General Manager John Lynch and Head Coach Kyle Shanahan
General Manager John Lynch & Head Coach Kyle Shanahan
Press Conference – July 26, 2022
San Francisco 49ers
General Manager John Lynch: “We’ll start it off with some procedural lists as we head into camp as we know right now, not all the physicals have been done as of yet. There’s still some happening this afternoon, but [DL] Kalia Davis, our rookie from Central Florida, he’s going to be put on the NFI list. Same thing as PUP, it’s just that he did it in college, so it’s the procedure. The procedural listing is NFI, he’ll be on that list. [TE] Charlie Woerner will be on PUP. Charlie had a core muscle surgery earlier in the offseason, still recovering from that, I’m hopeful that he returns at some point during camp. And [CB] Jason Verrett will be on PUP with his knee, continuing to work his way back from that knee, but he’s making really good progress. All three of them are, but that’s what we have thus far. We’ll let you know if we add to that list going forward. We’ll open it up to questions.”
Is QB Jimmy Garoppolo cleared to play or to practice, or has he not had a physical?
JL: “Well, he had a good outside visit with his independent doctor. He’s one of the guys in the afternoon, so his physical will take place this afternoon. We had a good meeting with Jimmy this morning, Kyle and myself. And we had a really good discussion and the good news is he’s feeling great and doing a nice job with his throwing program, the ramp up part of that. And that’s exciting to hear.”
Is there an expectation he’ll go on PUP?
JL: “I don’t see it, but everything’s dictated by that physical.”
You’ve had conversations with him, has he at any point expressed a desire to just be released?
JL: “No, he hasn’t had that. I think we’ve had multiple discussions. Jimmy when he gets out of here, he’s out of here, so it wasn’t like we had ongoing conversations, but we spoke when he left and we had a pretty good understanding of what was going on and because of the surgery and the ramifications of that in other team’s eyes nothing’s transpired as of yet. But he’s here; he’s reported. We’ll see what happens in the physical and we’ll move forward accordingly.”
Do you expect him to be practicing or will you hold him out?
JL: “No, I think like any player, there’s always a reclamation to practice and all that. So there’s throwing to the side and ramping up and he’s still working on that.”
Head Coach Kyle Shanahan: “It was great to talk to him today. It’s always easier when you talk to the person, he got to talk to both of us, so just the three of us caught up on a lot of stuff. And I think all three of us are very much on the same page. Jimmy understands where we’re at. We understand where we’re at. I can’t tell you how appreciative I have been of Jimmy and him being here. And I’m so appreciative of what he did for us last year. I think Jimmy knew and we knew what move we made the year before on that. Jimmy did a hell of a job coming to camp and winning that job and taking us real close to the Super Bowl, but we have moved on to [QB] Trey [Lance]. We’re starting camp out this way. We think Jimmy would’ve been traded if the surgery didn’t happen and it did he needed to do it, so there’s no ill will there at all. But it’s good to see that he is healthy, but now it’s all just seeing how this will end up. All three of us are on the same page and we’ll always think about Jimmy. He knows we have a team to think about too, and we’ll work together to figure out the best thing for that. But in the meantime, he’s cleared to practice, but he does have a throwing program like all guys do when they get elbow or shoulder surgery, anything with your arm there’s a protocol in how you build them up, so they don’t reaggravate that, and he’ll be doing that on the side. We don’t plan on practicing him with the team. We’ll take it day-by-day and constantly talk with him and hopefully can figure out the best for both.”
Are you assuming that you’ll be able to trade him or do you feel that window was missed with the surgery?
KS: “I think it was made a lot harder with the surgery. I think that’s why everyone knows the situation we’re in. And we understand that, so we’re not trying to kid ourselves or play any game. I think the whole league understands that. But you also can’t just give one of the better quarterbacks in the league just to make him available for no reason to the whole world. And the good thing is you can have those conversations with Jimmy and he understands that too, so we’re going to try to do the best for both sides. But there’s things we have to work through. And it starts with getting the physical today by our doctors, which I expect that to go well, just like it did with his doctor. And then we’ll see how fast this goes.”
With another team, you’d want to be there sooner rather than later to start the season. Is there a date in mind, a deadline that he wants this done so that he can kind of start fresh with his new team?
KS: “Yeah, I think everybody wants everything as fast as possible. Everyone doesn’t like to be in the holding pattern. We don’t, he doesn’t, so yeah, as soon as we can, but that involves another team and it working out somewhere Jimmy wants to go. And hopefully with everyone being on the same page and open to all the dialogue and the same with other teams, hopefully that will happen sooner than later. I think that would be good for him and good for us.”
