49ers’ Ji’Ayir Brown Breaks Silence After Getting Benched

San Francisco 49ers safety Ji'Ayir Brown

Getty San Francisco 49ers safety Ji'Ayir Brown

At this point in the season, the San Francisco 49ers can’t afford mistakes and that’s why they’ve benched safety Ji’Ayir Brown. It’s somewhat harsh on the rookie, but Logan Ryan’s boatload of experience is something San Francisco is going to lean into.

This week, Brown gave his take on the matter. While he makes it clear he’s not happy with being benched, he also expresses an understanding.

“I got a pretty good understanding of what was going on,” Brown said to reporters on January 25. “I’m all for the team. What Kyle [Shanahan] thinks is best, I’m going to go with it. Whether I agree with it or not, I understand it. And me, personally, I didn’t agree with it, but I understood Kyle, and I understand the mission of this team. And as long as we can get the win, and however I can help the team out, I’m all good.”

Brown missed the final two regular season games due to a knee injury and only just got back to full health the week of the NFC Divisional Round. After impressing enough to earn 5 starts in the regular season, the 2023 third-round pick’s chances of getting another start against the Detroit Lions seems unlikely.

Kyle Shanahan Speaks on Decision

When 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan was asked about the decision, it’s clear he only benched Brown due to his inexperience and injury recovery. Shanahan and San Francisco know what it takes to win playoff games, which is why they went with a veteran like Ryan over the rookie.

“We knew that we kind of decided that when Ji’Ayir [Brown] had missed about four weeks,” Shanahan said on January 25. “I think it was two games, but he had been out four weeks. He’s been awesome in practice. I love Ji’Ayir. It has nothing to do with him. Just our experience of playoff games being around us.”

There’s plenty to be optimistic about with Brown, considering he’s already pulled down two interceptions. But having just five starts and 15 total appearances coming into the playoffs isn’t ideal.

Shanahan’s goal is to avoid throwing Brown into the deep end, and it makes sense. With one of the deepest rosters in the NFL, it’s not necessary. With that said, the logic likely won’t make Brown feel better about being on the sidelines.

49ers HC Undecided

Ryan got the starting nod last weekend for the 49ers, but it’s not a guarantee that he will start the NFC Championship. During the January 25 press conference, Shanahan called on Ryan to improve his tackling.

“I would say overall we all have to improve on the run, and I know we point out Logan,” Shanahan said. “[Ryan] has to improve on his tackling as we know. He’s going to get better with that. Ji’Ayir is still in the mix. We’ll see exactly how it goes this week and exactly how much he’s going to play. If he will play, if he will start or whatnot, we don’t know. That’s still an ongoing process right now.”

Who gets the nod for Sunday’s contest will be a major talking point coming up to the game. It’s two completely different methodologies, but it will be down to Shanahan to make the decision.