Carroll focused on Kittle, Aiyuk before 49ers-Seahawks game originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
The 49ers will be without several of their offensive playmakers Sunday but Pete Carroll knows his defense has a tough challenge ahead.
Playing in divisional games twice a season has allowed the Seattle Seahawks’ coach to see the development of George Kittle. Carroll has seen the All-Pro tight end become an important weapon for the 49ers' offense but Kittle also has an intangible that Carroll declared was one of the most important aspects of Kittle's game.
“Certainly his confidence and the confidence his coaches have grown to acquire,” Carroll said. “Once you see a guy, you learn him, you feel him, you learn what he can do. They use him more and utilize his talents."
The last time Kittle faced the Seahawks was in the 49ers’ 2019 Week 17 win in Seattle when the tight end caught a perfect 7-for-7 for 86 yards. He also had one rushing attempt for 7 yards.
Carroll knows his defense has their work cut out for them in how Kittle is used as a receiver, a run blocker and a ball-carrier. The coach knows Kittle’s varying abilities will be used in as many ways as possible.
“He’s such a complete player and such a great competitor,” Carroll said. “It didn’t take long. They figured it out and he’s been featured for quite some time now. He’s just as good as you can get at the position.”
Another player that Carroll has his eye on heading into Sunday is 49ers rookie receiver Brandon Aiyuk. Carroll admitted he has known about the Arizona State product for some time, coveting him through the draft process.
“He’s a really good player,” Carrol, said. “We held him in high regard on our end too. We loved the guy coming out. Brandon hasn’t had any trouble making the transition from ASU, he’s done a great job."
Carroll noted the one-two punch of Aiyuk and Deebo Samuel has been lethal for opposing defenses thus far. Carroll expects that in Samuel’s absence, the rookie will shine.
“Everybody is battling being banged up, he’s really stepped up and he’s a real key factor for them," Carroll said of Aiyuk.