BOARDMAN, Ohio — 49ers' second-year receiver Dante Pettis was only on the field for two snaps in the team's 31-17 win over the Buccaneers on Sunday, and coach Kyle Shanahan admitted that was a slight oversight on his part.
Looking at the snap count, it would appear that rookie Deebo Samuel and veteran Marquise Goodwin had been tapped for the starting roles, but Shanahan said that is not the case.
“It’s definitely not Deebo’s job,” Shanahan said. “It’s not anyone’s right now. That's something I kind of talked about all preseason. No one has really taken that role. Dante had a set back with his groin injury where he missed some time in practice. That gave him a little set back leading into Week 1 which made it easier for Deebo to start over him.
"We went in knowing Deebo was going to get more playing time but I definitely didn’t only plan on Dante only getting two reps. He should have been in more than that and that starts with me and I’ll make sure to not let that happen again.”
Here are the wide receiver snap counts against the Bucs:
Deebo Samuel 60
Marquise Goodwin 50
Richie James 26
Kendrick Bourne 17
Dante Pettis 2
Each of the young receivers has flashed during training camp and the preseason, making standout plays. The word that Shanahan has emphasized, however, is consistency. He has been waiting for someone in the group to emerge as a consistent playmaker.
Shanahan might be concerned about the performance of his young receiving group but he isn’t concerned about their potential. He also knows it’s his job, along with the coaching staff, to bring the best out in his players.
“What I’m excited about is that I know we have the answers in our building and it’s taken us a while to do that,” Shanahan said. “But we have guys that are young. We have guys that are very young. We also have guys that are injured so we are working through that right now which is always concerning.
“Whenever you have a young group, you got to play young guys but you don’t want to put that pressure on those guys who aren’t quite ready. We dealt with that years previously also.”
Most players, including tight end George Kittle receiver Trent Taylor, have spoken about how it can take a full season to wrap your head around Shanahan’s complex offensive playbook. While they are able to get onto the field and make some plays, inevitable mistakes eventually occur. Taylor had become a go-to target for Jimmy Garoppolo before being sidelined with a foot injury.
"I feel that way about our rookies that we’ve added, but they are rookies also, and if we can get some of these guys back healthy that will help,” Shanahan said. “I don’t feel like we have to go outside or anything like that so we have to continue testing these guys real hard, putting pressure on them and we need them to respond.”
“I get to see these guys everyday I get to talk to them all the time, I really believe we have the right men in our room. We have guys that can handle coaching, that work hard and this is important to them. And they know that I’m going to be testing them but it’s because I believe in them. We need them to come through, and I know they will.”