3 SF 49ers players who should see more field time vs. Patriots

LaMichael James #23 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images)
LaMichael James #23 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images) /
4 of 4
Ross Dwelley, SF 49ers
San Francisco 49ers tight end Ross Dwelley (82) Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports /

No. 1: SF 49ers TE Ross Dwelley

Bill Belichick has gone out of his way to say nice things about SF 49ers All-Pro tight end George Kittle. During his media availability on Monday, Belichick said this:

"Kittle is a great player. He does everything well. I’d put him right at the top of the league there, period. His ability to run, catch, get open, after the catch, block, he does everything at a high level. He’s as good as anybody that I’ve coached or as good as anybody that we’ve played against."

San Francisco 49ers
San Francisco 49ers /

San Francisco 49ers

With Belichick, this probably means stopping Kittle is going to be the driving force of his defensive game plan, meaning the Patriots will do all they can to take the SF 49ers tight end out of the contest and make him a non-factor.

This doesn’t mean the 49ers should abandon attempting to feed Kittle completely, but it does mean there may be more opportunities for someone like Ross Dwelley, who has quietly moved back into the TE2 position, now that Jordan Reed is out with an injury and Kittle is back from his knee issue.

Since Week 3 when he played 62 offensive snaps with Kittle still out, and Reed having left the New York Giants game before halftime, Dwelley’s opportunities have dwindled, playing just 13, one, and 21 offensive snaps in the last three weeks, according to Pro Football Focus.

But Dwelley hasn’t caught a pass since hauling in all four of his targets for 49 yards against the Giants, including three for first downs and hasn’t even been targeted with Kittle back in the lineup.

No one is making the argument Dwelley should be a primary focus of this offense. But if Belichick is determined to take Kittle out of the game completely, then the SF 49ers shouldn’t force the issue more than they have to.

Next. 5 pending free agents Niners must re-sign in 2021. dark

Dwelley is a capable player who can be a consistent second option at the tight end position. And with Kittle being the focus of the Patriots’ defensive game plan, as seems to be the case, Dwelley should see more of the field and more of the ball.