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49ers offense could get a boost with George Kittle return vs. Eagles

Oct 1, 2020 at 6:56 AM--


Nick Mullens or Jimmy Garoppolo, whoever starts at quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday night against the Philadelphia Eagles, could be getting a significant boost on offense. The team's best player, George Kittle, may return after missing two games with an MCL sprain and bone bruise suffered during Week 1 against the Arizona Cardinals.

That's what we thought last week, though, right? What makes this week any different?

Last week, Kittle was limited in all three practices. He was a full participant on Wednesday, the team's first of three practices this week.

"I think we'll always be smart with him," head coach Kyle Shanahan said on Thursday, knowing how important it is to have Kittle for the rest of the season and not just against the Eagles.

"We're not just going to throw him in with his normal reps and everything, but he's full go (in practice). He'll be involved in it all, and I'm excited to see him out there going."

Being sidelined for two games probably hasn't been easy for Kittle. He is one of the most competitive players on the team. There is no doubt that Kittle campaigned hard to get onto the football field on Sunday against the New York Giants. The 49ers know, however, that sometimes they have to decide for Kittle.

"George is the best," offensive tackle Mike McGlinchey said on Wednesday. "He's one of the leaders of this team. He's always involved, no matter if he's on the field or not. You can always hear him, that's for sure. He's definitely always vocal, always in your face. But that's who he is, and that's why he's the best."

Kittle recoded four catches during a half of play in Week 1 before his injury. Jordan Reed had stepped up in his place, but the veteran tight end will miss the next six to eight weeks with an MCL sprain suffered this past Sunday on that heavily-criticized MetLife Stadium turf. That left just Ross Dwelley and rookie Charlie Woerner at tight end against the Giants.

Dwelley hauled in four passes for 49 yards on Sunday and was among the 49ers' highest-graded offensive players by Pro Football Focus.

"[Kittle] never once checks out of anything," McGlinchey added. "He's always helping the guys, whether it was Ross, whether it was Jordan, whether it's Charlie Woerner, or whoever it is. He's there to help those guys get along, and pick up the slack that they have to because when he's out of the game, we're missing a huge part of our offense, and those guys stepped up in a huge way."



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