Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

49ers TE George Kittle identifies where he can improve this offseason

Feb 15, 2021 at 4:45 PM--

San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle can do it all. He excels as both a receiver and a run-blocker, making him the complete package. Still, there is always room for improvement.

According to Pro Football Focus, only six of Kittle's 63 targets this past season went for 20-or-more yards. The All-Pro tight end hauled in four of those pass attempts for 131 yards. To his credit, one was determined to be uncatchable, leaving Kittle with just one drop. He would love to create more opportunities as a downfield target, though.

Kittle spoke with Chris Simms of NBC Sports last week and was asked what he hopes to work on this offseason to improve his game in 2021.

"I would like to get better at the longer-distanced routes, some longer-distanced third-down stuff, just getting open in man coverage," Kittle responded. "I think there's definitely plays that I could have made this year that I didn't make. So, just being able to finish those plays. And that's just confidence in yourself, how you talk to yourself, so I'm not too worried about that. But it just gives me something to work on, just consistency."

Kittle also wants to improve his availability. He missed two games in 2019 but still racked up 1,053 yards receiving. Kittle only appeared in eight games this past season after missing time with an MCL sprain and then a broken bone in his foot.

"And obviously staying on the field and being healthy is the one thing I would love to be able to do this year, and I need to do," added Kittle.

Kittle was just one of several 49ers players who missed significant time in 2020. The injury-plagued season resulted in just six wins and a last-place finish within the NFC West. San Francisco is expected to be much-improved in 2021, but only if Kittle and the team's best players can stay on the field.

You can listen to the interview with Kittle below. It was released in its entirety as part of the latest Chris Simms Unbuttoned podcast.

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