Head Coach Kyle Shanahan Press Conference

Head Coach Kyle Shanahan

Press Conference – January 16, 2024

San Francisco 49ers

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Opening comments:

“Alright, injuries for today. [DL] Clelin Ferrell, knee, won’t practice. [LB Dre] Greenlaw, achilles, won’t practice. [S] Logan Ryan, groin, won’t practice. [DL Arik] Armstead, foot and knee, limited. [S George] Odum, bicep, limited. All the other guys who’ve been hurt are full.”


RB Christian McCaffrey?






Can you tell us about Green Bay Packers defensive coordinator Joe Barry and the characteristics of his defense? How do they look on film against Dallas to you?

“They looked real good versus Dallas. I haven’t got to watch much of them until these last 10 days and obviously picked it up a lot more these last two days. I think they’re a very good defense. The numbers don’t always tell the truth. They had a couple games that got some cheap yards, but they’re good in the run, good in the pass. They can get to the quarterback. They’re extremely sound. They’re getting healthier. A ton of respect for Joe. I got to work with him my first couple years of my career in Tampa. He’s been involved in a number of different defenses, played against him a few times with the Rams. Then in Green Bay, his scheme just keeps getting sounder and better.”


After learning at 4:30 PM on Sunday, how quickly did you guys get to work on the Packers?

“We were already in here, so we were doing it that day. We had mixed in a little bit earlier in the week, hitting up a couple teams. Started really focusing on them halfway through the second quarter. Then they scored at the end of the second quarter. So, I kind of did both at halftime and then third quarter I was set on one team.”


What development has Green Bay Packers QB Jordan Love made throughout the season to where he is now?

“He’s come a long way because he’s playing at such a high level. To get thrown in there early this year and have to go through some ups and downs, which he did some good things earlier in this year too. To not win all those games, when you’re with a tough record in your first year, the pressure that comes with that, and just to watch him each game, he’s been consistent. For him to take care of the ball the way he has done has been unbelievable. The 21 touchdowns and one pick, I think, over the last 10 games is unbelievable. He’s extremely consistent in what they’re asking him to do. [Green Bay Packers head coach] Matt’s [LaFleur] very good at coaching the quarterback and you can see that their quarterback is buying in. He plays very well in their system and makes a lot of plays. He has a big arm and is a big dude too.”


The Packers started 2-5 this season. What’s been the key to their turnaround?

“Probably not turning it over. When you don’t turn it over, no matter what happens, you’ve got a chance to win in every game. The fact they’ve only had one pick in 10 games is unbelievable. When you start getting a running game going with that, with a real good defense too, doesn’t surprise me at all.”


How much of a benefit was it for you to be able to get a head start on Sunday on your opponent?

“I don’t know. I’ll tell you after our game Saturday. Sometimes it can be a benefit, sometimes it’s not. It just depends on how the game unwinds, but sometimes having a short rest can help. Sometimes it hurts. So, you see how it plays out. I don’t really overthink that stuff much.”


So much attention this season was on the Eagles, the Cowboys and you guys maybe shaping up for a showdown. Is it a surprise for both those teams to be gone before you even started playing?

“I would say so before we got into the playoffs just because we hadn’t really studied Green Bay and watched them. Once we had those 10 days to kind of view a lot of people, it’s then you realize that they had a good shot. I didn’t know who was going to win. So it didn’t surprise me what happened. Dallas is a good team so just the way it started out was a little surprising. Once you watch the tape and you really get into Green Bay and you really think of their numbers and you really watch their players and how they’re doing it, it doesn’t surprise me at all now.”


What’s the hallmark of a Matt LaFleur offense and a Matt LeFleur team?

“I’m not sure. I think they change each year and it’s definitely different with [New York Jets QB] Aaron [Rodgers] not there. I think it looks a little bit more similar to how I know Matt and his offense and that was always mixed in with Aaron too. Anytime you have a quarterback who’s played a long time, you’re always going to just mix all that stuff in. But, it looks a little more consistent with what he’s done earlier in his career and just how they’re balancing it out. Matt’s going to get his guys to play hard. He is always going to be honest with them. Matt’s a very high character guy who understands scheme very well.”


How serious is Greenlaw’s achilles issue? You said tendonitis last week. Is it something where he might be able to practice tomorrow?

“Yeah, he’ll be able to go tomorrow. We just pushed him hard yesterday so we want to take a day off before we push him again.”


How about Logan Ryan?

“He should be good by tomorrow. He’s got to pass a couple more things.”


Is there hope that George Odum can be activated for the first game?

“Yeah, there is a hope. He’s given himself a chance, just being able to watch him a little bit last week. We’ll see how these two go and he could have a chance this week.”


It’s been awhile since you coached with Matt, but when you watch them, do you see, oh yeah, I know that. I get that? How much has it changed?

“Similar. It’s like that with a bunch of people. Your scheme changes just like ours does all the time, things evolve, especially with your players. But, it’s fun watching him with a young quarterback. Matt and I coached quarterbacks together for a while, just technique and certain things and you can definitely see how he’s been coaching his guy. He’s done a hell of a job with him. It seems like the quarterback’s made it pretty easy for him too.”


Is the thing with the playoffs that you almost have to take out all your preconceived notions from the regular season and it’s a new season?

