SANTA CLARA – It was no reflection of what the 49ers think of rookie wide receiver Deebo Samuel when coach Kyle Shanahan said after Week 1 he wanted him on the field for fewer plays.
Samuel played 59 of the 49ers’ 68 offensive snaps against Tampa Bay. He caught three passes for 17 yards.
In the 49ers’ 41-17 win over the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday, Samuel played just 27 of the team’s 70 snaps. But his production increased significantly.
Samuel caught five of the seven passes quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo threw his way. The second-round draft pick from South Carolina accounted for 87 yards and a touchdown. Garoppolo likes what he has seen from the rookie.
“It’s moving in the right direction, especially when a guy ... he just has the right mindset on the field, you see it in the huddle, you see it in his eyes,” Garoppolo said. “The moment is not too big for him. So as a rookie, you’ve got to appreciate seeing that.
“He’s raw and has so much talent that we’ve got to bring out of him. He’s just moving in the right direction, so that’s the fun part.”
Samuel and Marquise Goodwin started the first two games for the 49ers. Dante Pettis and Goodwin shared the most playing time, with each playing 50 percent of the team’s snaps. Goodwin caught three passes for 77 yards, including a 38-yard touchdown. Pettis did not see a pass thrown his way, though he completed a 16-yard pass on a gadget play.
Pettis got off to a slow start in training camp and Shanahan repeatedly challenged him to show more urgency and step up his game. The former second-round pick said he feels good about the direction he is moving.
“I think I’m pretty much there,” Pettis said on The 49ers Insider Podcast. “It’s hard to tell, obviously, in the games, but I think in practices I’m not where I need to be, but I’m on my way.”