Are you comfortable waiting a while though? There seems to be some thought that his mere presence is going to be upsetting to Trey in some way. Are you fine with just seeing how this plays out for a little bit?
KS: “Well, I’m pretty comfortable because of how clear I just was with my words. This is Trey’s team and that’s nothing against Jimmy, we made that decision a year ago and we’re going with that and we’re not going to mess around with that anymore. And I don’t think we really have messed around with that much, but once we made that decision, we did. And Jimmy understands that fully. He’s a big guy and it’s nothing against him, either. That’s a business decision and that’s what makes it not awkward. Yeah, it’s tough but there’s contracts or stuff that you have to do. And that’s when I feel like we’re doing as good as we can and that’s possible because of the type of guy Jimmy is and the type of relationship we have and the circumstances. Everyone, I think if you look at it, you can see why it got to this with the surgery and when it happened and we understand it and it’ll take care of itself. But Jimmy knows we’re going with Trey. Trey knows we’re going with Trey and our team does. And everyone likes both the guys, so it is what it is.”
Where do things stand with WR Deebo Samuel right now?
JL: “We’ve had really productive and substantive talks. I don’t want to get everyone all excited that something’s imminent, because we’re not there yet, but I’m really hopeful that in the near future we’ll be able to you announce something that’s exciting for everyone involved. And so, that’s good. Deebo is here today and we’re excited about moving forward with him as part of this team.”
Do you expect him to practice before he signs or before you get something done?
JL: “We’re focused on getting something done. Deadlines, and there’s not a hard deadline, but deadlines have a way of spurring these things into action. And that’s like I said, we’ve had a number of productive talks and I’m hopeful that something’s going to happen here in the near future.”
It’s been reported that Trey Lance suffers from arm fatigue and one day he’ll throw a lot and the next day his arm will be so tired he won’t be able to throw at all. Is that accurate?
KS: “I think it happened one day in training camp last year, but that would be accurate with every quarterback I’ve ever coached. So yeah, guys get arm fatigue at times, but Trey’s arm was great throughout all of OTAs. It’s been great talking to him through the whole summer and I expect it to be the best that it’s looked tomorrow when we practice. But for a report to come out about a guy’s arm soreness, I get it. There could be a report about every quarterback I’ve ever coached though, too, but no, I think we’re alright with his arm soreness.”
Were there certain benchmarks with Trey that you saw either during his rookie season or at some points this offseason where you got to a point where, ‘okay, I do feel comfortable now giving him the team and making him the starting quarterback’?
KS: “Yeah, you’d always love to watch someone play 16 or 17 games, you’d know a lot more, but we studied the heck out of him in college. And then he had times in the first OTAs he got here and in the rookie mini-camp and in training camp where it’s like, ‘wow, this might come fast.’ And then you see the next day. It’s like, ‘alright, he is a rookie and he hasn’t gone through a lot.’ We saw that through the whole rookie year, the ups and downs and that’s what’s tough about some young guys playing because it’s tough to go through those ups and downs and win a lot of games. That’s why I thought it was great for him and for our team that he didn’t have to go through that. And we still had a pretty decent season. But this offseason, I think the most encouraging thing is you go through all the ups and downs, but he comes to OTA one and it was how he finished the OTAs. You throw a lot at it, you go through a whole thing of installation and where he was at the end, definitely not the finished product, but it was much further ahead than the beginning. And when you deal with a guy who’s got the ability and all eyes are on him and the pressure is on him, not just with you guys, but with teammates that’s what you want to see, him getting better as he gets the opportunities. And if he gets better as he gets opportunities, then you’re a hell of a lot more encouraged to give him a lot more opportunities.”
How do you want to coach him this camp in terms of if the play breaks down, do you want him to pass first and just thread it in there? Or do you want to see him take off running and use those legs out? We haven’t really– they’ve been under wraps basically for the last year to get some of that going?
KS: “I want him to do the best decision possible. And if the number two guy in the progression is wide open because they busted a coverage and he gets to there, I hope he hits number two. If number one’s covered and there’s a lane wide open and he just doesn’t hesitate and hits it and moves the chains, then I hope he does that. There’s that element and when you have that skill asset of moving the ball with your feet, it’s a great bonus and anytime something happens you want him to do that. And that’s the fine line of people playing this position, because a lot of times when people don’t know they’re not developed enough at quarterback and they have that option, they’re going to always go to it. It’s so cool to have that option, but that also doesn’t allow you to get better in the other area, so that’s what he has to find in his game, but the whole point is moving the chains. And we might call a play, number one’s wide open he doesn’t throw it, you might be upset, but when it ends with the first down, you’re quickly over it. And you get used to how we win games and you learn that with each player you coach and you have an idea in practice, you have an idea off their skill set, but you have no idea until you get into the games. And usually a player gets better with the coach, the more they’re together and the coach gets better with the player. But you don’t just learn that stuff by talking about it. You got have to go through it.”
