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Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

George Kittle talks 49ers’ sense of urgency, takes credit for Christian McCaffrey trade

Nov 16, 2022 at 10:16 PM--

George Kittle acknowledges that it takes time for an NFL team to get into a rhythm. Except for the 2019 season, when the San Francisco 49ers started 8-0, that has been the case for most of the tight end's career. Look at last year when the 49ers started 3-5 and went on a second-half run to make the playoffs and reach the NFC title game.

Kittle believes the 49ers are figuring things out now. After starting 3-4, they have won two straight, and many feel they are trending upward, especially after trading for running back Christian McCaffrey.

"We've gotten into a rhythm," Kittle told 95.7 The Game's Ray Ratto and Whitey Gleason on Wednesday. "Guys have figured out what their roles are, and guys are starting to perform. They're not thinking as much, and they're just going out there and performing at a high level."

The 49ers currently hold the seventh and last spot in the NFC playoff standings. They look to extend their winning streak and overtake the NFC West-leading Seattle Seahawks. Most expect that to happen.

Kittle and the 49ers aren't scoreboard-watching just yet. They know many games are remaining, and all they can do is focus on the task at hand. This week, that task is a matchup against the Arizona Cardinals in Mexico City.

"If we do what we need to do and what we're supposed to do, we'll be right where we want to be, come playoff time," Kittle said.

The tight end has noticed an improvement over the past few weeks, which might explain the recent success. After some early meltdowns in games the 49ers feel they should have won, a sense of urgency emerged.

"What I will say is that I just feel like our last two to three weeks of practice, I think we've just looked so much cleaner," Kittle shared. "I think guys have understood what their role is, what we need to get done in the run game. The sense of urgency, I think that's just really picked up. ... Our sense of urgency has just increased, and I think that's what you really need.

"It takes a while for young guys to figure that out. It takes a while for guys who come in from different teams to see that because I think the way that we practice and the way that we do things as the 49ers and [in] our organization is a little bit different than most other places."

Kittle has noticed a different energy during recent practices. Players are more disciplined in all aspects of the game. They hope that carries over into this week. The 49ers are in Colorado Springs, just south of Denver, trying to get acclimated to the altitude in preparation for Monday night's game against the Cardinals.

"We're just going to continue to try to build on that daily," Kittle added. "... While our goal is obviously to win a Super Bowl, our entire focus is on this week, being in Colorado, and getting to perform on Monday Night Football in front of the best fans in the world—the 49ers fans—against the Arizona Cardinals."

Willing the McCaffrey trade into existence

Kittle is willing to take his share of credit for the addition of McCaffrey. The tight end was asked about his first reaction to learning that the 49ers had traded for the star running back.

"I've been speaking this into existence for about two years," Kittle shared. "Me and Christian have been pretty good friends for a while, but I've been convincing him, 'Hey, we've just got to get you into our run game, and I promise you, you're going to have a really good time.'

"When it finally happened, I was actually in the middle of playing some video games with some of my buddies that are on other teams, and one of them is like, 'Hey, you just traded for Christian McCaffrey.' I about threw my controller through my screen. I called him up right away.

"It's very exciting. Christian is a hell of a player, All-Pro at two different positions in one year. It's pretty awesome. He's a phenomenal football player. He's a great human being. He's great for our locker room. And I think just the longer he's in our system, the more he's going to figure it out, the more it's going to click for him. I think he's going to be able to produce at a very, very high rate for us."

Kittle shared that he's willed other things into existence, hinting that it might be his superpower.

"Somehow, I convinced my wife to marry me," Kittle said. "I willed that into existence the first time I saw her when I was 18 years old. So I'm doing a pretty good job there. We just had our third anniversary and been together for over 10 years, so I willed that one in."

Kittle added, "Other crazy stuff? I'll have to get back to you on that, but the Christian McCaffrey thing was definitely one of my better achievements, I will say. So you guys are welcome."

You can listen to the entire Kittle interview below.

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