SF 49ers wide receiver Dante Pettis has a chance to win his job back with some perseverance and determination.
The SF 49ers are hurting in the wide receiver department. It seems every day brings a new name to the injury board and the roster. However, there’s one guy who’s been working his tail off since the offseason and is proving he deserves a spot on the starting roster: wide receiver Dante Pettis.
SF 49ers fans are all aware of Pettis’ story. He was expected to take a huge jump in the right direction but found himself tumble down the depth chart and off the radar when Super Bowl 54 arrived.
Pettis said in a recent media availability not being active for the biggest game of the year was “kind of like the final straw.”
Now, Pettis is in a good position as training camp winds down to its final days. Over the last few weeks, many reports on his practices have been mainly positive. The 49ers also have an injury list starting to pile up with a few wide receivers, which will give Pettis a chance to prove to head coach Kyle Shanahan he belongs.
In the past few days, there have been talks about Pettis starting the season as a punt returner. In his college days at the University of Washington, Pettis was one of the country’s best returners. He averaged more than 14 yards per return and sketched his name into the college record books with nine punt return touchdowns.
His transition to the NFL hasn’t been the best in the special teams game but if Shanahan still believes in the kid, so should SF 49ers fans.
In a piece by NBC Sports Matt Maiocco, he shares a quote from Shanahan on Dante Pettis:
"“When he came in, I saw him right away and we had a chance to talk,” Shanahan said on Thursday. “And you could just tell his mindset, and how his body was, that he spent time away from us doing everything he could to put himself in a position to make this team and be as successful as he can be.”"
It appears Pettis could be a strong option through the middle of the defense. In one practice he had five catches across the middle, which he seemed reluctant doing last season. If he’s able to utilize the middle, absorb the big hit and hang on to the football, he can easily become one of quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo’s favorite targets.
There were signs of brilliance early last year with the soon to the 25-year-old receiver. His best touchdown was against the Pittsburgh Steelers in the third game of the season. With his team being down a field goal with just over a minute left in the game, Pettis pulled in the game-winning touchdown in double coverage:
This kept the SF 49ers win streak going.
Pettis’ success will be determined by himself. Mentally he needs to brush off any negative thoughts he has or even reads on social media. If he believes in himself mentally, things will change on the field.
Which leads to his performance every game day. When his number is called, he must produce. There will be drops, fumbles, and miscues. He’s not perfect. But he’ll need to make sure he catches more than the drops. Touchdowns are great, but it’ll be what can he do without the football which will set himself up for greater success.
It looks like Pettis has everyone, including Shanahan, on his side. Everyone wants to see him be the best version of himself. He had an off-year in 2019 but Pettis will prove all the doubters wrong and have himself a career year.