49ers TEs coach Jon Embree said second-year TE George Kittle could contribute a lot this season if he is able to remain healthy. In addition to a high ankle sprain, Kittle dealt with hamstring, calf, hip, chest, back, and elbow injuries during his rookie season.
“His thing is staying healthy, as it is with a lot of players,” said Embree, via Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee. “I think if he’s able to do that, everyone’s going to be pleased what he brings to the table for us.”
One area where Kittle must improve, according to Embree, is catching contested passes.
“One of the things he’s had to learn on our level is, in college football ‘open’ is wide open,” Embree said. “In the NFL at our position I would say that 85 percent of the passes you catch are going to be contested balls with people around you. So he’s had to learn, and is still learning, how to play outside of his frame. In other words, playing with his hands away from his body, using his length.”
According to Rams HC Sean McVay, veteran CB Aqib Talib has made a “seamless” transition this summer.
“Well I think like anybody else, he’s had a lot of success in this league. But I think he leads by being able to connect with the players, and then going out and doing things the right way with the way he practices, the way he is in meetings. I’ve been extremely impressed watching him from afar,” McVay said, via Myles Simmons of TheRams.com. “I was with him in Tampa his rookie year, and now just getting a chance to reconnect with him — smart player, cerebral. Seen a lot of different things, understands concepts. And then he’s also got the athleticism to match up with it. And he’s very comfortable having played in this system with coach Phillips in Denver. So, it’s been a seamless transition for him so far. And we feel really good about having Aqib with us.”
McVay added that previously playing for DC Wade Phillips while in Denver is obviously a big help in terms of Talib getting comfortable with his new team.
“Oh, it’s huge,” McVay said. “I think that’s one of the things you feel so good about, is that a lot of the players that we’ve acquired from outside the organization have been people that have worked with some members of our coaching staff. And Wade in particular with the knowledge and experience that he has, he’s got a great feel for personnel around this league. And having worked with some great players, you hear guys want to come play for him because of the way he works with those guys, the way he puts them in position to have success. And Aqib is very similar. And, like I said, extremely pleased that we got him and it’s a real credit to Les and his staff for getting that trade done.”
Seahawks HC Pete Carroll says that RB Chris Carson has really stood out in offseason workouts up to this point.
“He hasn’t missed one snap of anything,” Carroll said, via Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times. “He’s just looked so fit and just so cut and quick and explosive and all of that. He’s the guy that just stood out in that regard.
“He’s absolutely full steam. He has just had a great offseason. He was really frustrated about not being able to finish up last year, and he put it to work. He did it. I’m excited to see how he goes. He’s going to play really good for us when we get back.”