Do you feel like you’re on the same page with Deebo as far as how he’s going to be used this season? And has that been a thing that you two have discussed about will the second half of last season carry over to this season?
KS: “Yeah, I had a real good discussion with him. We’re on the exact same page on it.”
Hall of Fame QB Steve Young has made himself available sort of as a resource, a sounding board to Trey. Are you privy to those conversations and what type of value does that provide to somebody like Trey in that situation?
KS: “I’m not privy to it, but man, I hope they talk all the time. Steve Young’s one of my favorite players of all-time, one of my favorite people of all-time. And if you ever go back and watch his film, I like to act like I did in middle school, but I didn’t. And you watch it now it’s like, ‘holy cow, he’s better than I even realized.’ And he’s also one of the smartest people I’ve ever met in my life, so anytime that guy wants to talk to any of our players, please do it.”
JL: “There’s one day where I think Trey was doing some promotional stuff with [Hall of Fame WR] Jerry [Rice] that they were doing for the G.O.A.T Fuel and they were shooting and Steve had decided to come down and say hello to Trey. And I get a call, we had a new security guard and Steve rolls up in his minivan and somebody else said, ‘Hey, Steve’s rolling around in his minivan, said he can’t get in the gate.’ But that day I do know I wasn’t privy to what their discussion was. It was pretty cool to look out on the field and see those guys and they talked for a long time and I know Trey values that. Trey’s a guy who’s going to soak up as much information as humanly possible. And he also understands what a tremendous resource Steve is and the same can be said for so many 49ers. Such a great tradition here, a winning tradition and to not take advantage of that would be foolish. And we’re just grateful for guys like Steve, who are willing to share their experiences with our guys. [Hall of Fame DL] Bryant Young is here today and he was here yesterday as he’s getting ready for Canton and I saw him in the locker room talking to a lot of our younger players and the more of that we can get the better.”
Young mentioned that he sees Trey’s processing abilities as one of his better qualities, do you also see that from him?
KS: “Yes, I do. I mean, that was one of the things we liked about him the most in college, I thought he, you know, they didn’t do a ton of it just cause of how good of a team they were and how much they ran it. But when he did do it, you could see that he had the skillset to do it and was good at it. Completely different speed of the game compared to where he was playing then and now and to get it into those pockets, it’s totally different. But to, it’s you don’t always get to see it in college quarterbacks and it’s not always their fault, sometimes their offenses don’t ask them to, but that’s one thing I did like about studying Trey.”
Is DL Dee Ford here and what’s the plan for him?
JL: “He’s not, you know, I can tell you guys the next couple days they’re working through some things, the league PA and all that, but you know, I think you guys will see a transaction and, you know, leave it at that.”
In the spring, you guys didn’t seem to be in a rush to get something done with DL Nick Bosa and he didn’t seem to be in a rush either. Is that something that could maybe wait till next offseason? Where are you in that situation?
JL: “I think the thing I’d tell you there is, if you look at our history, our cadence, you know most of our deals are done with one year left on the contract. Nick’s got two years left and so that doesn’t make it impossible, but makes it more likely that it’s something that will be addressed next year. No absolutes, you never say never, but here’s what I do know, as long as we’re here, Nick Bosa is going to be a part of the Niners and he’s going to get paid handsomely to do so. So his time’s coming and when it does, he’ll get what he deserves because man, what a special player.”
Do you still have the philosophy that you like your backup quarterback to have the same basic skillset as your starter?
KS: “I don’t… [QB] Nate [Sudfeld] might have the fastest 40 of them all, so don’t sleep on Nate. But yeah, it’s also, but if, yeah, if we were going to build an offense around a complete running quarterback, then I would probably want our backup to be a running quarterback. I don’t see Trey that way. I see him as a guy who has a, who played in college as a very good quarterback, and has the ability to keep getting better. And will always have the bonus to do something athletically that a lot of the good quarterbacks don’t have. And we’re just trying to build him up with those reps at quarterback and then let his ability take over. And Nate, I love his ability. He can move, he can scramble. We’re not going to put in an offense for him to have a lot of designed quarterback runs. And we probably would do a little bit more for Trey than him, but I don’t expect that to be what we major in.”
