The San Francisco 49ers sent a blunt message to the young wide receiver, Brandon Aiyuk, but how can they get the right response on the field?
“We are not impressed, and you need to impress us.”
When general manager John Lynch said he needed more “urgency” from Aiyuk, it offered a clue about the state of Aiyuk’s game time.
Namely, yes, he was in the doghouse all along. Go figure.
Not all is lost for Aiyuk, however. Lynch, in the very same interview, threw his support fully behind Aiyuk explaining that even he, a former safety who’s now enshrined in Canton, took until his third year to be a starter in his career.
And there is no doubt the Niners offense is spluttering along right now under the weight of injuries to several running backs and an uncertain time in the quarterback department, too.
In short, San Francisco needs Aiyuk to contribute in a big way to have a shot to get back into playoff contention. The team isn’t in a diabolical state, with two close losses to very good teams in the Green Bay Packers and Arizona Cardinals, showing that even wounded there is some fight in this team.
And also, keep in mind the 49ers are trying to develop a rookie quarterback in Trey Lance this season, who has had little chance to develop a rapport with Aiyuk.
How 49ers can get Brandon Aiyuk more involved
But how does the team get Aiyuk back in the fold? The easiest way would be to give him some of the responsibility we see the team give star wide receiver Deebo Samuel with his ability to run reverses or be the recipient of small tap passes.
Aiyuk has a similar skill set to Samuel, so this isn’t a stretch for the Niners to do. Aiyuk had a tough time of it this season with a hamstring injury hampering his ability to practice in the preseason, and sometimes you just need to give a player the ball to get his confidence back up.
And it should be said in the defense of Aiyuk, the few times he has had the ball in his hands, he has flashed that ability.
San Francisco needs more out of Aiyuk, and that’s fair enough, but the team has to meet him halfway and give him the means to give them more.
The sooner the better as well, or else the 49ers may run out of time to get back into playoff contention for 2021. With the bye week behind them, perhaps they’ve developed some tricks now to finally get him involved.