George Kittle

Kittle, Warner hilariously debate 49ers' bye-week practice winners

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The 49ers, who are the NFC's No. 1 playoff seed, are staying busy at practice during their first-round bye.

Instead of preparing for a game, San Francisco’s offense and defense are keeping track of practice performances, with each side believing it had the edge over the other.

In speaking to reporters on Thursday, 49ers tight end George Kittle and linebacker Fred Warner each discussed the winners between the offensive and defense in practice and their overall approach to a restful week.

“2019, we had a must-win game in Seattle,” Kittle recalled. “And so we got that win, everybody played, high-intensity, everybody was dialed in. So, the following week was more like jog-through stuff. 

“Today was definitely a more full-speed day. Guys flying around, guys competing. The offense definitely competed better today than the defense. Suck it, Fred [Warner].”

Kittle recognized San Francisco’s different approach this season compared to four years ago, with the 2023 squad having a rest advantage over their opponents.

But of course, Warner couldn’t let the other Kittle comments slide.

“Ah, those offensive guys. Boy, I’ll tell you what,” Warner joked with reporters. “[The defense] won today. So let's not get that misunderstood. Defense won today. [The offense] had a good couple plays. Especially [Brock] Purdy back out there, ripping it, looks great. Exactly what you’d like to see out of the offense. It was a hard-fought battle.”

While representing their respective sides of the ball, Warner and Kittle remained focused on San Francisco’s bigger picture.

After the fun banter, the two shared more insight on how they view a week of practice during the playoffs without a game to cap it off.

“The [bye week] is great,” Kittle emphasized. “Kyle [Shanahan] said something like ‘Continue to sharpen the sword.’ I don’t know. You just want to take every advantage when you’re on the football field to refine your skills a little bit, to focus on one thing, your first step, your release, your get-off, focus on ADO if you’re a d-lineman, backpedal, just something. You just don’t want to lose a step anywhere. And so, it was a good day today, and I’m looking forward to tomorrow.”

"I'm always trying to stir the pot,” Warner admitted. “I'm always trying to get the juices going. Before practice starts, you start planting seeds in each guy. ‘Hey Brandon [Aiyuk] we’re going to see. George, I don’t know- Brock [Purdy], you’ve been away for a while, I don’t know.’ Just planting seeds though, you know? That’s how you create that competitive atmosphere out there. It’s all fun and games.”

As the 49ers await the results of the Super Wild Card Weekend, they’re not lacking any competitive edge.

Led by two of its hilarious NFL AP All-Pro leaders, San Francisco should be in good shape against whoever they play in the divisional playoff round.

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