49ers roster: Grading each position halfway through scuffling 2021 season
By Peter Panacy
49ers Tight Ends
There are three notable points to make about All-Pro tight end George Kittle, all of which are true to some extent:
- Kittle got off to a slow start over the first four games of 2021 with 227 receiving yards
- Kittle has a concerning injury history, landing on injured reserve for three games with a calf injury
- Kittle is still one of the 49ers’ most important offensive weapons
Kittle’s return from IR led to a very traditional Kittle-like game where he managed 101 receiving yards and a touchdown in the Week 9 loss to the Cardinals. And while the Niners offense has had its disjointed moments this season, it’s not far off to suggest he needs to be on the field as much as possible.
Even if he isn’t necessarily always contributing in the receiving game. Kittle’s presence as a blocker and as a decoy shouldn’t be understated.
In his wake, though, it appears San Francisco is pushing second-year pro Charlie Woerner into a more featured role over the veteran, Ross Dwelley, who has seen his snap counts decrease in favor of the better blocker, Woerner.
Maybe this trend continues in the second half, but both players are a far cry from Kittle’s prowess regardless.