WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, WV. — Like most people who watched the 49ers' Week 1 win in Detroit, Brandon Aiyuk was surprised at his lack of involvement in the game plan.
On Friday, the 2020 first-round pick revealed that he has not been on social media for a while and thus didn’t know how much his lack of targets in the 49ers' 41-33 win over the Lions was being discussed.
It was the experience alone that motivated Aiyuk to refocus in preparation for the 49ers' Week 2 game vs. the Philadelphia Eagles.
“Definitely [surprised], but that was last week,” Aiyuk said. “Not really focused on that anymore. Another task at hand this week. Worried about that more than anything.”
Aiyuk, who had a standout rookie season, leading the team in receiving yards, is taking his lack of targets and decreased snap count to heart. The wake-up call has the receiver refocused and ready for the club’s match-up with the Eagles on Sunday.
Aiyuk has taken the time to focus on improving himself. This not only includes time on the practice field but in building a routine for himself as a football player, including his recovery after practice and games.
Fellow wide receiver Deebo Samuel went through the same learning curve in his first two NFL seasons and Aiyuk has taken the time to learn from Samuel and Trent Sherfield alike. Now feeling 100 percent healthy, Aiyuk is set to improve his game at every level, from route-running to recovery.
“Being clean and what I have to do in my assignment,” Aiyuk said. “Controlling what I can control, effort, everything about myself really. That’s the main thing.”
Aiyuk has leaned on his teammates to help him get through the growing pains of that start of his second NFL season, and also sees a silver lining in what has transpired so far.
“I’ve already started to understand in this league that it’s never a steady path to the top,” Aiyuk said. “You’re going to have really high moments, low moments. I think it’s all about how you refocus, rebalance and get back on track afterwards.
“That’s how I look at it, as an opportunity as extra motivation to come back out here and get refocused, back in line and continue to move forward.”