Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

49ers RB Trey Sermon on his first NFL start: ‘I feel like I did okay’

Sep 26, 2021 at 11:10 PM--

Rookie running back Trey Sermon gave himself a somewhat positive review for his performance in the 49ers' 30-28 loss to the Green Bay Packers Sunday night, which also served as his first NFL start and first extended regular season action since being selected in the third round of the 2021 NFL Draft.

The 49ers traded up in the 2021 NFL Draft to select Sermon, who seemed from the outside looking in to be second in the pecking order during the preseason behind starter Raheem Mostert. But the 49ers viewed things differently, which those on the outside discovered when Sermon was surprisingly left inactive as a healthy scratch in the 49ers' 41-33 Week 1 win over the Detroit Lions while Mostert, JaMycal Hasty, and fellow rookie Elijah Mitchell carried the load at running back. A season-ending injury to Mostert resulted in Sermon being active last Sunday for the 49ers' 17-11 win over the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 2, but his lone carry saw him take a hit to the head that left him in concussion protocol for the majority of following week.

But, with both Hasty (ankle) and Mitchell (shoulder) sustaining injuries against the Eagles that left them sidelined for the Week 3 game against the Packers, the door was open for Sermon to get the start if he was able to clear concussion protocol. Sermon was given the green light late last week and went on to get 10 carries for 31 yards against the Packers with one touchdown, while also catching two passes for three yards.

Sermon, who had a 16-yard carry during the game, told reporters Sunday night that he was satisfied with how he played even though there was plenty of room for improvement.

"I feel like I did okay. I definitely feel I can be better in a lot of areas across the board. But just the first game getting out there, I felt like I did alright," Sermon said.

Sermon was part of a running attack against the Packers that featured a variety of different looks, including handoffs to fullback Kyle Juszczyk, wide receivers Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk, tight end George Kittle, and a goal-line run by backup quarterback Trey Lance. The 49ers also had Trenton Cannon and the recently-signed Jacques Patrick and Kerryon Johnson available at running back if need be, but head coach Kyle Shanahan said the team chose a game plan that spread the carries between a number of different players on offense.

"We tried to use everybody today," Shanahan said.

The 49ers may decide to turn the bulk of the carries back over to Mitchell if he is healthy enough to play next week against the Seattle Seahawks, but with Hasty's injury expected to keep him sidelined for multiple games, Sermon will probably see his share of carries again. It remains to be seen exactly how much Sermon is used in the weeks ahead, but he's planning on keeping the focus on improvement and letting the chips fall where they may.

"I just have to come to work every day and just try to get better," Sermon said. "I just control what I can control. As long as I'm getting better and better each day, getting more comfortable in the offense each day, the sky's the limit."
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