Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports


Next Gen Stats show George Kittleā€™s impact in the 49ers run game

Dec 13, 2019 at 9:47 AM--


Earlier this month, Doug Gottlieb of FS1 stated that San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle is "not really a blocker."

Shock, and then laughter ensued among fans and even some of the media across the country.

That's because Kittle is viewed as one the best — if not the best — blockers in the NFL. Even respected analyst Brian Baldinger came to the 49ers tight end's defense, armed with film breakdowns proving Gottlieb's statement to be false.

"You don't get on the field at Iowa for Kirk Ferentz unless you can block, and [Kittle has] taken those skills to San Francisco. The best blocking tight end in the NFL," Baldinger concluded.

Pro Football Focus' advanced analytics show that Kittle is indeed an excellent blocker. His run-blocking grade of 76.8 ranks in the top 6 among tight ends, and his run-blocking grade of 82.8 on Sunday against the New Orleans Saints was his best of the season, surpassing his previous best (78.1) set a week earlier, against the Baltimore Ravens.

Now, we have another statistic showing just how much Kittle's run-blocking contributes to the 49ers rushing attack, and how significant of an impact he makes in its success.

When Kittle is on the field, the 49ers offense averages 4.9 yards per carry and a 43 percent success rate on outside runs. Without the tight end, that average drops to 3.0 yards per carry and a 29 percent success rate.

San Francisco's offense explodes for 10-or-more-yard runs on 18 percent of its rushing attempts on the outside with Kittle in the lineup. That number drops to seven percent without him.


So there you go. More proof that Kittle is, indeed, a fantastic blocker.

H/t to Jessica Kleinschmidt of NBC Sports for the find.



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