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Shanahan says 49ers WR Aiyuk had better week of practice

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PHILADELPHIA -- After a promising week of practice, 49ers wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk appears to be closer to reclaiming his anticipated role in the team’s offense.

“He’s a lot closer to getting to that spot than he was last week,” coach Kyle Shanahan said on 49ers Game Plan.

After a game in which he was not targeted with any passes and Trent Sherfield got more playing time than him, Aiyuk could return to a starting role Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles.

Aiyuk last season led the 49ers with 60 catches for 748 yards and five touchdowns.

But he got off to a rough start this summer in his first full training camp and missed time leading into the regular-season opener with a hamstring injury. Aiyuk expressed surprise about his limited role in Week 1, but Shanahan suggested his role will increase.

“He’ll get there,” Shanahan said. “I have full confidence in Brandon. He wants to get there, and I want him to get there. It’s a matter of time. He had a much better week this week than last week.”

A year ago, Aiyuk was essentially the only threat in the 49ers’ passing game for a good portion of the season. Deebo Samuel missed nine games due to injuries, and tight end George Kittle was out for eight games.

Shanahan said he believes this team has more depth, which made it harder for Aiyuk to reclaim his starting job.

 

Wide receiver Trent Sherfield saw more playing time than Aiyuk last week. He caught two passes for 23 yards, including a 5-yard touchdown reception from Trey Lance.

“Trent’s earned that throughout training camp,” Shanahan said.

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Shanahan said he has no second thoughts about how he handled the receiver rotation in Week 1 in the 49ers’ 41-33 victory over the Detroit Lions.

“I’m glad I did it that way,” he said. “I don’t think Aiyuk was totally ready to play the amount he had, and also Trent helps us. He’s a good player. That makes that decision a lot easier.

“If I didn’t have someone playing like Trent had been playing, I would have had to put Aiyuk out there a lot more and it’s my call, and I didn’t think he was quite ready for that. But I know it’s going the right direction.”

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