Pettis’ Lack of Production Has Put Him on Shaky Ground

Niners' second-year wide receiver appears to be losing the confidence of his head coach, which could lead to even fewer opportunities to play

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Time – and coaching patience – may be running out for Dante Pettis.

The 49ers’ second-year wide receiver had another disappointing game in Monday night’s overtime loss to the Seahawks, failing to catch a ball on three passes aimed in his direction, including a drop in overtime.

Though he came into this season healthy – after battling injuries as a rookie in 2018 – he has failed to take on a larger role in the passing game, and in many ways has regressed.

After catching 27 passes for 467 yards and five touchdowns in 12 games in 2018, he has just 11 catches for 109 yards and two TDs in nine games this season. His catch percentage has dropped from 60 percent a year ago to 45.8 percent, and his yards-per-target number has declined from 10.4 to 4.5.

Pettis played 30 snaps in Monday night’s loss, yet made no contributions. His drop in overtime helped kill a drive. The Seahawks quickly responded with a drive to a game-winning field goal.

This week, Niners head coach Kyle Shanahan – who was a big fan of Pettis’ coming out of college and advocated for the 49ers to draft him – sounded almost out of patience with Pettis.

"He’s had a number of opportunities," Shanahan told Matt Barrows of The Athletic. "And I’m one of the guys who believe in him the most. That’s why he’s here. He’s had his opportunities. The more he doesn’t take advantage of his opportunities, the less opportunities he gets."

As Patrick Holloway of SB Nation wrote this week, Pettis showed promise as a rookie, with great speed and athletic ability. But, he wrote, "Outside of a touchdown to beat the Pittsburgh Steelers, the only promise he’s shown is drops. Lots of drops. Drops that sometimes get the whole team into trouble."

Holloway suggests Pettis is in danger of being eventually traded or released if he doesn’t begin to produce in meaningful ways to help the 49ers offense. After Monday night, it may be hard for Pettis to get chances Sunday when San Francisco plays the Arizona Cardinals at Levi’s Stadium.

“We’ll see how this week goes,” Shanahan said. "Dante has the ability. But we’re waiting for him to pick it up and have the consistency and take advantage of some of these opportunities he’s gotten."

The 8-1 49ers play the 3-6-1 Cardinals at 1:05 p.m.

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