Do you guys have a fourth quarterback for camp?
JL: “As of right now, we’re you know, we’ve got, we’ve got our guys we’re happy with the group. If that ever becomes burden somewhere and we don’t have enough, you know, arms to, to get through. I think these guys are always monitoring that and we’re prepared like every position with this list.”
Do you guys have a kind of a, whatever preliminary depth chart as far as who you’re going to start off at center and to give that person kind of a chance where, where do you envision OL Daniel Brunskill right now, at right guard or at center?
KS: “Both. That’s, and that’s stuff that I want to talk to Brunskill about first and everything, but I mean, he’s going to have a chance at both. We know him, he started at right guard for us for a while. We know he can play center. We got [OL] Jake Brendel doing that too. There’s going to be some competition there, big time. We’ve had possible rookies to compete at right guard, so it’s going to be musical chairs in there for this camp. It’s pretty cool cause we’ve got a number of guys that we believe can start. Brunskill is the only one who’s shown people that he can do it because he’s the one who’s had that opportunity. A lot of the other guys you don’t know for sure until they do it for 16 games, 17, just like I’m talking about with our quarterback, but what we see in practice every day, we think we got a number of choices and it’ll be fun to watch them kind of all battle it out.”
John, there are a handful of veteran centers out there who aren’t signed. Is that something you’re kind of keeping an eye on too, just to see how that competition at center unfolds? And if you feel the need to go out and get someone?
JL: “We have a ready list at, at, at every position really, you know, [director of pro personnel] RJ Gillen now has taken over our pro staff, [director of player personnel] Ran Carthon has always been a part of that, [assistant general manager] Adam Peters, and they do a tremendous job of, of always being kept abreast and you know, knowing, okay, here’s our list, here’s, here’s the veteran options, here’s the younger options. So you know, yeah, absolutely.”
So, OL Mike McGlinchey, in terms of his health, is he full go when camp starts?
JL: “Mike’s doing really well. Again, you know, as we’ve talked about, when you’re coming off a major surgery, there’s always a kind of re-enter process. And so you don’t, it’s not like you just throw him out there and say, go practice football, full speed, take every rep. And so we’ve got a really good plan. Our health and performance staff does a really nice job of coming up with these plans. We build one for our own team that is as intentional, conscientious as possible in terms of high and low days, medium days, how we, uh, [head of player health and performance] Ben [Peterson] refers to it as building a mountain, getting them ready for the, for the open of the season. But with guys like Mike, you’re obviously going to have another plan just as we have in the past for guys like Bosa coming off knee surgeries, but Mike’s doing very well and, and we’re, it’s going to be nice to have him back out on the field.”
KS: “Mike McGlinchey, [DL Javon] Kinlaw, and [LB] Azeez [Al-Shaair] are all in the same boat. They’re all cleared to practice, but they all had some pretty serious surgeries. So they’re cleared to practice, but we’re going to take it easy with them. So, it won’t be every day.”
When it comes to coaching quarterbacks and trying to get them to improve accuracy, I know you, haven’t loved to talk about fundamentals with us. Are you the same with Trey? Like, are you focused more on, you know, procedurally where he needs to go on a given play and maybe getting that in his mind will it help improve his accuracy while maybe quarterback gurus he works with will work on the fundamental stuff. Just where are you at with, in terms of how you approach coaching quarterbacks to improve accuracy?
KS: “I believe just immediately, everything comes from the ground up. So, everything I try to do is with their feet, with their eyes, how to move in a pocket, how to have your body in position where the ball’s going to go, and how to get your body with your mind to anticipate where it might go based off coverages, and how to move that way athletically and be able to make a throw from any angle, and how to do that. Now, when it comes to how to throw a spiral, how to do this or that like, I mean, yeah, I have my coaching points. I tell my son and stuff which is still, I’m still working on. But that’s stuff that guys, I mean, I look at like a, like a golf pro. I mean, you can go and work on your little things and stuff like that on your own. But this is about playing the game and whatever you work out on, on your own, when it comes into the heat of battle, it’s a totally different game. Like just, I think a lot of NBA guys might have some shooting coaches and stuff. But how do you play the game? How do you get your body in position to get those shots off? I don’t know if they’re all coaching guys exactly how to shoot free throws, but I know they’re helping coaching guys, how to guard people, how to get open and I guess I’d compare it to that.”
