Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports


49ers coach Kyle Shanahan says Brandon Aiyuk isn’t ‘quite back to where he was’

Oct 27, 2021 at 1:47 PM--


Brandon Aiyuk's lack of involvement within the San Francisco 49ers offense has been one of the more bizarre storylines of this season. After an impressive rookie campaign last year that saw the receiver haul in 60 passes for 748 yards, Aiyuk has been limited to just nine catches and one touchdown on 16 targets through six games. Understandably, those aren't the numbers many expected from his sophomore NFL season.

There was a lot of speculation surrounding Aiyuk's reduced role in 2021. Was he in Kyle Shanahan's doghouse? The coach denied that, saying that injuries initially contributed to Aiyuk's lack of involvement. The receiver has been limited to just one catch in three of his five starts.

"I just want Aiyuk to keep getting better," head coach Kyle Shanahan said before today's practice. "I don't think he's quite back to where he was last year, and I expected him to be better this year than last year. I think he's still trying to get back to that point, which I think he's closer to that point right now than he was a couple of weeks ago because he has been working hard and trying to get there. If he keeps doing that, I believe things will get better for him and us."

There were reports this offseason that Aiyuk gained some weight, getting stronger. The coach was asked if that weight gain has instead been problematic for the second-year receiver. Does it impact his deep speed or any other aspect of his game?

"Possibly," Shanahan responded. "I don't think he quite looks to where he was at last year, so that could be a reason. That's something that's different. I'm sure it's a few things, though, but he needs to get there."

While Aiyuk played less than half the offensive snaps in Week 1, that number has increased as the season has progressed. He has played 71 percent of the offensive snaps in each of the past two games but has just three catches on five targets to show for it.

Aiyuk's next opportunity will come on Sunday against the Chicago Bears.



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