After Deebo Samuel drew eyeballs with his comments about Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald, San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle is speaking up.
The San Francisco receiver and Aaron Donald haven’t been friendly since the three-time Defensive Player of the Year said “who’s that” when asked about Samuel after the 49ers’ win over the Rams in Week 6 of 2020.
When asked about Samuel saying he wasn’t “pressed for a conversation” with Donald, Kittle didn’t hesitate to support his teammate. According to David Lombardi, Kittle believes there’s disrespect coming from Donald.
“I think Deebo is different whenever he plays the Rams,” Kittle said. “There is a bit of disrespect there. I think Deebo is a hell of a football player and people should know who he is and what his name is.”
It’s not surprising that Kittle is supporting Deebo, but players don’t always follow their teammates when it comes to personal beef. Considering the 49ers are facing their division rivals and need a win to ensure a place in the playoffs, tensions are about as high as they get.
ALL the latest 49ers news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on 49ers newsletter here!
Analyzing Deebo Samuel vs. the Rams
Kittle mentioned in his quote that he thinks Samuel brings an extra gear against the Rams. Deebo is undefeated against Los Angeles since joining San Francisco as a second-round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, going 5-0. But has his personal performances been at a different level?
The answer is: sort of. When Samuel was getting his bearings as a rookie, he didn’t exactly show up in a big way in those games. In his first ever meeting with Los Angeles in 2019, he brought down three receptions for 18 yards per PFR. In the second meeting, he caught four passes for 31 yards.
But in 2020, Samuel became a problem for the Rams. After six catches for 66 yards and a score in the first meeting in Week 6, he caught 11 receptions for 133 yards in Week 12, which is still a career-high for receptions.
Finally, we arrive to the current season, and most fans don’t need a reminder of how devastating Samuel was in the 49ers’ 31-10 win in Week 10. Deebo put up five catches for 97 yards and a touchdown with five rushes for 36 yards and another score.
When you cut out his rookie season, Samuel has caught 22 passes for 296 yards two touchdowns in three games. Not too shabby.
Kittle Supportive of Both 49ers QBs
49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan is tight-lipped about his quarterback choice for the Rams game, but he said last Sunday that Jimmy Garoppolo was the starter if he recovers enough from his UCL sprain.
While Kittle has backed Jimmy G all year, he showed his enthusiasm for rookie Trey Lance on Sunday. The tight end received a small workload with just one catch on two targets, but when Lance connected with Deebo on a deep score, Kittle absolutely lost it. Head to the 3:45 mark in the video to see.
It’s exactly what you want from one of the most talented and outspoken players on the team. No matter who the Niners trot out against the Rams on Sunday, San Francisco can at least feel good about who they are throwing to.