And that particular person? The head coach who helped draft him in 2020 Kyle Shanahan.
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Despite the slow start, plus despite 49ers general manager John Lynch proclaiming in a October 13 radio interview with KNBR 680 AM that Aiyuk isn’t making strides, Shanahan told the Bay Area media on Wednesday that he’s clearly not ready to bail out on the second-year wide receiver just yet.
“I want Aiyuk to keep getting better,” Shanahan said. “I don’t think he’s quite back to where he was last year. And I expected him to be better this year than last year. I think he’s still trying to get back to that point, which I think he’s closer to that point right now than he was a couple of weeks ago because he has been working hard and trying to get there. And if he keeps doing that I believe things will get better for him and us.”
It’s certainly quite the contrast from what Shanahan previously said about Aiyuk just three days prior:
Are Trade Talks Heating up?
Next Tuesday is the final deadline to make an NFL trade, and teams have until 1 p.m. PT to make a deal to improve their roster.
There are outlets that believe Aiyuk needs a change of scenery considering how his production has diminished from a year ago. Touchdown Wire on USA Today listed Aiyuk as the lone 49er who the team should trade in their Wednesday, October 27 article.
Meanwhile on Twitter, there has been trade suggestions floating around, like this one from Mat Harrison of KFAN 100.3 FM in Minnesota:
Then there’s this idea that involves the Miami Dolphins:
Lastly, ESPN Des Moines radio personality Mike Wickett hopes to see the NFL team that’s 434 miles Northeast of the Iowa city add Aiyuk to the offense.
Notable Change With Aiyuk in Practice
Perhaps to some, not many will focus nor care about who goes first during individual wide receiver drills. As it is, Deebo Samuel leads the WR unit there as he’s the first in line to execute the drills.
However, there was no Samuel as he was resting a calf injury.
And guess who took over in being first in line?
David Lombardi of The Athletic was another who noticed the change during Wednesday’s practice and captured some drills on his You Tube channel.
Yes, it’s only practice and Samuel is out for one day only. But could this mean that the 49ers secretly want to see how Aiyuk leads this WR group? And is it also an attempt to boost his confidence again and let him know he’s capable of being the guy?
Either way, the 49ers will be aiming to see the numbers go up for Aiyuk as he only has caught 9 footballs for 96 yards and has scored once in six games played. That means he’s only averaging 1.5 catches per game for 16 yards. And, via Pro Football Focus, the 23-year-old has seen a decrease in snaps from the 60 plays he had in Week 3 against the Green Bay Packers.
But now, the man who said Aiyuk needs to step up three days before the ‘Niners returned to practice has the belief that he can get better.