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Gold Standard: Why is Brandon Aiyuk being singled out

It seems as though Aiyuk is the only player who gets negative publicity

During his latest appearance on KNBR, 49ers GM John Lynch said that Brandon Aiyuk “hasn’t made the strides we expect him to.” Whether or not you believe that is true, it does beg a straightforward question that we tried to answer on today’s Gold Standard podcast: if the team is trying to hold people accountable for not improving year to year, why haven’t those standards applied to anyone else?

For reasons that continue to make no sense whatsoever, the 49ers continue to sabotage themselves by limiting the touches that Brandon Aiyuk has gotten this season. For example, take a look at this tweet:

Clearly, something has changed with Aiyuk, and even though we can’t understand it, it’s essential to acknowledge that the team does.

So, why hasn’t that standard applied to other players on the 49ers? Undoubtedly, on a 2-3 team, Brandon Aiyuk isn’t the only player that isn’t maximizing his potential. However, Lynch said multiple times on KNBR that it wasn’t a question of effort with Aiyuk, so the 49ers can’t wave away that question by saying that other players are trying more than Brandon.

Where are the strides from other players on the team? For example, where are the strides from ninth overall draft pick Mike McGlinchey? Can anyone really argue that McGlinchey’s pass blocking has gotten better since he was drafted? Has he even improved in a single area?

Why haven’t Kyle Shanahan or John Lynch reduced his snaps? Why hasn’t he been publicly called out? Not only has that not happened, but instead, McGlinchey has been praised in back-to-back offseasons for how he’s grown as a player, despite zero evidence whatsoever of that on the field.

Where are the strides from Jaquiski Tartt, who couldn’t find an interception with a flashlight and a map? Where are the strides from Dre Greenlaw, who is still late to react to plays right in front of him after three seasons?

And finally, the most egregious example of the 49ers BS, where are the strides from James Richard Garoppolo? Where is the improvement from the quarterback? Has Garoppolo ever been publicly criticized by the team? I’ve never seen it.

The team flirted with every quarterback under the sun and traded up to get Trey Lance, yet I never saw John Lynch talk on the radio about him failing to take strides. Instead, we were sold the idea that Jimmy was going to be better this year. That this was the best he has ever looked, right?

The more you dive into what the 49ers are saying about Brandon Aiyuk, the less sense it makes. And the more they freeze him out of the offense, the more the team will continue to struggle. Something stinks right now in San Francisco, no matter how much the team tries to deny it.

Make sure you download today’s Gold Standard podcast and listen to the whole conversation wherever you get your podcasts!