Aiyuk had a solid rookie season and appeared to be in line for an expanded role in the offense in 2021. In Week 1 though, it didn’t happen, as the 2020 first-round pick played only 15 snaps in a win over Detroit.
“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, alluding to the hamstring issue that hampered Aiyuk this summer.
While Shanahan did make note of the injury, his second remark had people wondering if Aiyuk was in the doghouse because of his play. But that’s not the case, according to offensive coordinator Mike McDaniel.
On Thursday, McDaniel said the team has simply been cautious in bringing Aiyuk back from injury and expect him to be fully healthy moving forward.
“In-house with the 49ers, it’s not like he’s in the dog house or anything,” 49ers offensive coordinator Mike McDaniel said of Brandon Aiyuk.
McDaniel says the 49ers tried to progressively take their time with Aiyuk’s return from hammy and now Aiyuk is fully back
— David Lombardi (@LombardiHimself) September 16, 2021
Aiyuk did not register a reception in the season opener. Meanwhile, wideout Deebo Samuel exploded for 189 yards and a touchdown on nine catches.
Unheralded offseason free agent signing Trent Sherfield added two receptions for 23 yards and another score, while veteran Mohamed Sanu Sr. caught one pass for seven yards.
We’ll see if Aiyuk sees his opportunities increase this Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles.