San Francisco 49ers general manager John Lynch told reporters on Saturday that the reason the team kept four tight ends on the 53-player roster was to take some of the weight off of George Kittle.

"George is a great player, and you can't run into let's have him out there every single play of the season," Lynch said. "We felt like there was a little responsibility for George's well-being, for our team's well-being, that we push some things around him."

Some wondered if that meant Kittle, the record-breaking Pro Bowl tight end from a season ago, would be on the field less than last year. Lynch joined Keiana Martin on 49ers Live on Wednesday and clarified what he meant.

"I think when you say 'take the weight off Kittle,' George Kittle is going to be on the field and be on the field a lot," Lynch said. "Maybe (take the weight off means) in the way we play Kittle. He is such a good blocker. Everybody knows about his receiving skills. He set records last year, but George can do everything. He can get in there and block defensive ends, and you have a propensity to want to do that when you don't have other options.

"We wanted to make sure that we went out and had other options. Levine Toilolo was a fortunate signing because he's a guy who can fulfill that role.

"Kaden Smith is a guy we felt could be a complete tight end. Kaden has improved a ton since he's been here, and we feel like he's got a lot more room for growth.

"Ross Dwelley gives us a nice receiver. He's been a great addition to our team since we took him as an undrafted free agent out of USD down in my hometown. Ross has done a nice job."

The 49ers are preparing for the Week 1 road matchup against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday. Kickoff is scheduled for 1:25 p.m. PT (4:25 p.m. ET).