George Kittle has voiced belief in Trey Lance as he insists the second-year quarterback has improved and developed this offseason. A year ago, the 49ers traded up in the draft to select Lance at No. 3. The plan for Lance in his rookie season was to spend a year learning under veteran quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo but he got some playing time in 2021.
In his rookie season, Lance finished with 603 yards, five touchdowns and two interceptions. Heading into Year 2, Lance is expected to be the 49ers' starting quarterback. "I thought Trey took a bunch of steps forward," Kittle said during an appearance on the Pat McAfee Show, via CBS Sports.
"For Trey to become a really good quarterback in the NFL, he needs reps. Once this kid gets a lot of reps, just watch out, because some of the things I've seen him do in practice is kind of mind-boggling. So I'm waiting for it."
Kittle: Garoppolo a true professional
The moment the 49ers traded up in the 2021 NFL draft to select Lance, it was evident Garoppolo's time in San Francisco was coming to an end.
The 49ers decided to keep Garoppolo for another year but he knew his time with the 49ers would likely end after the 2021 season. The NFL free agency began two months ago but Garoppolo is still a 49er. Garoppolo underwent a surgery in early March and that is why the 49ers haven't still found a trade partner for the veteran quarterback.
Speaking of Garoppolo, Kittle praised him for behaving like a true professional even though he was in a really uncomfortable spot last season. "He was a professional every single day," Kittle said of Garoppolo. "He didn't complain one time.
He showed up, he worked, he started, he got us to an NFC Championship game and helped Trey along the way." The 49ers will likely find a trade partner for Garoppolo before the new season begins. Once Garoppolo is gone, that will mean officially mean the start of the Lance era in San Francisco.
Kittle acknowledged Lance might struggle in his first couple of games but hopes that won't be the case. "Thank God it's not my decision," Kittle said about the starting quarterback situation. "If there's growing pains (with Lance as the 49ers' starting quarterback), there's growing pains.
… We have enough guys around him to help through those growing pains. "At the end of the day, if we have to run it 35 times, count me in."