49ers OC says Aiyuk has responded well after limited action

Brandon Aiyuk

WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W.Va. -- Brandon Aiyuk, who now is practicing at full health, is responding well to the challenge set forth by the 49ers. 

On Thursday, offensive coordinator Mike McDaniel shared how pleased he is by what he has seen from the Aiyuk after his snap counts were limited. Aiyuk and Trent Sherfield split reps in the 49ers' 41-33 win over the Detroit Lions, but the Arizona State product wasn't targeted. 

This is a stark contrast to Aiyuk’s rookie season where he led the team in receiving yards (748 total) and was targeted at minimum twice in all 12 games he appeared in. While it has been weeks since the receiver was limited in practice, McDaniel believes the 49ers did Aiyuk right by slow playing his return from a hamstring issue.

“B.A. has done an outstanding job this week answering the bell,” McDaniel said. “What’s been cool is watching a young guy who has always been so talented at every level, who has always been a default starter regardless -- because he’s better than everyone -- handle a small obstacle in his career.” 

Sherfield has emerged as reliable target and walked away from Week 1 with two catches, one of them a touchdown thrown by Trey Lance. McDaniel and Kyle Shanahan alike have high expectations for Aiyuk, a former first-round pick, and hope to get him more involved in the coming weeks.

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“In house with the 49ers, it’s not like he is in the doghouse at all or anything,” McDaniel said. “But responding this week, he’s been running his routes hard, crisp and has gotten better.


"His practice has been very encouraging.” 

Aiyuk could see more playing time Sunday in the 49ers' matchup in Philadelphia if this upward trend continues. The game itself will include its own challenges, namely facing Eagles cornerback Darius Slay. 

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