Head Coach Kyle Shanahan Press Conference

Head Coach Kyle Shanahan

Press Conference – August 23, 2021

San Francisco 49ers

Listen to Audio I Media Center

Opening Comments:

“I’ll start with the injuries first. [DL] Maurice Hurst has a high ankle sprain so he’s going to be out for a while. [LB] Mychal Kendricks has turf toe sprain, he’s also going to be out for a while. [OL] Senio Kelemete has a back, he’s day-to-day. [CB Alexander] Myres was evaluated for a concussion last night, but he was cleared today, didn’t have one.”

Do the injuries to Kendricks or Hurst kind of set up any moves you guys have to make?

“Anytime you have an ankle and a toe, you’re looking at least a month. So, that’s something we’re definitely going to have to discuss today, how it plays out for the final roster spot. What we have to do to get through the next week or so. That stuff we want to discuss by the end of the day and we’ll have a decision by tomorrow.”

You said last week that QB Trey Lance is very good at self-correcting. I’m just wondering whether you saw that between the Chiefs game and the Chargers game that he had taken care of some things that he did in the Chiefs game that maybe he needed to work on?

“Yeah. I saw some things he missed in the Chiefs game, he definitely was focused on them and corrected them in this game. I also saw him make some corrections throughout the game too, which was nice to see. Not having to wait until you get to the film and stuff. Some things that he was aware of that he did and some stuff I thought he cleaned up the more comfortable he got in there.”

It seems like Lance is throwing his passes a bit too hard at times, is that a fair thing to say? How do you work on that?

I think that’s a fair thing to say.  I just think a lot of it has to do with having your feet under you and seeing things at the right time and not having to speed it up so much because when you do speed something up and you have the type of ability he has, it’s very hard to take something off of it. Some of the big arm quarterbacks that I have had, have some very similar issues. That’s why you’ve got to have guys with good hands, but you also want to make it easier on them. And that’s stuff that I think he’ll get better at the more that he plays.”

I know you’re not ready to make an announcement, but do you feel you have two quarterbacks that are ready to start?

“Yeah, I think we have two quarterbacks. I think we have three quarterbacks. Being ready to start, it’s about getting a guy a gameplan that gives you a chance to win. And I think all our guys are capable of that. So, everybody wanted me to make a big announcement last night, but there’s not much advantage in us making an announcement there or at any position, so that’s kind of the reason why we do that.”

Obviously, Trey has only had one rush, it was a scramble, in more than 60 snaps. Realizing that he’s being purposely handcuffed a little, do you grade him on a curve a little bit because this isn’t quite exactly what Trey Lance can do?

“Not totally. I mean, it depends on what you mean by grading him. I’m just trying to get him better and get him ready for the season. So, we try to work on the things to get better at. We put in a game plan for any quarterback and when you do that in the regular season, you hope they execute that gameplan. I think when you put in a gameplan for Trey, there’ll be some stuff different than what we’ve done with quarterbacks in the past since we’ve been here. But I don’t see it much differently. You’ve got to do whatever’s part of the game. You want to do it to the best of your abilities. And there’s some other elements that he brings to the game that we obviously haven’t done for obvious reasons. It’s preseason. But I’m looking at everything else too.”

I know you’ve said that the third preseason game you’ll use kind of as the traditional dress rehearsal as you have in the past. With some of the vet guys that you’ve kept out, the TE Greg Kittles and the LB Fred Warners, guys like that, will you use them in Week 3? Or are you going to keep them on the shelf the whole way through?

“Right now, my plan is to use them. It’s still early though. We just reviewed the game tape today. We’re giving the players tomorrow off. We’re going to get a normal week of practice in Wednesday, Thursday, Friday. Stuff could always change based off of practice and how it goes, but for the most part, I’d like to get everyone playing a little bit.”

I’ve got questions about two of the fifth-round picks. I know OL Jaylon Moore is playing left tackle because of the injuries, but is he going to be part of the discussion potentially at right guard at some point before the season starts? And second question, is S Talanoa Hufanga setting himself up to compete for the starting strong safety job Week 1?

“Yes, I think Hufanga with the way he’s played these last two weeks and the way he’s been in practice, I think he’s definitely given himself an opportunity. Obviously [S Jaquiski] Tartt has been out, PUP, and [S] Tavon [Wilson] has had a real good camp too here, so we’ll see how that finishes out. What was the other one? Jaylon?”

Yeah, it was about Jaylon Moore at right guard?

“We’re trying to figure out who is our best eight or nine guys to keep on the roster. Based off some injuries and stuff, we knew when we took Jaylon, we could throw them at either one. Similar to how we looked at [OL Colton] McKivitz when we took him too. First of all, where is his best chance for him to be part of that team and make those eight or nine guys? And once he does that, you’ve got to be ready everywhere. So we’d love to get him some more reps inside, but with some of the injuries we’ve had in camp, we haven’t been able to, which I do think has been a good thing for him at tackle. It’s very rare you get to play in a whole game like he did likethat. I think he’s gotten better each week with experience and I’m happy about how he’s coming along.”

