Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

George Kittle, Nick Bosa ‘confident’ and ‘excited’ about 49ers outlook as season begins

Sep 9, 2021 at 5:32 PM--

After a long offseason, training camp and preseason to follow up everything that they went through in 2020, it's safe to say the San Francisco 49ers are itching to get their 2021 regular season underway this Sunday against the Detroit Lions (1 p.m. ET/10 a.m. PT).

And based on what tight end George Kittle and defensive end Nick Bosa said after practice on Thursday, it sounds like the 49ers will be heading into this weekend's opener at Ford Field in Detroit with momentum at their backs after six successful weeks of preparation.

Last season saw the 49ers' hopes of defending their 2019 NFC Championship go up in smoke after being decimated by a seemingly never-ending string of significant injuries. Then, to add insult to injury, the 49ers were forced to spend the final month of the season on the road after local COVID-19 restrictions shut down the team's remaining home games. But with almost all of their key players healthy and memories of 2020 behind them, the 49ers are in a much better place as their 2021 schedule begins.

"I think we're very confident," Kittle said. "I think we had a really good camp. I think guys generally stayed very healthy throughout training camp, so we were able to keep starters on the field competing against starters."

Both Kittle (foot fracture) and Bosa (torn ACL) were part of the long list of players who had to deal with injury issues in 2020, with Bosa's injury shutting him down for most of the season. But both are in great shape at the moment, which is good news for the 49ers and bad news for their upcoming opponents.

"It's been so long since I've prepared for a week," Bosa said. "I'm really excited about how the offense and the defense look. I think we had two days of really good practice, a really good camp. We have most of our guys out there this week, and I think whenever that's the case, we're pretty dangerous."

Bosa's return has been part of what makes Kittle optimistic about where the 49ers stand, as he's seen the offense improve over the past few weeks from getting the chance to face a 49ers defense at mostly full strength.

"We got to go against a very good defense every single day," Kittle said. "Just getting to compete against them I think has made the offense confident. I know our defense is confident because they're some cocky MFs. I love that out of them."

Kittle doesn't even mind the fact the 49ers will be living away from the Bay Area for the first 10 days of the regular season. They'll be staying out east after playing the Lions instead of flying home and will prepare on the road for their September 19 away game against the Philadelphia Eagles. But this won't be a repeat of December 2020, as instead of living in a hotel in Arizona, the 49ers will be staying at the luxurious Greenbrier five-star resort in West Virginia, which is where they stayed between two road wins against the New York Jets and New York Giants in 2020.

"We had a fabulous experience there last time," Kittle said. "It's a great, great place, great fields, great facilities. So it's not like we're going to go stay at a small hotel or something like that. We get to go stay at a nice place. The one nice thing about that is you do get to hang out with all the guys. It kind of puts you all together. So you get to hang out, play cards, and do whatever it is -- you just get to hang out. I'm excited about that.

"A ten-day trip, I'm looking forward to it, really. We've been in camp, we've been here the last four, five weeks, just hitting heads against each other every single day, being physical, being violent. Just being able to go somewhere else, a little bit new scenery, it's going to be awesome."

The 49ers will finally get to their home opener on September 26 when they host the Green Bay Packers on Sunday Night Football. It'll be their first regular season home game with fans in over a year and will undoubtedly make for an electric atmosphere. But the 49ers aren't looking that far ahead just yet, as they'll be keeping their focus on the task at hand this week, and every week after that.

"Our expectations -- go win at Detroit and just take it one week at a time," Kittle said. "We try to do that every single year."

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