George Kittle: 3 reasons 49ers tight end gets back to All-Pro form in 2021
By Peter Panacy
No. 1: Fully healthy 49ers offense takes pressure off George Kittle
George Kittle’s own injuries weren’t the only reason why the 49ers offense struggled over the course of 2020.
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Pick a position on the Niners offensive starting lineup, and there’s a good chance there was an elongated injury or multiple injuries there. That’s just how the season went. In particular, San Francisco’s top two wide receivers, Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk, never got the chance to complement each other by being on the field at the same time for any lengthy stretch. It seemed as if when one was healthy or at least not on the reserve/COVID-19 list, the other wasn’t available.
Both Samuel and Aiyuk being fully healthy in 2021 does a lot for Kittle. It’s going to be smart for any defensive coordinator’s game plan to simply focus his attention solely on Kittle. Yet having all three players on the field at the same time — something that rarely happened in 2020 — is going to free up someone.
Especially if Aiyuk and Samuel are able to carry second- and third-level defenders deeper down the field, thereby opening things up for Kittle underneath.
The point being is a healthy Niners offense should be a potent Niners offense, and Kittle stands to be an excellent beneficiary of this.
As long as everyone stays healthy, of course.