49ers' Jimmy Garoppolo: It's 'Just a Matter of Time' Until Brandon Aiyuk Produces

Doric SamSeptember 23, 2021

San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk (11) runs with the ball during the second half of an NFL football game against the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday, Sept. 19, 2021, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
AP Photo/Matt Slocum

San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk made a big splash as a rookie in 2020 with 60 receptions and five touchdowns. But he has been nearly nonexistent in the 49ers' first two games of the 2021 season with just one catch for six yards.

Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo isn't concerned, saying he believes it's inevitable Aiyuk will return to form.

"Honestly, he does a great job in practice every day," Garoppolo told reporters Wednesday. "He brings it—the right attitude, the right mindset. I think it's honestly just a matter of time."

A first-round draft pick in 2020, Aiyuk has been targeted just twice this season, with both coming in the 49ers' Week 2 win over the Philadelphia Eagles. Garoppolo believes Aiyuk's lack of production is a result of an offensive scheme that's predicated on spreading the ball around.

"If you were at practice every day consistently, and you saw what he can do, it’s really one of those things that one week it’s this guy’s game and next week, it’s another," Garoppolo said. "That’s just kind of how the offense goes."

Receiver Deebo Samuel has dominated the target share through two games with 20. No other player on the team has more than 10 targets, including 2019 All-Pro tight end George Kittle, who is second on the team with nine.

Aiyuk has been splitting time with fourth-year receiver Trent Sherfield, who is one of three players on the team to catch a touchdown pass. 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan said prior to Week 2 that Aiyuk's preseason hamstring tweak and Sherfield's training camp emergence were the reasons for the shared snaps.

Aiyuk will look to bounce back in Sunday night's matchup against the Green Bay Packers. It won't be easy, however, as the Packers rank seventh in the NFL in pass defense at 193.5 yards per game.