Given his incredible output this season, there is a case to be made that Deebo Samuel is the offensive player of the year. Now that we know he’s going to miss at least one game, the focus shifts to how the 49ers will go about replacing someone who has had 26 touches for 305 yards and five touchdowns over the last three weeks. Here’s how Kyle Shanahan answered that question yesterday.
“He’s been a big part of our offense, but I think we’re in a spot right now that we can overcome that. Aiyuk’s been stepping it up each week doing better. You guys see Jauan coming along. I’d love to give Travis Benjamin more opportunities having his speed out there. Kittle’s getting healthier and better each week...and our run game has been doing better, too.”
I don’t think there are many people out there clamoring for more Travis Benjamin in their lives, but there’s no question Kittle and Aiyuk are going to have to step it up until Deebo returns. Aiyuk, in particular, has been coming on as of late, gaining at least 85 receiving yards in three of his past four games. We’ll see if he can maintain that level of production now that he won’t have Samuel demanding most of the attention from opposing secondaries.
I also love the way he casually mentions the running game at the end of this answer. Yes, Kyle, I’d say 125 rushing attempts and 535 yards in your last three games would constitute “better” for the ground game.
We’ll see if the 49ers have the right post-Deebo plan in place next week when the team travels to Seattle to take on Russell Wilson and the Seahawks.
Make sure you check out today’s full 49ers in Five podcast. You’ll get updates on all the injuries coming out of the Vikings game and the most honest answer yet from Kyle Shanahan about why he hasn’t used Trey Lance. It’s available for you on this page and everywhere you get your podcasts.