Speaking on the I Am Athlete podcast, 49ers tight end George Kittle remarked how Trey Lance learning under Jimmy Garoppolo was a major bonus.
At least that’s what All-Pro tight end George Kittle thinks.
Kittle, long a staunch supporter of Jimmy G even after the Niners aggressively traded up for Lance just before the 2021 NFL Draft, has never been shy about praising his veteran quarterback. At times, Kittle has praised Lance, too, particularly an enthusiastic reaction for the 2021 rookie when he hit wide receiver Deebo Samuel for a long touchdown against the Houston Texans in Week 17 last year.
Now, Kittle will be looking to shower more praise in Lance’s direction, as the former North Dakota State product will be tasked with leading San Francisco’s offense in 2022 and beyond.
George Kittle says Trey Lance has ‘an insane ceiling’
Kittle appeared with fellow 49ers wide receiver Mohamed Sanu on the I Am Athlete podcast with former NFL wide receiver Brandon Marshall, and it didn’t take long before talk of Lance popped up.
“Trey has an insane ceiling,” Kittle pointed out. “He just needs some reps here and there. He’s got to throw the ball a little bit more. But there’s nothing you can’t get better at without playing games.”
It’s a good point. In Lance’s starting debut back in a Week 5 loss to the Arizona Cardinals, the quarterback showed that promise but also looked like a fresh, raw rookie nearly overwhelmed by the spotlight.
His second start, the one against the aforementioned Texans, Lance showcased an immeasurable amount of improvement.
George Kittle thinks Jimmy Garoppolo mentoring Trey Lance was ‘fantastic’
The situation easily could have devolved once the Niners selected Lance at No. 3 overall, the end result of trading away two future first-round picks and a third-rounder to do so.
Especially for Garoppolo, who was effectively relegated to lame-duck status and could have handled it in a number of worse ways.
In terms of helping Lance, though, Kittle didn’t shy away from point out how important that was.
“Jimmy was a fantastic person for Trey to learn under,” Kittle added. “We don’t know what’s going to happen with Jimmy. I have no idea, I find out on Twitter like everybody else. … The year that Trey spent with him is very beneficial.”
Kittle also noted how Garoppolo was “the same guy” day in and day out, displaying the consistency that helped keep San Francisco’s locker room together despite challenges and adversity.
No doubt, Lance will have to learn those elements, too.