Deebo Samuel will be out against Seattle on Sunday.
It is a loss that will certainly sting the 49ers. It won't be easy, but overcoming his loss, at least against the Seahawks, is manageable.
Ultimately, it all comes down to other role players being able to step up. Not everything will be on Kyle Shanahan to mask and create the production that Samuel was making. One player who will have a prime opportunity is Jauan Jennings.
The second-year wideout has been rising up the ranks these last few games. With Samuel out, the demand for Jennings to produce will be higher. And with that demand, a chance to establish himself.
Jennings can solidify himself in the No. 3 receiver role against the Seahawks.
The increase in usage for Jennings has scaled higher and higher since Mohamed Sanu sustained an injury. And now that Samuel is out, Jennings has a chance to make the most of his opportunities. If he does and makes a sizeable impact, that will only earn his trust further with Shanahan. Anytime there is a chance for a player to step up, Shanahan gravitates towards that player. He admires when a player reaches out and seizes the chance.
This is Jennings' chance right now that they are without their star offensive player. He can certainly do some damage against a putrid Seattle defense. And it is not like he is going to receive much attention. That will be reserved for Brandon Aiyuk and George Kittle. Everything is setup for Jennings to settle himself in as the No. 3 wideout. Even when Sanu returns, I doubt he kicks Jennings off of that role.
"He's getting his number called more because he got an opportunity when Sanu got hurt," said Shanahan. "So that's made him out there a lot more and you call certain play, you get certain coverages and then that game after we hit that third-and-13, they didn't blitz the rest of the game on third down. And when you don't blitz, it’s a lot easier to cover Kittle and Deebo out over the middle.
"And a number of those, twice in particular, two of the ones you mentioned, lead to Jauan getting it on the outside. You don't just call it saying, ‘Hey, you're going to Jauan.’ You call it to put guys in the right spot. And then you have to see what defense they're playing. But we’ve believed in Jauan, we've been hoping he would come on and string some more weeks together where he'd stay healthy and get more consistent. And I think that's really been picking up here this last month in, he's definitely taken advantage of his opportunity."
Jennings certainly has taken advantage each and every game his number has been called. Now he will need to take advantage of one more opportunity. This time it has long-term rewards for him.