Kyle Shanahan has issued a challenge to his wide receivers.
Though the 49ers won their opening exhibition game Saturday night, 17-9, San Francisco’s head coach wasn’t wowed by his pass catchers.
Rookies Deebo Samuel (two catches, 61 yards) and Jalen Hurd (three catches, 31) fared well in their pro debuts, but presumed starter Dante Pettis came up empty (on a night when most first-stringers didn’t even play), and Richie James, Kendrick Bourne and Jordan Matthews were inconsistent.
As the 49ers now enter a new week of training camp before their next game, a Monday night matchup Aug. 19 in Denver vs. the Broncos, Shanahan will be looking for his wide receivers to be more productive as they battle to win spots on the regular season roster. He also wants someone to emerge as the team's No. 1 wideout.
"Each guy is a little bit different, but we’ve got a bunch of guys who can play and I want someone to make the decision easy for us," Shanahan said on a conference call with the media Sunday. "I want someone to take the job and make it to where it’s extremely obvious. We haven’t had that yet. We have a bunch of young guys who are extremely hungry, and they are going for it. We’ve got some other guys who have been here who have also been that way, but I think guys are very even matched right now and I want someone to step it up.
"The rookies, they made some good plays … but they also weren’t very consistent, either. There’s lots of parts about their game that they have to clean up, and I thought it was very similar in the veterans, too. You expect the veterans to be out there making some plays like they did a few times, but they also made mistakes.
"I thought the whole group played decent, but we need to be a lot sharper all around."
Pettis, entering his second year, is seen as a potential star by some, but according to Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle, Pettis hasn’t been strong in battling defensive backs for contested catches in camp, and Shanahan has said it’s no lock Pettis will start.
That’s one reason Shanahan started Pettis Saturday night, to get him going.
But, it didn’t happen.
"Dante’s got a lot of room to grow," Shanahan told Branch. "He can still get a lot better, and so can a lot of other guys."