Even star tight end George Kittle is looking forward to the battle and is encouraging Lance to show up and take Garoppolo’s spot.
“I’m looking forward to this competition in camp just like everybody else is. I can’t wait to see it,” Kittle said during an interview with Cam Inman of Bay Area News Group.
While Garoppolo is the projected Week 1 starter, it doesn’t mean Lance won’t have a shot to steal the spotlight if he performs well.
“Jimmy loves the competition. He always has,” Kittle said. “He played behind Tom Brady for a long time. Every day, he’s going against one of the greatest of all time, but he’s trying to beat him out for his job, and I know Jimmy feels – I hope Jimmy feels — like he’s in the same position with just some competition behind him.
“And I hope Trey is going after Jimmy’s job because that’s what makes and breeds great football.”
Kittle was quick to add that Garoppolo is indeed his guy, but is still all for the heated battle.
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Kittle Continues To Hype Up the QB Battle
This isn’t the first time that Kittle has publically challenged the two QBs and it likely won’t be the last.
“If my starting quarterback is scared of competition, I don’t know if he would be my starting quarterback,” Kittle told reporters in May, via KRON’s Kate Rooney.
“So yeah, I’m very excited to see Jimmy G out there. I’m excited to go back next week and see all those boys. It’s just going to be fun to play football again,” Kittle continued. “Like I said, competition’s what makes you a good football player. If you weren’t competitive every single day, fighting for your job, you’re not going to perform at your best. You’re not going to perform at your highest level. And that’s what football is all about.”
Before ultimately drafting Lance, the 49ers were very close to trading for ex-Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford and were also heavily linked to Aaron Rodgers and Deshaun Watson.
Shanahan Is Open to Any Possibility
Throughout training camp, we will likely listen to Kyle Shanahan repeatedly say that Garoppolo is that starter even though he doesn’t seem completely sold on the idea.
“I definitely see it as Jimmy’s the starter,” Shanahan told The Athletic’s Tim Kawakami this offseason, “But if Trey’s ready to compete, I have no problem with it. I don’t sit there and say, ‘Hey, we’re not playing a rookie quarterback. We have to rest him the first year.’ … I don’t really make any decisions like that until I actually have an opinion on it. And that’ll take to how I see him in camp. If he comes in and he’s playing at a high level and we think he gives us the best chance to win, we wouldn’t hesitate to do that.”
Shanahan also noted that it’s hard for a rookie quarterback to stand out over a vetted signal-caller like Garoppolo, but added that he “has no problem” with Lance starting if he “wows” them at camp.
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