George Kittle’s lack of production not worrying Kyle Shanahan

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George Kittle has been relatively silent as a pass catcher for the 49ers four weeks in a row. His absence in the passing game isn’t worrisome for head coach Kyle Shanahan.

Shanahan told reporters in a Monday conference call that Kittle’s relative lack of production is partly because of how defense play him and what it does to free up other players.

“It’s just mixing in things when they have help over the middle, we’ve thrown to George a lot in those situations and people kind of know that, so they go to stop him there,” Shanahan said. “And we have to do a better job of finding other ways to get him the ball, but I also know when he is attracting coverages that makes it a hell of a lot easier to get other people in some good situations. But George usually comes around. He’ll end up getting his balls.”

Kittle over the last four games has just nine catches for 78 yards and no touchdowns. That immediately followed a three game stretch where Kittle hauled in 28 passes for 425 yards and three touchdowns.

To Shanahan’s point though, Kittle’s disappearance as a receiver has been accompanied by the emergence of Jauan Jennings and the re-emergence of Brandon Aiyuk. The 49ers have enough playmakers to move the ball when defenses take Kittle away.

However, Shanahan is right in needing to find ways to get him the ball. Kittle is too talented to use primarily as a run blocker and decoy in the passing game. The 49ers offense needs to hit a new level if they’re going to swing an upset in Green Bay, and that means getting Kittle involved. They can’t win consistently without him getting more looks and consequently putting up bigger numbers.

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