Kyle Shanahan gives update on George Kittle’s Status for Week 2

Sep 16, 2022, 2:28 PM | Updated: 3:01 pm
INGLEWOOD, CALIFORNIA - JANUARY 30: Head coach Kyle Shanahan of the San Francisco 49ers  walks off ...
INGLEWOOD, CALIFORNIA - JANUARY 30: Head coach Kyle Shanahan of the San Francisco 49ers walks off the field after warm ups before the NFC Championship Game against the Los Angeles Rams at SoFi Stadium on January 30, 2022 in Inglewood, California. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Friday’s injury report for the 49ers came with the best news all week: tight end George Kittle returned to practice and is questionable to make his season debut Sunday against the Seattle Seahawks.

Head coach Kyle Shanahan revealed the injury report for the team’s home opener after practice Friday, stating the tight end looked “awesome” to end the week, but that his status for Sunday is still up in the air.

“I don’t know what probable means, but he’s healthier seven days later than he was last week when he was questionable,” the head coach stated Friday.

Calling Kittle a game-time decision, the pro bowl tight end still has some hurdles to jump before getting the all clear Sunday afternoon. Coming down with a groin injury after the Labor Day practice, the tight end was forced to sit out the team’s Week 1 contest in Chicago, and all practices leading up to today.

Joining him on Friday’s injury report is offensive lineman Daniel Brunskill, who will miss another game due to a hamstring injury sustained during the preseason. Thankfully that is the only player scheduled to be absent at the moment with linebacker Dre Greenlaw (elbow), OL Trent Williams (rest) and cornerback Samuel Womack (eye) all fully practicing to close out the week.

A lot of outside noise has cumulated following San Francisco’s loss to the Chicago Bears Week 1, some on the field and some off the field as well. But for Shanahan and his team, they don’t hear that noise, solely focused on the task at hand.

“Honestly we don’t hear the outside noise.” Shanahan said. “You can’t really react to the noise, and that’s that’s hard to do but that’s why you don’t look at it that way. And when you start 0-1, yeah, players, coaches everybody feels that. But nothing really changes. So you don’t try to make it something that isn’t. You don’t say ‘hey, let’s try harder this week.’ Because you’d like to feel you do that every single day as well as you can. And you just got to figure out why you lost the week before and try to do it better.”

There’s a lot of speculation surrounding the run game for the Red & Gold after Elijah Mitchell suffered a sprained MCL in Chicago that landed him on the short-term IR this week. Shanahan has found success with replacement running backs in the past and expects to do the same this week against the Seahawks. But it all starts with the outside zone for the head coach.

“And that’s where we start, with a commitment to outside zone, that’s what everything plays off of,” Shanahan explained. “We’re always going to try to make people stop for outside zone, that’s where everything starts. And if you do, that makes a lot of other plays better. That makes your power [run] game, your gap schemes better. It makes your toss schemes, your man blocking better.”

Filling in for the injured Mitchell with be a combination of RB Jeff Wilson Jr., and rookies Jordan Mason and Ty Davis-Price. Veteran Marlon Mack may also feature for the 49ers this weekend, signing to the practice squad Tuesday.

Regardless of the play-calling Sunday, the 49ers will have one clear advantage over the Seahawks: A home crowd. Opening the home schedule against an NFC West foe is always a recipe for a rowdy Levi’s Stadium, something Shanahan loves about playing Santa Clara.

“You always choose the crowd and being in your own stadium because that’s such a big factor,” he stated. “I mean, every play starts with a snap count and cadence. And that’s everything for O-line and D-linemen. So anytime you get a chance to be back home and know you don’t have to worry about [crowd noise] on the road and the opposing team coming in does. That pumps your guys up, it pumps our whole team up, it pumps our D-line up. And man as our O-line glad that we don’t have to be on the silent [count].”

To watch the full press conference with Kyle Shanahan, click here.


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