RB Trey Sermon is there anything you saw in the off-season program and know about his training that gives you confidence he’ll be able to contribute?
KS: “That he has done everything he can. I mean, the guy was just look, haven’t seen him yet, but watching him in OTAs and he was as yoked up as he could be. He was in as shape as he could be. Like you could tell the guy want… learned from his rookie year and wants to do a lot more. And so that’s the starting of it. And I can’t wait ‘til we get the pads on and to watch him and a number of the other guys play. It’s always hard in OTAs, especially for O-line, D-linemen, running backs. Like there’s only so much you can do and it’s getting even harder. That’s why we ask a lot about like the center evaluation and stuff. Like, we feel great about our guys. But we got to put some pads on and start really going against people. And that’s why we’re excited to get started on camp.”
What excites you the most about the roster? When you look, both of you guys, when you look this roster up and down, what gets you fired up for this season?
KS: “I feel as good about our roster as I have. You know, I love our team right now, like when I just sit and go through our positions some of the young guys that we’ve added, some of the young guys in the last couple years who have quickly become some of our better players and leaders, I think we got a, I think our team’s in a great spot to turn it over to a quarterback who hasn’t played before. We might have some interior linemen who haven’t, but when you got the guys there just talent wise that we see at practice everyday and I see the people around them, it pumps me up cause sometimes when you start off with that, you know, there’s, it’s going to be a work in progress which everything is. And we got to go out there and get to what our potential is just like we did last year and that didn’t come ‘til halfway through the year. We got to do that a lot earlier this year and I believe we got the team to do it. And every year you just, not everyone does have that opportunity, a chance. And, and I, what I see on paper is I see a chance and now, that’s all you can ask for as a coach. And I just want to go to work with them.”
How much more comfortable are you with Trey’s skillset, his tendencies, and how does that sort of factor into maybe adding new wrinkles and just developing the playbook with him?
KS: “New wrinkles isn’t the problem with him. It’s trying to know all the stuff that you have done or that he’s capable of doing, what the percentages of it, how good he is, how good he is at that compared to our other players. Like there’s some things our players are comfortable with, how automatic is Trey going to be that, Trey can do anything, but what’s going to be his best stuff and that’s stuff that I don’t have the answer to yet. And I’ll have a much better idea at the end of camp, but I still won’t have the answer, that will go throughout the year, and that’s always evolving.”
New pieces on your coaching staff. How’s that process been getting ready for training camp?
KS: “It’s been awesome. You know, I think our defensive staff is there, we didn’t make any changes there, we just had a few younger QC guys, but I think their second year together has been very good. Sometimes you don’t know, you work at everything, but you don’t know until you go through the season together and they’re so much tighter for that. And the offensive staff’s been great. I know we had a big bunch of number changes, but there’s so much familiarity with the people that we brought in and some of the history that we’ve done and just having guys like, like [offensive line coach] Chris Foerster, who I’ve always had, but he’s even got to take on a bigger role by losing guys like [offensive coordinator] Mike [McDaniels] and stuff. Losing [tight ends coach] Jon [Embree] and things. And not, he’s always done the same amount of work but helping me divvy up things in the office and things like that. [Offensive passing game coordinator] Bobby Slowik has done a hell of a job stepping it up. And these new guys we brought in you know, we lost some real good guys, but we also brought in some real good guys and it kind of allows you to bring up new things like it’s not, no one’s bringing in new ideas, but it generates new energy. You got to go, I’ve had to go teach some things that I haven’t had to in a couple years, and you spend that off season doing it. So, guys know what to expect. Then you go through OTAs, and you get to watch them based off of what you said in the off season, and they work your words through practice. And by the end of OTAs, it’s felt as good with our staff as I have since I’ve been here.”
Specifically how enthusiastic are you about your options for your front 7, got a lot of solid linebackers and D linemen the competition battle?
KS: “Very enthusiastic. That goes with how we feel about our team, and I think it starts there. I mean, with our D-line, and our linebackers. That’s a group that has been around here for a while. I think we’ve only added stuff to help them with depth. And I think they’re healthiest now, as they’ve been, and when they’re healthy we’re tough to deal with, and when they haven’t been healthy, we’ve had the depth that’s been tough to deal with. So, I think with our team, it starts right there.”
JL: “To that end, I will say, I meant to say it up front, we did sign [DL] Robert Nkemdiche, as a free agent. I know it was reported last week but that person must have been Nostradamus because we, we had a workout. We had not decided. There were three guys here working out, he did shine in that workout. So, he’ll be a part of us moving forward. We’re excited about that.”