What 49ers' Danny Gray is focused on to prepare for when opportunity knocks

What 49ers' Gray is focused on to prepare when opportunity knocks originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

SANTA CLARA -- 49ers receiver Danny Gray has yet to catch his first NFL pass, but the rookie believes his time is coming.

The speedy wide receiver has been on the field for 33 offensive snaps over five games and has been targeted six times. On Monday, Gray spoke to NBC Sports Bay Area and shared how the importance of the little details in Kyle Shanahan’s offensive system was a bit of a surprise.

“Most definitely,” Gray said on Monday. “Coming to the league, you kind of knew that you had to be on your details. Everything matters. How you come off the ball, how you take the first step.”

The Southern Methodist product can’t wait to be a game-changing part of the 49ers’ offense but understands putting in the work is necessary for his adjustment to the NFL. Gray has realized that while in college, little mistakes didn’t have as big of an impact as they do at the next level.

How all 11 players on the field affect each other has been an eye-opener for Gray, who hauled in 82 catches for 1,251 yards and 13 touchdowns in his two seasons as a Mustang. Now, the wideout believes putting in the work every day is helping him realize his goals.

“It’s not very complicated, but you do have to sit down and look over it every day,” Gray said of Shanahan’s playbook. “Even when you think you’ve got it, you still got to look over it because it can get challenging sometimes.

“I would say that the details are very important in this offense. Where to line up, where to be, how to run your routes, depth, all of that stuff. It’s very important. Everything plays off each other.”

Gray has looked to veteran Brandon Aiyuk for guidance on his NFL path. The third-year wideout not only leads the team with 38 catches for 483 yards and four touchdowns, but has been a great example for Gray on how to approach each day.

“B.A. has helped me a lot,” Gray said. “He has helped me run my routes, how to stay consistent, jumping off the ball. I watch him every day, I watch how he attacks the day I watch how he comes out to practice every day I watch how he keeps his mentals straight.”

Aiyuk’s adjustment to the NFL was delayed to his second season after being thrown into the fire his rookie year due to injuries at the wide receiver position. Gray hasn’t had the “tough love” conversations with Shanahan as Aiyuk did, but the rookie did share how the head coach can be tough on his players.

“He is because he just wants the best out of us and he wants us to be the best in the league,” Gray said. “That’s what he wants from us and that’s what we want from ourselves. There’s no shortcuts. It’s really just getting out there and doing our jobs.”

As much as Gray wants to get on the field and make an impact, the rookie understands the work he must put into practice and play consistently. Gray knows the 49ers will eventually be able to take advantage of his 4.33-second 40-yard dash speed.

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“It’s really just sitting back, just waiting for my turn,” Gray said.” I know I have a lot of talented guys in front of me right now. There are lot of talented guys I can learn from, help me elevate my game, take my game to another level.

"It’s just about sitting back and being patient.”

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