A week after not having many answers for Detroit’s T.J. Hockenson, the Packers defense must now contend with a tight end who’s even better: The 49ers’ George Kittle (above), whose numbers through two games (eight receptions, 95 yards, no touchdowns) aren’t all that impressive but belie the level of respect the Packers have for the two-time All-Pro and Pro Bowler.
“There’s really nothing that he does bad. Just simply (put), I don’t think you can (stop him),” Barry said. “The way he approaches the game, the way he plays the game, it is full-speed nasty all the time. He does everything violent, he does everything physical, he does everything full speed.
“George, the respect I have for him, being in the (NFC West) division the last four years in L.A. (with the Rams), he’s not a glorified wideout by any means. They put him in three-point stances and ask him to base block the best defensive end on the field. They’ll put him in the backfield and ask him to chip and help tackles in protection. A lot of great tight ends won’t do that because they want to catch the ball and make yards, which he does. But he does everything well.”
The Packers watched Hockenson catch eight of the nine passes thrown his way for 66 yards, including a 20-yard completion and an 8-yard touchdown. And while Deebo Samuel leads the 49ers in receiving (15 catches, 282 yards, one TD), you can bet 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan has a large part of his game plan dedicated to running the ball and getting Kittle more involved.
“Their whole offense, the thing with them is you’ve got to be really disciplined with your eyes,” Savage said. “We’ve got to make sure we’re reading our keys and not trying to jump any plays or anything like that because, at the end of the day, they’ve got a lot of misdirection and stuff that can really fool you.”
Jason Wilde covers the Packers for ESPN Wisconsin. Listen to him with former Packers and Badgers offensive lineman Mark Tauscher weekdays from 9 a.m. until noon on “Wilde & Tausch” on 100.5 FM ESPN Madison.