Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

49ers-Texans: George Kittle has a lot of confidence in Trey Lance but expects Jimmy Garoppolo to play

Dec 29, 2021 at 6:20 PM--

49ers All-Pro tight end George Kittle joined 95.7 The Game on Wednesday and shared his thoughts on each quarterback heading into Sunday's matchup. Starting quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo is dealing with a right thumb injury that kept him off the practice field Wednesday, and his status for Sunday is in doubt. Per multiple reports, Garoppolo was hoping to test out the thumb on the practice field, but shortly after warming up he walked off the practice field.

Rookie quarterback Trey Lance would be in line to make his second start in the most critical part of the season. The opponent on the horizon Sunday afternoon is a 4-11 Texans team that is coming off back-to-back victories. Having a rookie quarterback make his second career start in a must win game is risky but his teammates and coaches alike have seen improvement.

"I will say this about Trey: I think Trey has matured a lot over the course of the season," Kittle told 95.7 The Game's Sean Salisbury and Ray Ratto. "I can kind of see the difference between OTAs to training camp to this last month. I know Coach [Kyle] Shanahan said he thinks Trey's done a really good job on scout team. I would second that.

Before the injury, it had been quite some time since new information came out about the growth of Trey Lance. Kyle Shanahan, Fred Warner, and now George Kittle have showered praise over the rookie's performance in practice which is certainly reassuring to hear.

Not only has Lance improved over the past months, but he has also gained the trust of his teammates. With Jimmy G sidelined on Wednesday Lance was given the opportunity to work with the first string offense and left a lasting impression.

"Trey was at practice today. It was fun to play with Trey. I'm confident in him, and I don't really have any doubts. I think he's a hell of a football player. I'm just excited to see whatever comes this Sunday. Whether it's Trey, whether it's Jimmy, I think it's going to work itself out."

Kittle has a history of backing his quarterback no matter who's behind center, nonetheless it is a confidence boost for the whole team to know one of their leaders is behind the rookie.

Garoppolo's status for Sunday's game continues to be up in the air, but if you ask George Kittle he would be surprised if Jimmy G sat this one out.

"We have a long time until Sunday, so however Jimmy feels, Jimmy's a very tough individual. He can play through a lot of things," Kittle said. "My expectations are that Jimmy will be on the field on Sunday. There's a lot of time for healing and swelling to go away, or whatever needs to happen to happen. Like I said, Jimmy's dealt with a lot and played through a lot, and we'll just see how the week takes us."

Garoppolo dealt with a calf issue early this season that kept him out for just a game and has fought through many bumps and bruises throughout the season. His status has wavered from when the injury was first announced, today the injury was reported as a grade 3 sprain of the ulnar collateral ligament that won't require surgery according to Kyle Shanahan.

Whether it's Trey Lance or Jimmy Garoppolo who takes the field Sunday, the 49ers should be able to overpower a much more inferior roster.

You can listen to the entire interview with Kittle below.

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