Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

49ers’ Dante Pettis more confident heading into his second NFL season, discusses Deebo Samuel

Jul 28, 2019 at 3:11 PM--

San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Dante Pettis was sidelined by injuries for multiple games last season. It was a bit of a blessing in disguise, though, because it allowed the then-rookie to spend more of his time studying the offense further. It was, after all, a lot for Pettis to digest during the offseason.

Pettis sounds a lot more confident this year. He was asked on Sunday to describe his most significant area of growth compared to his rookie year.

"I think it's understanding the offense," he responded. "Last year was just all over the place. But now that I actually know it, had the full offseason to really learn the offense and all that stuff, now I can just go out and play. I don't have to think like, 'Am I going to end up here or there?'"

Pettis finished last season with 27 catches for 467 receiving yards and five touchdowns. His average yards per reception ranked No. 4 among rookie receivers last year, and his five touchdowns were the third-most among the same group. Many feel that he came on strong to end the season.

Pettis' head coach, Kyle Shanahan, sounds confident in his young receiver but warns that he hasn't arrived just yet.

"I want to see him improve a lot," Shanahan told reporters on Sunday. "I've got a lot of belief in Dante, but I don't think he's there yet. I think there's a whole other level that he can reach. He needs to do it with size, with mentality, and just getting after it every single day."

A reporter asked Pettis if he worked this offseason to get stronger.

"No," he jokingly responded.

He then said he actually did.

"I think it paid off a little bit," Pettis said before flexing his arm while laughing.

Pettis was very conscious of the in-season weight he lost last year. Of course, he spent part of that season dealing with a knee injury. Pettis finished the year on injured reserve, missing the final game of the season. He was down to about 180 pounds by that point. That's why Pettis felt the need to add weight this offseason.

"I was like if I can get up to around 195-plus, if I lose weight during the season, I won't drop down below 190, so that was just something I knew I needed to do," Pettis said.

Pettis admits he was a bit lost at this point last year as he tried to learn the offense. That doesn't seem to be the case with the wide receivers drafted this year. Pettis feels Deebo Samuel is further along than he was a year ago.

"Whenever I ask them, 'Hey, are you good with this stuff? Like, how was the install? You got everything?'" Pettis said. "They're always like, 'Yeah, I think I got it.' Last year, after the installs, I was like, 'I have no idea what's going on right now.' At least they are acting like they're better."

Veteran wide receiver Marquise Goodwin can tell Pettis is more confident this year and sounds excited to see what his teammate does this season.

"He's doing great," Goodwin said. "Obviously, having a year under your belt makes it a lot better, being his second camp in the league. He took some time to adjust early on, but now, the boy's a beast. He's got crazy legs."

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