Kyle’s update, 2:05 p.m. PT: The 49ers have released CB Davontae Harris and RB Jacques Patrick. These are likely the corresponding moves to activate CB K’Waun Williams and RB JaMycal Hasty from the Injured Reserve.
Before the season started, most fans expected to argue about which quarterback should start. What they didn’t expect Kyle Shanahan to do was basically freeze former first-round draft pick Brandon Aiyuk out of the offense in favor of less-talented players. While the quarterback discussion continues every day, press conference questions about Aiyuk and the wide receiver usage have stopped. In today’s Oh, Hey There podcast with Javi Vega and Leo Luna, clearly, Leo hasn’t forgotten:
“What the hell is Kyle doing with the receiving corps? Travis Benjamin gets two targets before any other receiver gets a single target [in Week 5]?! Travis Benjamin gets two targets before Deebo Samuel, Brandon Aiyuk, Trent Sherfield, or Mohamed Sanu? It’s Travis Benjamin, who was just elevated from the practice squad - what is that?! Even if it has something to do with the read or the looks of the defense, Kyle knows how to scheme to get Deebo the ball. He knows how to scheme to get Brandon Aiyuk the ball. Hell, he’s done it to the point where George Kittle was the only threat on the offense, yet George Kittle still set the tight end single-season receiving record. So I don’t want to hear that maybe the guys are covered or whatever - no. Kyle knows how to scheme these guys open and he’s not doing it.”
On the season, Deebo Samuel leads all 49ers players in targets with 52, George Kittle is next at 28, and fullback Kyle Juszczyk and Mohamed Sanu are tied for third with 16.
Read that again. Fullback Kyle Juszczyk is tied for third with 32-year-old Mo Sanu.
Former 25th overall draft pick Brandon Aiyuk, meanwhile, is fourth on the team with 15 targets. This isn’t a small sample size thing, either. We’re more than a quarter of the way through the season. Javi Vega boiled things down quite nicely during the show.
“Put the ball in your best players’ hands...This is outlandish, whatever Kyle [Shanahan] is doing. Whatever dog house you put [Aiyuk] in - and I’m not buying all this nonsense that it’s an injury he’s working through...Brandon Aiyuk makes really sweet grabs for you, but then he’s out the next play. That doesn’t make any sense, Kyle.”
Is it really a coincidence that the only drive of the day that ended in the endzone against Arizona was the one in which Mohamed Sanu, Travis Benjamin, and Ross Dwelley didn’t touch the ball? The whole drive was Aiyuk, Deebo, Lance, and Elijah Mitchell. That probably isn’t unrelated.
With a week off coming, now would be the perfect time for the 49ers to do a little internal scouting and adjust their thinking for the final 12 games of the regular season. There’s certainly plenty of time this year to switching things up. The real question is, do you have faith in the coaching staff to admit their mistakes and correct them going forward?
Leo and Javi were fired up all show long, so you should definitely go here or here to download today’s episode and listen to the whole conversation. While you’re doing that, drop us a 5-star rating and a review, too, please.