Head Coach Kyle Shanahan Postgame Press Conference

49ers Head Coach Kyle Shanahan

Press Conference – November 5, 2020

San Francisco 49ers vs. Green Bay Packers

 

Opening comments:

“Alright guys, injuries from the game. [S Jaquiski] Tartt had a toe injury, did not return. [CB K’Waun] Williams, ankle. Did not return. Go ahead.”

With the COVID issues, depleting you guys further, and all the tests coming back negative today, should this game have been pushed back to Sunday or Monday? And how much would that have helped your guys’ cause?

“I don’t really think about that stuff at all. It was never brought up pushing the game back, so we’ve been planning on it being at this Thursday at five or whenever it’s supposed to start and that never changed. So, I know we’re working together with the league on all that stuff. And that was never brought up, so never really thought about it.”

Why did you decide to shuffle your center and right guard? Who plays center and right guard on a short week?

“Just after a couple of things in the last two games, we wanted to give [OL Daniel] Brunskill a shot. He’d been repping it a little bit, starting in training camp when we lost [OL Ben] Garland. We thought it’d be the best thing for us today and from what I felt out there, I think he did a pretty good job.”

Obviously, a great performance from WR Richie James. Was that kind of the plan you had for WR Brandon Aiyuk going forward if he was to play in this game?

“Yes.”

Obviously, the guys you have left to play tonight are NFL players and they get paid and all that, but did you feel like you guys collectively kind of had a hand tied behind your back, just with so many guys that weren’t able to play?

“We knew it was going to be a challenge. We knew at the start of the week it was going to be a challenge and then losing those three guys yesterday was obviously a bigger challenge, but I still thought we could have a game and still thought we could play better than we did tonight. Being down like that and not being at our best and going against a good team like that, usually that’s usually what happens, but I know we could have done better.”

You’ve got this team to a certain point. You went to a Super Bowl, NFC Champions, and you overcame a lot to get there. As the coach, as the leader, how tough is it being back in this spot so soon after being in the Super Bowl?

“You’d have to ask our guys on that. For me personally, that was last year. You go into this year and you expect to be right there because of how we finished last year and the team that we had, but each year is a new year. We know the challenges that we have had. I think there’s a number of games that we could have won that we didn’t. And I know it doesn’t get easier with some of the guys we’ve lost, but hopefully we’ll get some guys back here going forward. I’m really looking forward to these three days off for our players. I think it’s something that’s needed pretty bad right now for us. Then we’ve got New Orleans after that and we’ve got one game in the next 24 days. So, hopefully we can get three off. Go take care of business versus New Orleans, get back on track, enjoy our Bye Week and come back and try to turn this around here in the second half because it’s still early in the year. I still know we’ve got a chance to at least get in that tournament at the end of the year, but we’ve got to recover a little bit here with these three days and make sure when we come back, we start playing some better football.”

Can you take us through what happened yesterday when you found out about WR Kendrick Bourne and then the other four guys and ultimately how it impacted your preparation and what your plans were for yesterday?

“We found out when we came in. I think I got told, struggling with day it is, I got told Wednesday morning. Then we got in and then we focused on clearing out the building because we had to shut everyone down when we found out about KB. Then went home and it was right back to quarantine, basically at home. I was there with my family, still homeschooling. It seemed like I went back in time three months ago and did everything from there. I went back into my office that was set up from the draft and did all the red zone stuff and at least was able to meet with the guys through Zoom and everything like we did in the offseason and get all the red zone stuff in. We didn’t find out about Aiyuk and [T] Trent [Williams] until after those meetings and stuff. So, we were allowed to come back here last night and walk through the red zone and some of the openers and stuff and just had to do a little shuffling. There’s not enough time to change everything. It’s the night before the game and guys weren’t practicing any ways because of the short week. So, we just got the receivers, reshuffled them and we walked through a lot last night and I think [wide receivers coach] Wes [Welker] grabbed a couple of them and walked through today before the game.”

Given what you just said, obviously Richie James wasn’t a big part of the game plan to start the week or on Tuesday when you had your practices. How impressive is it that he was able to kind of get up to speed and how did you and Wes sort of do that for this game?

