Why George Kittle strives to be like 49ers teammate Richard Sherman

Why George Kittle strives to be like 49ers teammate Richard Sherman

Richard Sherman is a three-time All-Pro and likely future Hall of Fame cornerback, but it was tight end George Kittle who starred for the 49ers last season. 

Kittle, in just his second NFL campaign, broke the single-season record for receiving yards by a tight end. He finished the year with 1,377 yards on 88 receptions and scored five touchdowns.

And yet it's Sherman who Kittle looks up to every single day at 49ers practice. Even though Sherman plays on the other side of the ball, Kittle is watching his every move. 

"His work ethic every single snap. Every snap for him is a Super Bowl rep," Kittle said in an interview with NBC Sports' Peter King. "He's not gonna let anyone beat him on any single rep. His mindset is always that I'm the best and nobody can beat me." 

Kittle believes the way Sherman handles his business has a domino effect on the entire 49ers team. 

"That's what breeds competition," Kittle said. "That's how you have a good team. That's our goal. If I can I do what Sherman does on every single play, then I can be one heck of a tight end." 

King referenced the famous "Legion of Boom" defensive backfield that Sherman led in the Seahawks' glory days. The results of those teams obviously stand out, but it's the mindset that 49ers can use from Sherman's days leading Seattle to a Super Bowl win. 

"I firmly believe the NFL and football, a lot of it is in your head," Kittle said. "You got your body and you gotta be physical and stuff, but if mentally you can get yourself where you can go hit people, that makes you a really good football player." 

[RELATED: Kittle, 49ers host first NFL bootcamp with local military]

Expectations are sky-high for the 49ers this season, and wins will follow strong performances from both Kittle and Sherman.

Deebo Samuel's insane catch in 49ers' win had Nate Burleson going nuts

Deebo Samuel's insane catch in 49ers' win had Nate Burleson going nuts

If Deebo Samuel's incredible circus catch against the Cardinals on Sunday caused you to go crazy, you're not the only one.

Former NFL wide receiver and current NFL Network analyst Nate Burleson highlighted the catch in this week's edition of "Toe Drag Swag," and to say that 11-year veteran was impressed was an understatement.

"Now this one is nasty," Burleson said. "Deebo Samuel. Don't forget about him. He goes up and gets this. It bounces off of the back pad, bounces off the helmet of [Patrick] Peterson and then he tracks the ball. Deebo Samuel is snatching footballs like the real Deebo in Friday was snatching chains.

"But how 'bout that concentration, though? You're trying to catch it over the back of one of the best corners in the business. It bounces off his back, it bounces off his head and then you still have the awareness to get your feet down before you go out of bounds."

In case you need a refresher, here are a few slo-mo replays.

Burleson went on to shower the 2019 second-round pick with praise.

"Deebo Samuel, for a young player who is transitioning from position to position, has stepped up and is one the best targets that Jimmy Garoppolo has on this offense," Burleson said. "Look at this play again. Keeping his eyes on the ball the whole time, in between two defenders, and still gets his feet down for one of the best catches in the business."

[RELATED: Samuel makes history vs. Cardinals]

After catching 22 passes for 227 yards over the first seven games he played in this season, Samuel has broken out with 16 receptions for 246 yards combined the last two weeks. Garoppolo has targeted the rookie wide receiver a total of 21 times against the Seahawks and Cardinals.

Samuel is starting to make a believer out of everyone, including Burleson.

Why 49ers' Jeff Wilson enjoyed celebrating game-winning TD vs. Cardinals

Why 49ers' Jeff Wilson enjoyed celebrating game-winning TD vs. Cardinals

Jeff Wilson has done a lot with a little bit of playing time this season.

The 49ers running back has scored five touchdowns in seven games in 2019, finding the end zone on 10 percent of the offensive snaps in which he has lined up. His latest TD was the winning one in San Francisco's 36-26 victory over the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday at Levi's Stadium.

It came on Wilson's lone offensive snap of the day, and he celebrated appropriately.

"It was just like all the pain I ever felt, all the mistakes I ever made, all the good times I ever had, just all that came out and went," Wilson told KNBR's "Papa & Lund" show Tuesday (H/T 49ers Webzone). "This game meant a lot to me. Obviously, just not playing the whole game, just to get one play, and then the play, you get in and score, and it's for a big moment for the game, it was just all so surreal to me."

[RELATED: How Packers, 49ers gave LaFleur bros 'win-win' situation]

The 49ers got by with a little help from their depth in Week 11, as backup tight end Ross Dwelley hauled in a pair of touchdowns in place of George Kittle and rookie wide receiver Deebo Samuel played on more offensive snaps than anyone else at a skill position. Kittle and running back Matt Breida returning likely would push Dwelley and Wilson, respectively, down the depth chart for San Francisco's Sunday night matchup with the 8-2 Green Bay Packers.

If Wilson manages to get another scoring opportunity, the 49ers know they can trust him to deliver in a big moment and be ready to celebrate.