George Kittle has yet to get going this season.
After missing the first two weeks with a groin injury, the San Francisco 49ers tight end has posted two underwhelming stat lines. He tallied 28 yards in a loss to the Denver Broncos and 24 in Monday night's win over the Los Angeles Rams.
“The more Kittle is out there and healthy, the more he practices, the more he can get back in the routine,” Shanahan said. “I think that stuff will take care of itself. The plays that went to him, I thought he did a good job on in the game. Kittle affects the game in so many ways, the run and the pass. We definitely want to get him the ball more, but it’s something we’re not that concerned about. We think it’ll take care of itself as we get going.”
Kittle's rut spans back to last season. Since collecting 425 yards and three touchdowns on 33 targets from Weeks 13 to 15, he's since registered 220 yards and a touchdown on 35 targets over the last eight games. That includes a mostly quiet playoff run.
The 49ers have gone 5-3 over that stretch with Deebo Samuel fueling the offense as a receiver and runner. As Shanahan said, Kittle can still make an impact as a blocker.
Yet it's a noteworthy funk from a star who posted back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons in 2018 and 2019.
Perhaps Kittle will play a bigger receiving role this Sunday against the Carolina Panthers.