Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports


Shanahan: Injury issues and Trent Sherfield’s emergence led to lack of time for 49ers WR Brandon Aiyuk vs Lions

Sep 12, 2021 at 2:14 PM--


Brandon Aiyuk's lack of playing time at wide receiver was one of the biggest surprises for the 49ers in their 41-33 Week 1 win over the Detroit Lions, and it may or may not continue to be an issue to keep an eye on in the weeks to come.

Aiyuk was impressive as a rookie last season (60 receptions for 748 yards and five touchdowns) after being selected in Round 1 of the 2020 NFL Draft out of Arizona State and was thought by many to be a candidate to take an even bigger step this season. But his playing time in the 49ers' season opener was limited as he had zero targets on offense while returning one punt for seven yards.

49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan spoke after the game about Aiyuk's lack of participation, saying that a recent hamstring injury was part of the issue but that the emergence of Trent Sherfield throughout the preseason was also a factor.

"I know he's the starting punt returner," Shanahan said of Aiyuk. "I know we started Trent (at wide receiver), which they had been rotating a lot throughout the preseason. But Aiyuk's only been back for a week after he tweaked his hamstring, which we wanted to be smart with that. Also Trent Sherfield's earned the right to be out there more."

Sherfield caught two passes for 23 yards and was on the receiving end of rookie quarterback Trey Lance's first NFL touchdown pass in the first quarter. Shanahan said he intended on getting each of his receivers more time than they did but that the 49ers wound up not having a large enough number of plays in the game to make that happen (the 49ers finished with 55 plays to the Lions' 84).

"Aiyuk hadn't gone the last ten days with his hamstring. Sherfield was pushing him as it was," Shanahan said. "I planned on getting them a lot in, rotating both of them and playing all five guys who were up today. I think we only had one third down in the first half. I felt like it was more of the opposite in the second half. So I don't know how many plays we ended up having -- I don't know the numbers there -- but I'm sure he had less than expected."

Adding to the intrigue on this issue is a tweet made by 49ers beat reporter Matt Maiocco during the game that suggested Aiyuk's overall performance slipped as the preseason proceeded.

"After a hot start to training camp, Brandon Aiyuk tailed off dramatically. He is still learning how to be a pro," wrote Maiocco. "Kyle Shanahan, clearly, favors some of the other WRs right now. Message sent."

Aiyuk's status will be a storyline to watch in the weeks ahead as his health improves. He's certainly one of the most potent weapons the 49ers have on offense, but perhaps he has other hurdles to clear in addition to his health before being able to show everything he's capable of this season.

Related News







More San Francisco 49ers News



Alex Mack says fans shouldn't be concerned about 49ers rookie Aaron Banks' lack of playing time

By David Bonilla
Oct 19

The San Francisco 49ers have played five games this season. Their second-round draft pick, guard Aaron Banks, has been inactive for each of them. That has led many to question the selection. That's a high draft slot for a player who has yet to contribute this season. Veteran center Alex Mack joined KNBR this morning and was asked about his rookie teammate. What does Banks need to do to get on the football field for the 49ers? "Just keep putting the work in," Mack responded on the Murph & Mac show. "You know, he's a good dude. He works hard. He just has a couple of more things to learn and put the work in. And it's a credit to the other guards that it's not easy to break the starting lineup. We have a lot of depth here. "Aaron is



Why the 49ers need to quickly figure out their Brandon Aiyuk situation

By Rohan Chakravarthi
Oct 13

What the heck have the 49ers done with Brandon Aiyuk? That has been the primary question for this 2-3 San Francisco team since Week 1, when the promising receiver, who had an impressive rookie season, was out-snapped by free-agent addition Trent Sherfield 27-26. Drafted 25th overall in the 2020 NFL Draft, Aiyuk burst into the spotlight last season, especially late in the year, catching 60 passes for 748 yards overall. In fact, in a six-game stretch from Weeks 7-15 (not including the two games he was on the COVID-19 list), the rookie averaged 94.7 receiving yards, catching 7.5 passes on 11.5 targets per game. The most important part: Aiyuk played on no lower than 76% of the offensive snaps during those weeks, which is a feat he's



John Lynch says 49ers believe in Brandon Aiyuk but need more 'urgency' from receiver

By Rohan Chakravarthi
Oct 16

Brandon Aiyuk has been the talk amongst 49ers fans after his slow start to the season. He has only caught eight passes for 90 yards over the team's first six games, despite breaking out as a rookie, having caught 60 passes for 748 yards and five touchdowns, leading the team in all three of those categories in 2020. Last week, John Lynch spoke about his second-year receiver and stated that Aiyuk "hasn't made the strides [the 49ers] have expected him to," sparking a controversy about whether the team's been misusing him, or if there's really something different about Aiyuk. Still, Lynch, who spoke with NBC's Matt Maiocco, has given his utmost confidence in the 25th



49ers' Nick Bosa excited by Trey Lance's progress, believes Brandon Aiyuk will 'come alive'

By David Bonilla
17 hrs

Trey Lance entered the NFL without a whole lot of collegiate experience under his belt. He started only one full season for the North Dakota State Bison. He joined the San Francisco 49ers with a lot to learn, and the plan has always been to start Jimmy Garoppolo during the regular season, allowing Lance the time needed to absorb the offense. The most anyone expected from Lance was to see the quarterback sprinkled into the offensive game plan from week to week. However, an injury to Garoppolo thrust the rookie into the starting lineup during Week 5. Nick Bosa joined 95.7 The Game on Wednesday and was asked about the team's young quarterback. How much growth has the pass rusher seen from Lance since the 21-year-old first joined the squad? "He's come a


Featured

Trending News

Share 49ersWebzone