NFC Notes: Brandon Aiyuk, 49ers, Cardinals, Seahawks


49ers HC Kyle Shanahan has noticed that WR Brandon Aiyuk is doing what he needs to in order to improve ahead of the upcoming season.

“He’s developing in all the stuff he needed to do to get better,” Shanahan said, via Pro Football Talk. “He comes off the ball every play, he runs full speed every play, he’s not slow-playing stuff anymore. He’s not sitting there and fighting with guys with his hands. He’s doing it with his feet, with his hips, creating edges by running, breaking down. If you want to get open in this league, you have to be so violent in how you run and put your knees into the ground and everything. And that’s hard on guys a lot. They do that like three days in a row, and sometimes they have to take a week off. That’s why it’s so crucial how these guys prepare. And it’s hard when we’re not around him, but B.A., he did it all when he was away from us, he did it all throughout OTAs and his body can handle everything he’s doing and that’s why he is getting better right now.”

  • Aiyuk on his fight with LB Fred Warner last week: “When you watch the tape and see the 49ers play, no one’s backing down to anybody. At the end of the day, that’s my brother, when we get back in the locker room and when we leave here. We’ve moved on.” (Cam Inman)


Cardinals RB Eno Benjamin said he’s feeling a lot of confidence going into the third year of his career and thinks the game “has slowed down for me.”

“My confidence is through the roof,” Benjamin said, via Aaron Decker of FanNation. “It’s Year 3, I felt like a lot more has slowed down for me.”

Cardinals HC Kliff Kingsbury praised Benjamin for progressively improving throughout his career. 

“Early on, I didn’t know if he could figure it out. Professionalism and work ethic and understanding his role,” Kingsbury said. “Each year he has gotten progressively better and [is] always upbeat and always into it, knowing his assignments. He’s just really come a long way.”

Benjamin credits his improvement to understanding that he must stay consistent.

“I would say consistency, having good days and having bad days,” Benjamin said. “I would say being able to be consistent and them knowing what they’re going to get from me on an every-day basis.”


Hitting on cornerbacks in the late rounds was a big part of what fueled the Seahawks’ success in the last decade. As they hit the reset button, there are some early signs they may have done it again. It’s obviously too soon to know, but fourth-round CB Coby Bryant and fifth-round CB Tariq Woolen don’t look out of place so far in camp. 

“Those two guys, they’ve been doing it,” Seahawks HC Pete Carroll said via the Athletic’s Michael-Shawn Dugar. “The way they make their plays, the way they play the game, it’s totally different. But they uniquely have qualities that are really, really exciting.”

Bryant won the Thorpe Award as the nation’s best defensive back, but might have been overshadowed by fellow Cincinnati CB Ahmad Gardner who went in the top five to the Jets. He has a legitimate chance to start in Week 1. 

“Coby has been all over the place,” Carroll said. “He’s made plays in the running game, the passing game. He’s been very effective. He’s doing well. Shows a lot of flexibility and a lot of poise. I’m not at all concerned about him playing a bunch.”

Woolen has come along a little slower than Bryant, but at 6-4 and 210 pounds with tremendous athleticism, he looks like he was designed in a lab to be a Seahawks corner. 

“Tariq has been really, really impressive in that he’s been so consistent against our fastest guys,” Carroll said. “He’s been able to hold up. He’s had a lot of reps with Marquise (Goodwin) and I respect the work he’s gotten down there. Deep balls and stuff on the sidelines, he’s done a nice job.”

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