SF 49ers vs. NY Jets: 5 Week 2 X-factors for Kyle Shanahan

Head coach Kyle Shanahan of the San Francisco 49ers. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
Head coach Kyle Shanahan of the San Francisco 49ers. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images) /
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Mohamed Sanu, Jaquiski Tartt, Atlanta Falcons, SF 49ers
Mohamed Sanu #12 of the Atlanta Falcons tackled by Jaquiski Tartt #29 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

No. 2: How much will SF 49ers wide receiver corps bounce back?

Four receptions from the SF 49ers wide receivers in Week 1. Four. That’s it.

Yes, the Niners were without top wideouts Deebo Samuel (foot) and Brandon Aiyuk (hamstring) against the Cardinals, leaving Dante Pettis and Kendrick Bourne as the team’s two starters here. Even under the best of circumstances, that’s not a favorable outlook for Kyle Shanahan’s offense.

And it showed.

Aiyuk is hopeful to return versus the Jets, and that’s good. But it’s important to note he’s a rookie who has yet to play his first regular-season snap at the NFL level. An abbreviated offseason amid the global pandemic, as well as him suffering his hamstring injury in the middle of training camp, will certainly hinder his immediate development.

So it makes sense why San Francisco brought aboard a former Shanahan understudy, veteran wide receiver Mohamed Sanu, to provide some veteran’s experience and offensive firepower.

Sanu, 31 years old, was used as a big slot during Shanahan’s 2016 campaign with the Atlanta Falcons, and the former achieved some success here before flaming out with the New England Patriots late in 2019 and failing to make the cut in 2020.

In most cases, Sanu would be expected to provide mere depth at a position in need of it.

For Week 2, however, the 49ers need Sanu to quickly acclimate and become a worthy commodity for a positional group having more questions right now than any other unit on the Niners roster.