49ers

49ers' George Kittle can break NFL season record for tight end receiving yards

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49ers' George Kittle can break NFL season record for tight end receiving yards

George Kittle is on pace for a record-setting Sunday in Week 17, but he isn't the only NFL tight end in that position. 

Kittle, who leads the 49ers with 1,228 receiving yards this season, needs 100 on Sunday to break New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski's single-season record of 1,327 yards. Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce, meanwhile, only needs 54.

“It’s a target,” Kittle said Wednesday (via SFGate). “I definitely want to get it done. It’s not a lost cause if I don’t get it done, but it would be really fun for us.”

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The 25-year-old is in the middle of one of the best seasons from a 49ers tight end in franchise history. With one game to go, he is already 263 yards clear of Vernon Davis' previous franchise record. Kittle needs only four receptions on Sunday to surpass Eric Johnson's single-season record (82), and seven more targets to surpass Davis' record (128).

Since Nick Mullens took over at quarterback in Week 9, Kittle is averaging six receptions -- on 9.3 targets -- for 92 yards per game. In other words, the NFL record for yards and the 49ers' record for catches from a tight end are well within Kittle's normal range. But, the QB said that doesn't mean the 49ers are going to force Kittle the ball.  

“We’re aware of it — we know the situation,” Mullens said. “But at the same time, we’re trying to win the game. So if it happens, it happens and that’s awesome. Kittle has had one heck of a year and he deserves a ton of credit. … We’ll see how it shakes out.”

[RELATED: Nick Mullens smartly leaning on 49ers vets Joe Staley, Richard Sherman]

Also working in Kittle's favor is his opponent's defense. The Los Angeles Rams have allowed the 10th-most yards by tight ends this season (920), and the third-most targets. Those 116 targets have only translated into 70 receptions, however. 

What isn't helping Kittle's pursuit of the record is Kelce and the Chiefs' matchup. The Raiders have allowed the fourth-most yards (998) to tight ends. 

Kittle will need some luck on his side to break Gronk's record and surpass Kelce, but neither notion is out of the question. 

Ex-49ers first-round pick Joshua Garnett cut by Lions after six months

Ex-49ers first-round pick Joshua Garnett cut by Lions after six months

Josh Garnett's NFL career has hit another snag.

The former 49ers first-round pick was cut by the Detroit Lions over the weekend as the team reduces the roster to 80 players. Garnett signed with Detroit in February after spending the 2019 season out of the NFL.

San Francisco traded up to select Garnett at No. 28 overall in the 2016 NFL Draft, as the Stanford product was one of the nation's top offensive lineman. Garnett won the Outland Trophy in his senior season with the Cardinal, given annually to the NCAA's best interior lineman.

[RELATED: McGlinchey hopes 49ers, NFL players hold selves accountable]

Garnett started 11 games as a rookie with the 49ers, but was placed on injured reserve with a knee injury just prior to the start of the 2017 season. Garnett was unable to secure a starting spot in 2018 and played just seven games.

After denying his fifth-year option, the 49ers made Garnett one of the organization's final cuts before the 2019 campaign.

Just 26 years old, it remains to be seen where Garnett might find his next home in the NFL.

[49ERS INSIDER PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

49ers' Mike McGlinchey hopes NFL players hold themselves accountable

49ers' Mike McGlinchey hopes NFL players hold themselves accountable

The 49ers are scheduled to open the 2020 NFL season on Sept. 13 against the Arizona Cardinals.

They will compete head-to-head against the teams on their 16-game regular-season schedule, but 49ers right tackle Mike McGlinchey also is mindful that all players – even those on different teams – are on the same side in trying to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus.

Typically, almost anything goes in the midst of a pileup at the line of scrimmage, where the same defensive linemen and offensive linemen might be waging one-on-one battles in close quarters for more than 60 snaps a game.

This season, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, more might be at stake on game days than just the outcome of a football game.

“You really hope guys are really pros about everything that’s going on this season because it’s not just your teammates and your teammates’ families,” McGlinchey said Monday in a video call with Bay Area reporters. “Once you start playing games, you’re affecting the entire league at that point.

“Hopefully, everybody can have the discipline and control and the accountability to one another that we can make this thing move as smoothly as possible, especially in the trenches when we are up close and personal.”

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The hopes of the NFL being able to carry out an entire season will be contingent on teams reducing the spread of the virus. Oakley has developed a clear plastic face shield designed to block the direct path of droplets while allowing for airflow and soundwaves for communication.

McGlinchey said he will try it out at some point in training camp once helmets are allowed during practices, but he will not switch to the new protective device if he believes it hinders his ability to breathe.

[49ERS INSIDER PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]