Heading into his second NFL season after a solid performance in 2020, many felt San Francisco wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk was in for a breakout year in 2021.
Unfortunately for the second-year wideout, Week 1 didn’t exactly indicate a step in that direction.
Seeing time on just 15 snaps for the 49ers this past weekend, Aiyuk was targeted zero times in his team’s 41-33 win over the Detroit Lions.
On Wednesday, 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan addressed this lack of usage.
“He’s been a little inconsistent because he’s been in and out with his injury and stuff. … If he wants to be out there every single play, he’s got to be a lot better than the guy behind him,” Shanahan said, per NFL insider Ari Meirov.
#49ers HC Kyle Shanahan on Brandon Aiyuk getting just 15 snaps on Sunday: “He’s been a little inconsistent because he’s been in and out with his injury and stuff. … If he wants to be out there every single play, he’s got to be a lot better than the guy behind him.”
— Ari Meirov (@MySportsUpdate) September 15, 2021
Aiyuk dealt with a nagging hamstring injury throughout the preseason, but he wasn’t listed on the Niners’ Week 1 injury report. Following Sunday’s disappointing performance, the 23-year-old receiver has since been added to the injured list, but should be clear to play in Week 2.
Shanahan said that Aiyuk needs to be “a lot better” than the guy behind him on the depth chart. He certainly didn’t achieve that goal on Sunday.
Wideout Trent Sherfield finished the game with two catches for 23 yards and a touchdown. Leading receiver Deebo Samuel put together a stellar individual performance, logging nine catches for 189 yards and a touchdown.
Aiyuk will look to bounce back in a Week 2 matchup against the Eagles on Sunday afternoon.