The 49ers have dealt with some notable shortcomings over the first three weeks of 2021, and these five players aren’t proving to be helping.
Three weeks into the 2021 season, the San Francisco 49ers have shown some noticeable trends en route to their 2-1 record.
While the distressing and heartbreaking Sunday Night Football loss to the Green Bay Packers was a bit of an eye-opener, it’s still far too soon to fully panic. After all, there are plenty of other sub-.500 teams across the league that would happily trade places with the Niners right now.
Yes, there have been plenty of positives over these three weeks. Wide receiver Deebo Samuel has carried the passing game, and rookie cornerback Deommodore Lenoir has showcased some real promise despite taking some lumps in Week 3. Stalwarts like left tackle Trent Williams and EDGE Nick Bosa have been difference-makers, too.
At the same time, though, there have been a number of underachievers and disappointments this season, especially among those who were expected to provide a substantial impact early on this season.
Here are five players who are falling well short of expectations thus far.
No. 5: 49ers Running Back Trey Sermon
On one hand, rookie running back Trey Sermon hasn’t enjoyed the context of having a top-level run-blocking offensive line this year. The O-line has performed well enough in pass protection, but the opportunities for a dynamic rushing offense haven’t quite materialized yet.
That said, Sermon was anticipated as a potential bell-cow running back right out of the gate, except he failed to seize that chance even after San Francisco lost No. 1 running back Raheem Mostert to a season-ending knee injury.
Sermon found himself buried behind other rushers, JaMycal Hasty and fellow rookie Elijah Mitchell, only getting increased looks when those two also suffered injury setbacks.
In Week 3, Sermon managed just 31 yards on 10 carries. And while he recorded his first NFL touchdown in the bout, averaging 3.1 yards per attempt likely suggests head coach Kyle Shanahan is more than eager to get both Hasty and Mitchell back from their injuries.
Their return, coupled with Jeff Wilson Jr. coming back from the PUP list, could easily push Sermon way back down the depth chart in the coming weeks.