Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Shanahan explains Trent Sherfield’s lack of playing time during 49ers-Packers

Sep 27, 2021 at 4:31 PM--

In previous weeks, many criticized the decision to give wide receiver Trent Sherfield more playing time than Brandon Aiyuk. On Sunday night against the Green Bay Packers, the second-year San Francisco 49ers wide receiver took part in nearly as many snaps as he did in his previous two games combined. He also had three times the targets.

While Aiyuk's 60 offensive snaps were a season-high, Sherfield's two were a season-low. With head coach Kyle Shanahan previously saying that Sherfield had earned an increased role and Aiyuk had to earn more playing time, Sunday night's shift led to a question about Sherfield's role.

"I didn't think we had that many long drives," Shanahan said on Monday during a conference call as he tried to explain the limited use of Sherfield. "When we did, we went with single receiver sometimes, being in 22 and 13 personnel. I thought he would play a lot more.

"I tell guys what to do before the game, but I don't keep up with the rotation. I told them to make sure to keep Aiyuk fresh. And [wide receivers coach] Wes [Welker] thought Aiyuk was fresh enough without being out there in too many long drives, that he didn't put Trent in as much. And he did a hell of a job on special teams for us too."

Aiyuk finished the game with four catches for 37 yards and a touchdown while also returning two punts for 23 yards and adding one carry for eight rushing yards. Sherfield wasn't targeted in the game.

The question was surprising, considering Aiyuk's role was expected to grow, naturally resulting in a reduced role for Sherfield. However, two total snaps on offense is a drastic change.
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