San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle joined ESPN's First Take on Tuesday morning and discussed his quarterback, Jimmy Garoppolo. As you are probably aware, host Stephen A. Smith has been one of Garoppolo's biggest critics, even as the quarterback led his squad to a division title, the NFC's best record, and a Super Bowl appearance.

"You guys can say what you want to say about Jimmy G," Kittle said during the interview. "I think he has like 25 wins as a starter, a Super Bowl a year after his ACL tear, a fantastic leader. He had a pancake in that Vikings game on the linebacker. That was pretty impressive.

"I'm pretty sure he's also the best quarterback on third down all season last year. He makes plays. He gets guys the ball that need them, and he's a fantastic quarterback. He's the reason we got to the Super Bowl. We don't get there without him.

"You saw what happened. We went 4-12 without him (in 2018), and we go 13-3 with him (in 2019). He's a pretty damn good quarterback, in my opinion."

That's when Smith chimed in and admitted — as if Kittle didn't already know — that he has doubts surrounding Garoppolo. The ESPN personality noted that he doesn't believe Garoppolo is a bad quarterback, just that he isn't one of the main reasons that come to mind when you consider why the team was so successful this past season.

"How is that his fault? It's not his fault he's on a really good team with good football players and a great head coach," Kittle responded. "He got us to the Super Bowl, so that's what I'm saying. It's not his fault he has Nick Bosa, he has five first-round D-linemen, he has Richard Sherman in the secondary. That's not his fault.

"He goes out there and he performs week in, week out. Like I said, leads the league in third-down percentage. He makes throws. He won us two games versus Arizona. He won us the Rams game at the end of the game. He won a shootout with Drew Brees, who, in my opinion, is one of the best quarterbacks to do it. I mean, he shows up every single week.

"Yeah, guys have bad plays. I've had my share of bad plays. His are just viewed more because he's a quarterback. He's the franchise quarterback of the San Francisco 49ers, so people see that more. And he deals with it. He doesn't shy away from criticism. He goes in, he had a great conversation after the Super Bowl. He was great with the media. He doesn't shy away. He's a leader through and through, and he's the leader of this football team."

You can watch the entire interview with Kittle below.



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