Kareem Elgazzar-USA TODAY Sports

Kareem Elgazzar-USA TODAY Sports

George Kittle: Jimmy Garoppolo has 49ers ‘playing at a higher level’

Nov 17, 2022 at 5:55 PM--

Jimmy Garoppolo is quietly turning in one of his better seasons. The veteran quarterback has completed nearly 67 percent of his passes for 1,931 yards, 11 touchdowns, and thrown just four interceptions. He hasn't thrown a pick in the past two games.

Garoppolo has his critics, though. Just this week, Hall of Fame quarterback Steve Young suggested that head coach Kyle Shanahan's conservative play-calling might be due to a lack of trust in his starting quarterback.

It's worth noting that Young has spent equal time complimenting Garoppolo's leadership and ability to endure a challenging offseason situation, waiting to learn where he would play this season while recovering from shoulder surgery.

This week, the 49ers are practicing at the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs to get acclimated to the high altitude before traveling to Mexico City to face the Arizona Cardinals on Monday night. What the team didn't expect was the frigid weather. It was below 30 degrees when the players hit the practice field this afternoon.

How did Garoppolo handle throwing the ball in the cold weather?

"He was slinging it," tight end George Kittle said. "I thought the quarterbacks looked good today. He was slinging it around."

Kittle has played most of his career with Garoppolo. He's always been one of the quarterback's biggest supporters. So it's no surprise that, when asked about Garoppolo's solid play this season, the tight end pointed out that he's always loved hauling in Garoppolo-thrown passes.

"I always think Jimmy plays at a pretty high level, in my opinion," Kittle said. "I think he's been consistent this year. I think one of the biggest [reasons] is we just have more guys around him that are stepping up and making plays. [WR] Brandon [Aiyuk] is doing really well. You have [WR] Deebo [Samuel], you have me, you have [RB Christian] McCaffrey. [RB] Elijah [Mitchell] is there, [FB Kyle Juszczyk] is there.

"Guys are just making plays when their numbers are called, and that helps Jimmy look like he's playing better because he is, and you don't have guys dropping the ball and stuff like that. [WR] Jauan [Jennings] is doing good."

Kittle added, "I think he's in a rhythm right now, and he's got us playing at a higher level. I think that's really helpful."

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