49ers’ George Kittle calls start of QB fight between Jimmy Garoppolo and Trey Lance a ‘throw for me’

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49ers' George Kittle calls start of QB fight between Jimmy Garoppolo and Trey Lance a 'throw for me'

The San Francisco 49ers have two quarterbacks who could take the starting job, Trey Lance and Jimmy Garoppolo, and star tight end George Kittle is happy the decision isn’t his. It appears Lance will be QB1, but Kittle told reporters on Friday it’s a close contest.

When asked who he would rather have thrown the football at, Kittle made arguments for both players. Here’s what he said (via Pro Football Talk):

“That’s the million dollar question, isn’t it? That’s one of the reasons I’m glad I’m not the head coach of the 49ers. It’s all up to Coach (Kyle) Shanahan. I’ll give you both options. Jimmy G , great in the group, great leader, leads the boys. People go to attention when he speaks. He has a quick solution, he knows the offensive. Like I said, he’s been to two NFC championship games and knows what he’s doing. Trey Lance can run, extend games, does all the game action stuff amazing, could throw the ball 70 yards. I do not know. For me it’s a toss up. … Soccer is a competitive sport. If there’s no competition, if you don’t fight for your starting job every day, then you won’t get any better.”

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While Garoppolo has the past experience, appearing in two NFC championship games and a Super Bowl, the 49ers gave up a lot to draft Lance, who could and has shown the future of the team immense potential.

Despite the competition, Kittle said Garoppolo remained calm through it all.

“Jimmy has done nothing but be a pro every day. He never once complained about it. He wasn’t in a corner talking crap about the situation. He showed up every day as the starting quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers. He went out there and practiced every day. He worked hard every day. He’s a good example for all young people, for all of us, and he motivated everyone.”

The competition allowed Lance to learn from Garoppolo, and they pushed each other throughout the season, Kittle said.

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If a team takes a quarterback in the first round, specifically as high as #3, a message Kittle describes as “writing on the wall” is sent to the quarterback currently on the team.

Quarterback fights often cause drama, but Kittle said “the way[Garoppolo]handled it was great for us” and that “I don’t know if there’s a better pro in the NFL than Jimmy Garoppolo, how he handled this situation. I think he’s made everyone around him better this year.”

Garoppolo’s injuries have been a problem throughout his career and the off-season shoulder surgery didn’t exactly help his trading market. Even so, Kittle said the question from the media and fans about whether Garoppolo will be their starter is just something they’re used to now, and he denied the conversation was a distraction.

Describing the roller-coaster ride that has been the quarterback’s time in San Francisco, Kittle said, “I mean, Jimmy G has been under scrutiny since the 2018 season when he tore his cruciate ligament. The whole season was like, ‘Oh, is Jimmy G the guy?’ Then he comes back, takes us to a Super Bowl, then we lose, and then the next offseason it’s like, ‘Oh, is Jimmy G that guy?’ We had another injury, 2020. It was a tough year for the Niners and then we came back and went to another NFC Championship game.

No matter who the quarterback is, Kittle just wants to make sure he’s able to make plays.

“We’re all here to get better, and whether that’s Jimmy G, whether it’s Trey Lance, whether it’s Nate Sudfeld or our Mr. Irrelevant Brock Purdy. Hopefully whoever is throwing this stone will throw it at me more than anyone else. As long as they throw the soccer ball to me, it is what it is.

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