 Have you made any roster moves yet?

“No, we haven’t made any roster moves. When we get back late like this, I have to meet with the offense, I have to meet with the defense, I have to meet with the special teams. And here in about 30 minutes, we meet with the special teams players. Then a team meeting, then an offensive meeting, and then a defensive meeting. So, I’m pretty scrambled until all that’s over. Usually about by five, everything will settle and I’ll sit and talk to John about all the roster moves. And I know we don’t have to make those cuts until I think one tomorrow.”

After the first preseason game, you mentioned that Trey Lance took some steps back in his fundamentals. Now that you’ve looked at the film, how did he look in second one?

“Better. I think anytime you get thrown into the heat of battle, especially these younger guys that haven’t played a lot, you always kind of resort to what you’ve done and your technique gets off a lot. He did that a ton in the first game. I thought it was much better in the second game and hopefully he’ll continue to get better in this third game.”

What are some of the things that you saw out of Trey that led you to believe that there’s a lot of promise? Certain things that maybe stood out that were leaps from the first game?

“I just liked how he responded throughout it. Trey has played a lot of football in the last year or so. I think he’s thrown one interception since high school. To watch him go out there and throw a pick, to have a couple of close, those are some things that he isn’t used to. And I know it got him down pretty bad, but to watch him go out there and recover was nice for me to see because I haven’t seen him have to play through much stuff like that watching all of his college tape. He didn’t throw pick until his one game in the COVID year. So, to be able to see him do that on this stage and to do it out there and be able to leave him out there for a few series and let him kind of fight through that, I really think eventually after that he started getting his best rhythm that he’s been in these two games.”
Do you have any concern over WR Brandon Aiyuk dropping a pass at the start of each game? And he had a few last year, but he’s had a few in camp too this year.
“Yeah. It’s I definitely something that I know he’s working at. Something that we don’t want to happen ever with receivers, when their hands touch the ball you never want to drop it. And saying never might not be totally realistic, but that’s what we’re striving for. I know that’s something Brandon could definitely get better at.”

When using FB Kyle Juszczyk as a third down back it seems like you isolated him one-on-one and he got open and then you probably trust him in the ball blocking schemes as well.

“Yeah, Kyle always gives you an option, really at everything. He’s as good of a fullback as there is out on routes. We’ve had him play the tight end position a number of times and we definitely hand him the ball some too and treat him like a halfback. So, it always starts with protection when you get him in there because he’s as good as anyone we have. But, as you guys saw, the second play of the game, the second and eight, we didn’t get our wideout or a tight end and to be able to get Juice over the ball where he moves the chains for us. How quick he gets out, how smart he plays there, definitely an asset for us.”

General Manager John Lynch had shared in the spring that coming back from Ohio State’s Pro Day, you were on the plane designing Trey Lance specific plays very excitedly. If indeed John Lynch has his story straight, are you dusting off old plays or are you inventing new plays? And is it safe to say those plays have not been seen yet in the preseason?

“Yeah. We’ve been showing them all. That’s really all we’ve been doing (laughing). I hope you guys haven’t been bored with them. I’m joking, you guys can’t see me so you can’t see that I’m smiling. No, personally, I don’t think there are any more new plays in football. Football has been played for a very long time. So, whenever anyone acts like they’ve invented a play, it might’ve been done 40 years ago out of a different formation. You look back to old school football with the veer and option football. Then you remember when they first started doing the Wildcat in Miami it felt like it was new football and it was really just old school football out of some different formations. And all that stuff kind of comes full circle. It’s just what are defenses getting used to seeing? What are they preparing to stop? And when they do that stuff, then what are they not used to? I think It’s always evolving. You look back to teams like Nebraska and when they were winning National Championships and always running with Tommy Frazier and all those guys, not many college teams were doing that. Everyone was practicing against other schemes. And then all of a sudden, they have to go against that one week and they can’t stop it. A lot of people start to do that stuff. And then people can’t stop the spread offense then going to the run-and-shoot. It’s all about kind of what defenses are doing, what they’re preparing against. And that’s why as a coaching staff, it’s not just inventing some new play. It’s about how to tie a play in that your players can do that attacks weaknesses in a defense. And if you can do that, you can put a defense in a bind and you can really make them adjust. And that’s the stuff you’re always trying to look for. Us coaches, when we think of players we’re always drawing up plays that we think those guys can do that could really put the defense in a bind. And as guys get hurt, or as you face different stuff, that’s why you’re always adjusting and trying to just put your team and your players in the best chance to win.”