George Kittle, coming off an All-Pro season in 2019, appeared in just half of the 49ers’ games in 2020 due to a couple of injuries.
When looking ahead to the focus of his offseason work for 2021, the star tight end places his ability to remain on the field at the top of the list.
“Obviously, staying on the field and being healthy is the one thing I would love to be able to do this year and I need to do,” Kittle said on the Chris Simms Unbuttoned podcast.
Kittle sustained a left knee sprain in the 49ers’ season opener against the Arizona Cardinals that sidelined him for two games.
Later in the season, he missed six games season after sustaining a fractured cuboid bone in his foot in a game against the Seattle Seahawks.
In addition to being available for every game — something Kittle has accomplished just once in four seasons — he has at least one specific, definable area of emphasis, too.
“I would like to get better with the longer-distanced routes, some longer-distanced third-down stuff, just getting open against man coverage,” Kittle said.
Kittle caught 48 of the 63 passes on which he was targeted last season in eight games. He had 634 receiving yards and two touchdowns.
“I think there’s definitely plays I could’ve made this year that I didn’t make,” Kittle said. “So just being able to finish those plays.
“That’s just confidence in yourself, how you talk to yourself. So I’m not too worried about that, but it just gives me something to work on, just consistency.”