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Stacking up the tight ends against the NFC West


SANTA CLARA, CA – DECEMBER 24: George Kittle #85 of the San Francisco 49ers celebrates after scoring on a eight-yard touchdown catch against the Jacksonville Jaguars during their NFL game at Levi’s Stadium on December 24, 2017 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Robert Reiners/Getty Images)

The San Francisco 49ers are rebuilding on the fly with changes at many key positions – but how do their TE’s stack up in the NFC West?

San Francisco 49ers GM John Lynch and HC Kyle Shanahan took on a tough task when they inherited the mess the team and organization had become – and it was a big mess.

Infighting between coaches and the front office, squabbles between players, poor draft choices, free agent busts, and a constant turnover of the coaching staff toppled the 49ers from the ranks of model organization, to laughingstock of the league in short order.

They inherited a team that went 44-19 between 2011-14, under Jim Harbaugh, going to three straight NFC title games and making one Super Bowl appearance, then went 7-25 under Jim Tomsula and Chip Kelly in 2015-16.

Jed York did the best thing he could have done for the franchise when he hired Shanahan and Lynch to take over in 2017 – and then got out of the way.

Admittedly, 2017 started off a bit rough and was looking a lot like the Tomsula/Kelly years, when the 49ers got off to a 1-10 start. But you knew 2017 and beyond were going to look a lot different when Lynch dealt for quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo.

And once Garoppolo took over, the 49ers found themselves not being laughed at quite so hard anymore. With the man known as Jimmy G. under center, San Francisco rattled off five straight wins – including a big win over one of the best teams in the league last season in Jacksonville.

Against the Jaguars, a Garoppolo-led offense torched what was, at the time, the league’s top-ranked defense for 44 points and a pile of yards. Those 44 points were more than anybody else scored against that Jags defense all season long.

That late season success has fueled an optimistic outlook for the 2018 season. There’s an excitement about seeing the 49ers get back up off the mat and get back to being a solid organization once more.

And that optimism and drive has led to some big changes on the roster as Lynch and Shanahan seek to put this team in a position to win now – and in the future.

In this series of articles, we’re taking a look at how San Francisco’s different position groups stack up against their NFC West rivals. We’ve already taken a look at the wide receivers and the running backs.

Now, we’ll turn our attention to the tight ends…

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