SF 49ers offense can be dominant with Deebo Samuel, Brandon Aiyuk

Deebo Samuel #19 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
Deebo Samuel #19 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) /

The SF 49ers are yet to see what their offense could look like with both Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk, but the potential is extreme.

For whatever the reasons, the SF 49ers somehow managed to have the No. 14 overall passing offense in the league despite missing their starting quarterback, Jimmy Garoppolo, for six total quarters and being without tight end George Kittle for two games.

Additionally, head coach Kyle Shanahan’s squad has yet to field its best two wide receivers, Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk, on the field at the same time.

Samuel is poised to work his way back from the offseason foot injury suffered last summer, while the rookie, Aiyuk, enjoyed his breakout game in the Niners’ Week 3 win over the New York Giants, putting up a team-best five catches for 70 yards and adding another 31 rush yards, plus a touchdown, on the ground.

In many ways, Aiyuk resembled Samuel during his own rookie season in 2019, namely with this 19-yard end-around rush for the score:


Aside from the year and the player numbers, it’s almost hard to differentiate the two when looking at one of Samuel’s end-around touchdowns from Week 17 last season:

Samuel posted on his Instagram account being ready to rejoin the team after spending the first three weeks on short-term injured reserve. There isn’t exactly much he needs to catch up on, aside from getting his proverbial “football legs” back under him.

While that could take a bit of time, the fact the SF 49ers are slated to play the winless Philadelphia Eagles in Week 4 opens up the door for a potential Samuel-Aiyuk pairing for the first time.


Kyle Shanahan and the SF 49ers ‘positionless’ offense

Back in 2019, Niner Noise’s Akshaj Dwivedula broke down how Shanahan was looking to create a “positionless” offense consisting of wide receivers who can rush, rushers who can catch the ball and uber-offensive weapons, such as fullback Kyle Juszczyk, who can do a bit of everything.

Samuel proved that value already last season. While it’s just one week’s worth of solid evidence, Aiyuk is showing he has that versatility, too.

Kittle adds another wrinkle in the mix, serving as one of the best blocking tight ends in the league to go along with his already-established pass-catching skills. Combine that with the innovative and intricate formations, misdirections, pre-snap motions and the like the Niners call while on offense, it’s not hard to imagine how opponents’ defenses can get dizzy preparing for what they’ll face.

Trying to lock down Kittle should still be any defense’s top priority, yes. In theory, this would pull at least one linebacker and one safety in coverage, opening up chances for either Samuel or Aiyuk to experience single-man coverage essentially on any play, as long as defenses aren’t playing big-nickel formations.

For now, one might assume Samuel would see a lot more double coverage than Aiyuk, which opens up things more for the rookie.

Just like now-New Orleans Saints wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders did for Samuel last year, leading to the latter’s 802 receiving-yard campaign.

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Regardless how that pans out, the idea is Shanahan will finally have his major one-two punch at wide receiver, also helping and being assisted by Kittle.

From there, San Francisco’s passing offense should fly.