. Now, that’s not an issue, which is a sign of progress.

We’re about a month away from the 49ers training camp, so we’ll see if the duo can continue to connect when it counts. Kittle’s stock went to the moon with Purdy under center last year. It’d be wise for whichever quarterback is under center to lean on Kittle. He’s a matchup nightmare.

Kittle feels like his rapport with Trey is growing stronger as the duo spends more time with each other:

“I just like taking ball with Lance, too, because one of the things that Kelce was saying about him and Patrick is just they communicate about certain things, and there’s talk through everything. So as long as they’re on the same page, it doesn’t really matter what the defense does. You can find that spot, or he’s going to know what Travis is going to do on any given play because they’ve repped so many times, they’ve talked about it so many times.

So just having that opportunity to sit down and talk with Trey, watch film with him, and having this event, too, because Trey sat next to me through our meetings. For him to be able to watch guys talk about routes and stuff like that, to see how other tight ends are talking about it, he learns stuff from that, too. So it’s just a fun opportunity for him.”

There’s a blind trust that Patrick Mahomes has with Travis Kelce. That’s something that happens when you’ve targeted somebody 700 times, which is over 600 more attempts than Lance has to any receiver.

Kittle taking the time to accelerate Lance’s learning clock by doing the little things like watching film with him is a sign of veteran leadership that’s necessary for a team relying on a young quarterback.