Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

Dante Pettis took ‘a number of steps forward’ as a receiver, says Kyle Shanahan

Sep 9, 2020 at 1:43 PM--

Third-year wide receiver Dante Pettis acknowledged that last season didn't go as he had hoped. He has accepted much of the blame for his performance.

Right now, the San Francisco 49ers wideout is focused on this season, and last month shared his goals for 2020. And they don't include passing yards, touchdowns, or any other statistical feat.

"To play free, without anything holding me back," Pettis said. "... Going in every day, and getting to a point to where, coming into practice or the weight room or whatever, getting to a point to where I know that I got better ... You need to get to the breaking point each day and get past that. That's kind of how I would measure my goals for this year."

Pettis has impressed his coaches since the start of training camp. That's good because his number may come up on Sunday during the 49ers' opener against the Arizona Cardinals. The chances of that happening may increase, depending on the statuses of Deebo Samuel (foot) and Brandon Aiyuk (hamstring). Both are returning from injuries.

"With two receivers being day-to-day, we're ready for any situation with the receivers," head coach Kyle Shanahan told reporters before Wednesday's practice. "Whether Dante is going to play a lot, play a little, he's kind of in the same boat with about four other guys."

San Francisco made Pettis a second-round pick out of Washington in 2018. He caught 27 passes for 467 yards and five touchdowns as a rookie, raising expectations for his sophomore campaign. Pettis hauled in just 11 passes for 109 yards with two scores last season.

Still, Shanahan has been impressed with the work Pettis put in this offseason and the effort he has shown since reporting to training camp.

"What I can say is that Dante is so much more prepared right now for the season than he was last year at this time," Shanahan continued. "Just the work that he put in while he was away, the stuff I said earlier in the year, but it definitely hasn't changed.

"Everyone battled through camp, and had some good days, some bad days. But Dante was so prepared for camp, fought through camp, the tough days, and I think took a number of steps forward as a receiver. And whether he gets his opportunity this week or some other time throughout the year, he's put himself in a position to have a chance to be successful."

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