“Richie has been here, so he knows what he’s doing. I think the most impressive thing with Richie, we were told on Monday he had a 50% chance of playing because he was coming off an ankle injury. He wasn’t able to go last week. So, we weren’t sure if we were able to have him. So, we were, and we found out on Tuesday he was going to be able to dress for the game. We didn’t plan on using him that much because he was coming off the injury, but I was just thankful to have him. For Richie, he got a lot of opportunities tonight, but I told him before the game that, hey, regardless of what happens, I know he’s going in a little bit beat up. I know he didn’t get to practice this stuff and I just wanted, he knew a lot of pressure was on him because he saw what the game plan was and he knew he was going to have those ops, but I was just happy that he was able to get out there and make it through the game and do a really good job when we came to him and we’ve got a lot of confidence in Richie. I hope in these three days away, he heals up more. It doesn’t seem like he had any setbacks in the game and hopefully verse New Orleans we’ll get [WR] Deebo [Samuel] back and get KB back and Aiyuk back and hopefully we’ll get a little bit more continuity in the second half with our receiver group going forward.”

You were missing a few players tonight because of the positive COVID test and around the league, there was a lot of that happening this week. What’s your level of concern with the way things are going generally in the league and is there anything more your team can do to try to keep guys on the field?

“Yeah, I think there’s always more. That’s what we’ve got to look into and figure out how much more that we can do. It kind of is what it is, too. It’s not just the NFL, it’s the planet right now. You see it going all over the country and everything. I love that we’re trying to play these games and get through them. I think our guys, when they have gotten it, hopefully they’re going to be able to get through it and their health will be all right and not affected going forward. We haven’t had it hit us really, yet. I know KB had that test and we had the close contacts and stuff and that’s what the rules are. So, other teams have had to deal with that. I knew at some time we would have to deal with it. I was hoping it wouldn’t be on a short week and with the injuries we had prior, so that just made it a bigger challenge, but that’s challenges other people are going through and it’s challenges people are going to have going forward. It’s not getting better right now, so that’s why everyone has to be on it with every single protocol that there is. I feel that we’ve been doing it the best we can, but we’ll look into everything and see how we can continue to get better because there’s still a number of games left in this year and I know our team and I know the whole NFL plans on finishing those. I also plan on us playing better too. So, that all goes in hand.”

Earlier this week, defensive coordinator Robert Salah said that the safeties are pretty flexible in terms of positioning and they can kind of play either position and it’s similar. Why do you guys prefer S Marcell Harris at that spot as opposed to DB Tarvarius Moore?

“At which spot?”

The strong safety spot as Jaquiski Tartt’s backup.

“I don’t know. I’d say bigger body. Usually the bigger body goes at strong safety. Same with the two guys in front of both of them with [DB] Jimmie Ward and Tartt. They are both interchangeable, but Tartt’s listed as a strong safety, so it’s kind of the same deal.”

You mentioned despite having a lot of guys, you still weren’t thrilled with this performance. What areas were you particularly disappointed with?

“I’m not really saying that as a negative to our guys. I thought our guys played hard. I was really, you know, I thanked them for how they finished. The game was out of hand there at the end and our defense still stopped them there on their last drive and allowed the offense to go out and at least keep trying to fight and get some more points on the board. We’re all pretty competitive in there and I still believed we could have done better. I’m not taking anything away from Green Bay at all, but it’s going to be hard to, probably, for me, ever to not feel that way.”

What were the impression that you had of Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers WR Davante Adams and just your pass defense overall against those two guys?

“Aaron and Davante, they’re the same as they always are to me. They’re two great players and they’ve both been doing it for a very long time. I knew going into the game that would be a huge challenge. Thought we missed a couple of tackles on the opening drive and then they got that go route. I thought [CB Emmanuel] Moseley was in a perfect position, just a little nudge there that I don’t expect to get called and Devante made a hell of a play and Aaron made a great throw. I think that was kind of, for our pass coverage all night, I thought we held them pretty good, but we gave up a bunch of big plays. So, don’t confuse that with pretty good. That’s why they got after us in that aspect, but the big plays were tough to overcome, especially when they came, some of the third downs and things like that. Then the PI on the double move down in the end zone, which I believe was on third down. I’m not exactly sure. When you give them some opportunities with the penalties and you give a guy like Aaron and Davante some of those big plays, and the way they got the run game going a little bit, creasing through there. We weren’t very inspiring on offense, either, for the defense in the first half. We moved the ball a little bit, had a chance at that one touchdown that ended up getting overturned. We just asked them to hold on for too long.”

Why was CB Jamar Taylor up and CB Ahkello Witherspoon down for this game?

“Jamar’s our backup nickel and we wanted him in there to back up K’Waun and I think it was also for the whole depth of everything. It was more of a special team’s decision. Got the guys out there who are starting on defense and everyone else was based off who helps us the most on special teams.”