Pro Bowl tight end George Kittle yearns for continuity and consistency.
Those are luxuries he has experienced only one time of his six-year NFL career.
In 2019, quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo remained healthy and took every meaningful snap for the 49ers as the club advanced to Super Bowl LIV.
Since the 2017 NFL season, the 49ers had one year (2021) in which their backup was called upon and three times they had to reach down to No. 3 on the depth chart.
The recently completed season took the absurdity to new levels. The 49ers went from Trey Lance to Garoppolo in Week 2 to Brock Purdy in Week 13 to Josh Johnson in the NFC Championship Game.
And if that wasn’t enough, Purdy had to re-enter the team’s season-ending loss to the Philadelphia Eagles with a torn elbow ligament, preventing him from being able to throw, after Johnson sustained a concussion.
“It’s awesome,” Kittle said sarcastically at the conclusion of the season.
“It’s an experience. I’ve had a plethora of quarterbacks to choose from.”
More than just about anything, Kittle said he wants to see stability at the 49ers’ quarterback position.
“Being able to build a rapport with someone consistently would be very fun,” he said. “That’s not Jimmy’s fault. That’s not Trey’s fault. That’s not Brock’s fault. It’s just the situation we’re in. For some reason, our quarterback position gets hurt sometimes.”
As the 49ers’ offseason began, Lance was believed to be on pace to take part in the team’s entire on-field portion of the offseason program after sustaining a fractured fibula and ligament damage to his right ankle in September.
Purdy faces an expected six-month road to return after his scheduled elbow surgery on Feb. 22.
Kittle said during last week at the Super Bowl that he believes Purdy’s impressive eight-game stint put him in a position to be the starter.
Immediately following the season, Kittle said he believes the offense is in a spot where it can get off to a faster start than in past seasons.
“I don’t know how you can’t be confident in Brock Purdy in what he put together,” Kittle said. “I don’t foresee us losing too many of our skill positions going into next year.
“Next year, we have a possibility of going out there and competing at a really high level from right away. Not take a slow start.”
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Lance, the No. 3 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, is not going anywhere, either. The top two spots on the depth chart appear set, as coach Kyle Shanahan said he does not see a scenario in which Garoppolo re-signs with the club as a free agent.
“Trey, hopefully, he’s throwing again here soon,” Kittle said. “And it’ll be a nice competitive battle for him. I have no idea what (Garoppolo) is going to do. I had no idea last year or year before that. You never know what’s going to happen.”