Outside of injuries to Raheem Mostert and Jason Verrett, the biggest storyline coming out of the 49ers' 41-33 win over the Detroit Lions in Week 1 was Brandon Aiyuk's lack of targets.
The second-year receiver saw his playing time trimmed in Week 1 and was not targeted during the win. Coach Kyle Shanahan pointed to the hamstring injury Aiyuk recently recovered from and Trent Sherfield's rise as reason for the decision.
Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo knows Aiyuk is a special talent and isn't reading too much into the situation just one week in.
"It's one of those things where, with our offense, you see it every season, it's a week-by-week offense," Garoppolo told KNBR's "Murph and Mac" on Tuesday. "This Week 1 guy gets his number and the next week it's the other guy. It's just one of those things where we're only one week into this thing, and B.A. (Aiyuk), he had a hell of a training camp too. It didn't go unnoticed from the quarterbacks that's for sure. But, you know, it's just a matter of time. He is going to have his time when his number is called and I know B.A. is going to be ready. He always is."
On Monday, Shanahan elaborated on his decision to trim Aiyuk's playing time.
“I just think he has a better person behind him this year in training camp,” Shanahan said. “With Aiyuk missing some time and how well Trent Sherfield played, it wasn’t a very tough decision.
“When guys are rotating that much 50-50, I don’t really ask who is in. I’m good with either one of them getting the ball. Whoever is in there at the time, it doesn’t matter to me.”
Last season, Aiyuk caught 60 passes for 748 yards and five touchdowns and most believed he and Deebo Samuel would create a potent one-two punch at receiver in Shanahan's offense.
Aiyuk clearly has talent, but he appears to be in Shanahan's doghouse at the moment. Being a better run blocker will help him escape. That's how Kendrick Bourne went from doghouse inhabitant to third-down maestro. But Dante Pettis never got out.
With Sherfield playing well and proving reliable early on, the pressure is on Aiyuk to elevate his game if he wants to see the field more for the 2021 49ers.