George Kittle has yet to make his mark as an impact receiver for the 49ers this season.
Yes, it has been just two games. But considering Kittle is regarded as one of the best tight ends and weapons on the 49ers offense, you would think that getting him the ball would be a focal point at times.
That hasn't been the case at all through two games. You can even go as far back to the last quarter of the 2021 season as well. Kittle has been an underwhelming receiver and typically makes an impact purely as a blocker. He essentially has been switched to an offensive tackle/decoy at this point. That is his main role now, which isn't right. Despite his receiving drought, Kyle Shanahan isn't worried at all about Kittle's usage and thinks it is only a matter of time.
"The more Kittle is out there and healthy, the more he practices, the more he can get back in the routine, I think that stuff will take care of itself," Shanahan said. "Kittle affects the game in so many ways, the run and the pass. We definitely want to get him the ball more, but something we're not that concerned about. We think it'll take care of itself just as we get going."
Sometimes I wonder if Shanahan forgets that he can dial up play calls with Kittle as the primary receiver. He does for Deebo Samuel all the time, but won't for Kittle. Look, I get Jimmy Garoppolo is going to leave a lot of opportunities out there, but Shanahan calls quick pass plays for Garoppolo to just dart the ball to the first read in the play.
This whole "work itself out" is literal filler words. It means nothing when the head coach can make him the designated target. The 49ers paying Kittle all of that money to just be a blocker is ridiculous. How about actually getting him involved so the defense will start to fear him again? It baffles me that Shanahan can be touted as a great play caller and designer, yet he can't manage to find a play that will utilize a former All Pro tight end?
Shanahan has to figure out how to get Garoppolo to throw it to him. Again, I get that Garoppolo can weigh down the offense, but this is what he has to work with and so he has to be perfect now. Continuing to allow the targets to be weakened with Kittle falls on him just as much as Garoppolo. With how stagnant the offense has been so far, he needs to incorporate all of his talent. Right now the trend isn't working. The formula of "Samuel or bust" isn't sustainable. It's a boom or bust offense right now.
Getting Kittle involved can only improve an offense that so desperately needs improvement.