Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

John Lynch: Brandon Aiyuk’s increased playing time, confidence gives 49ers more options on offense

Sep 30, 2021 at 4:50 PM--

The start of Brandon Aiyuk's 2021 campaign could be described as bizarre. There were high expectations for the San Francisco 49ers second-year receiver. Instead, he wasn't targeted during Week 1 and saw just two targets during Week 2. Wide receiver Trent Sherfield saw more playing time than expected at the expense of Aiyuk's snaps.

That, of course, led to rampant speculation. Was Aiyuk in head coach Kyle Shanahan's doghouse? Was the team disappointed with his offseason progress?

The 49ers denied that, explaining that Aiyuk was set back by an injury and declared that Sherfield had earned a more significant role. However, Aiyuk saw more snaps this past weekend against the Green Bay Packers. He even scored his first touchdown of the season.

General manager John Lynch joined KNBR this afternoon and was asked about Aiyuk's bounce-back performance.

"Brandon's worked really hard," Lynch said on the Tolbert, Krueger & Brooks show. "He's a hard worker. He's a really good kid. He's a talented kid. He got some injuries. Trent Sherfield was playing well. The credit to Brandon is that he kept working. He put his head down, and he kept working. And he earned the opportunities he got the other night and made some big catches. I think that should give him some confidence.

"I think confidence is important. I think chemistry with Jimmy [Garoppolo is important too]. Now they've had time on task where they can work together because he's been out there repeatedly. So, they're starting to get a comfort level between each other, and that's a good thing for everyone."

Aiyuk's increased involvement is good news for the 49ers offense. It means yet another weapon for quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. This week, the 49ers Communications staff shared an interesting statistic from The Elias Sports Bureau. San Francisco is the first team since the NFL merger in 1970 that has had 11 different players score its first 11 touchdowns in a season.

That's some excellent work spreading the football around.

"And now, I think you look for a little bit more of a mix," Lynch continued. "Hey, we've got Sherfield. We've got Aiyuk. We've got Deebo [Samuel]. We've got [Mohamed] Sanu. We've got [Jauan] Jennings. There's a lot of good options in addition to our tight ends and our [running] backs. I think that bodes well. The more players we get playing well, I think it just provides options for us."

You can listen to the entire conversation with Lynch below.

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