George Kittle is happy that he won't be the one making the decision on who will be the 49ers' starting quarterback this season. But if the job goes to Trey Lance, Kittle feels that the 49ers' will be just fine with the second-year quarterback under center.
The 49ers' Pro Bowl tight end recently raved about the progress Lance has made during this OTAs. Lance, who was the No. 3 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, is slated to compete with Jimmy Garoppolo to be the 49ers' starting quarterback for the upcoming season.
"I thought Trey took a bunch of steps forward," Kittle said during an appearance on the Pat McAfee Show. "For Trey to become a really good quarterback in the NFL, he needs reps. Once this kid gets a lot of reps, just watch out, because some of the things I've seen him do in practice is kind of mind-boggling. So I'm waiting for it."
Kittle also praised Garoppolo for his role in helping Lance in his progression since coming to San Francisco. Despite the arrival of Lance, Garoppolo maintained the starting job last year and helped the 49ers earn a wild-card playoff berth. The 49ers then won road playoff games in Dallas and Green Bay before falling to the eventual champion Rams one game shy of the Super Bowl.
"He was a professional every single day," Kittle said of Garoppolo, who is 37-16 as the 49ers' starting quarterback. "He didn't complain one time. He showed up, he worked, he started, he got us to an NFC Championship game and helped Trey along the way."
Lance, who recently celebrated his 22nd birthday, made two starts last season. He went 15 of 29 for 192 yards with an interception in a Week 5 loss in Arizona. Lance evened his record as a starter in Week 16, when he went 16 of 23 for 249 yards with two touchdowns and a pick in a win over the Texans.
While Garoppolo is expected to be given a chance to compete for the job, it appears that Lance -- based on Kittle's comments -- has considerably increased his odds at being the 49ers' starting quarterback in the 2022 season. If that ends up happening, Kittle is confident that the 49ers will be able to weather the turbulence that can arise with a young quarterback under center.
"Thank God it's not my decision," Kittle said about the starting quarterback situation. "If there's growing pains (with Lance as the 49ers' starting quarterback), there's growing pains. … We have enough guys around him to help through those growing pains.
"At the end of the day, if we have to run it 35 times, count me in."