49ers wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk has had an underwhelming start to the season. After an excellent rookie year, Aiyuk came into 2021 with high expectations. The start to his sophomore campaign, though, has gotten off to a slow start. Through two games, he’s hauled in just one reception for six yards.
Aiyuk’s absent production has generated plenty of speculation and confusion about his place on the 49ers roster. Head coach Kyle Shanahan has insisted that he remains confident in the 2020 first-round pick, but plenty of skepticism has continued permeating after back-to-back quiet performances.
The 49ers started offseason acquisition (and preseason standout), Trent Sherfield over Aiyuk in Week 1. Shanahan cited Aiyuk’s preseason hamstring injury and Sherfield’s breakout as a confluence of factors that led to the move. While it didn’t get nearly as much attention as his benching, Aiyuk quietly rejoined the starting lineup in Week 2 but only received two targets.
There’s been speculation that Shanahan has been disappointed by Aiyuk’s performances in practice recently, but when asked about it in his weekly press conference on Wednesday, he heaped praise onto the Arizona State alum.
“Honestly, he [Brandon Aiyuk] does a great job in practice every day. He brings it, right attitude, right mindset. I think it’s honestly just a matter of time. I know there’s a lot of panic in the air, but if you were at practice every day consistently and you saw what he could do. It’s really one of those things that, one week it’s this guy’s game, the next week it’s another’s. That’s just kind of how the offense goes. But I think it’s truly just a matter of time.”
49ers fans, and Brandon Aiyuk fantasy owners, hope that Shanahan’s praise turns into a big game soon.