“Yeah, you prepare off the film that you have. But man, I just keep telling our guys no matter what, we clinched the one seed, it feels like a hundred days ago. You’ve got all this time and everyone wants to talk about all this stuff that leads up to it. There’s a lot of stuff to think about, but it comes down to what you do in three and a half hours. If you’ve got a little amount of time to prepare for that, a lot of amount of time, if it’s a team you’ve played three times, a team you haven’t played in two years. There’s lots of things to think about and talk about. All we try to do is study the film and prepare for how those three and a half hours will go. But once it starts you just cut it loose and you ride. I think that’s the hard thing about the weeks and stuff is you just tell guys don’t have preconceived notions. Don’t think it’s going be these teams because these are the ones you’ve heard about. We’ll watch the film. We’ll put in the scheme and stuff. You guys take care of your bodies and get ready to come in and learn it.”


You wanted to push the guys a little bit to practice on Thursday. How did you think that they responded to kind of coming off the Bye and all that?

“I think it was awesome. It’s always tough because when you call it a Bye Week, people have an idea what a Bye Week’s like. That’s why it wasn’t technically a Bye Week, but we weren’t playing. I thought it was good that the guys prepared the week before like they were going that whole game and a lot of them did and a lot of them we got to take out at the half. So we got a good week in before that. A lot of them got half a game, some just got about a quarter. So it was crucial to get two days in. We had a real hard practice on Thursday. We went full pads on Friday, got all the work in, didn’t lose anybody for sure. So that was really the goal and also to get as much work as we can and we’ve got two days this week to do really the exact same thing.”


How much work did Arik get?

“Oh he got a good amount. A little on Thursday and little on Friday.”


Did you go ones versus ones in practice or did you do game plan stuff?

“No, we did ones versus ones. Yeah, no game plan stuff because we would’ve watered it down with four game plans.”


QB Brock Purdy mentioned that having a few weeks off, you were confident that he’s come off rest before pretty well. How much of that is in your mind as you went into this and how much do you push him in his practice? Where do you think Brock is just coming off of some weeks now off?

“It’s not in my mind really much at all because he hasn’t been on a Bye Week. We pushed the heck out of Brock, meetings, practice. We knew [QB] Sam [Darnold] was playing that whole game and Brock was still splitting reps with him. So, Brock got a good week in. We just didn’t wanna put him out there in the first half of that game. So he did miss the first half versus the Rams. But he got that whole week in. He came back. He’s been here. He has worked on his days off. We got two bigger practices last week than we do in a normal week. Brock went out with the guys on Monday, did a bunch of stuff with them and now we’re going get two practices in again. So in terms of time off, I mean, he did have two quarters off to what we could have done with him. But we definitely think that was worth it. I don’t worry about that affecting Brock at all for Saturday.”


Last week Brock was talking about in team meetings the night before a game that you would often have players talk during those sessions and increasingly you’ve done the talking in a complimentary way. Why is that? Why did that change?

“Well, our first year we started 0-9, so about the first six weeks I was out of stuff. So I gave anybody who wanted to get up there a chance. Tried a couple coaches, tried players, but you just start experimenting with stuff once you lose your first nine games in a row. Second year was a tough year. They get sick of hearing you the whole year. So you started to switch it up. Sometimes I get players to talk, sometimes other coaches. Then in 2019 we started 8-0 and never changed. I didn’t really have to switch it up at all. Did it all eight at those games and really never stopped. I don’t know if I’ve had anyone talk since. But it hasn’t been thought out and it’s not like I consciously made a decision on it. I like to talk if I have something to say and usually I do.”


Is it kind of talking about the upcoming game? Are they talking about themes?

“Whatever is important at that moment. I usually on Saturdays, I get to the hotel very early. I usually watch the offensive game that we played the Sunday before, the defensive game that we played the Sunday before, the special teams the Sunday before, to get any things from those that I want to show the guys to remind them of how I want them to look. Then I watch all three phases of the team we are playing from a game just to see if there’s any things I want to remind them of. Sometimes that can go from 10 clips to a hundred clips. They usually count them all. Then I just go with what I feel like, whatever our team needs at the moment. I’m not a good storyteller or anything like that, unless there’s a story to be told at the moment. So just to see what we need.”


Have you approached FB Kyle Juszczyk about getting a custom jacket from his wife?

“No I haven’t, but my wife actually was talking about that. But I told her I don’t have a number, so you better not wear that. That’ll be so embarrassing for us. But, no, that was cool. She’s awesome. She does that stuff all the time. My daughter likes to make clothes since she was like seven years old. So she’s always sending her some stuff too that they try to make. So it’s awesome. She’s cool.”


Green Bay is unique. Green Bay Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst has had two really great Draft back-to-back. They don’t have one tight end, they’ve got two. They don’t have two receivers, they’ve got five. Does that make it more difficult for defensive coordinator Steve Wilks and the defensive staff to prepare knowing that they’ve got any number of guys that could go off in this game?

“It’s usually the case to me on most good offenses. Whoever has a good player, you still can’t force the ball to people. If you do, it’s usually not going be that good of an offense. When you do want to spread it around, you’re not going to be that scared unless you have talent on all those positions. They’ve always done a good job. They rarely have a player who shouldn’t be out there. They draft well. They keep their own pretty well. They’ve done it consistently for a long time. And always when you give young guys opportunities, sometimes there’s some bumps in the road, which it sounds like they’ve gone through with this year a little bit. But you get through those. They find a way to win that last game and get in the playoffs and now they’ve got a good team that you don’t look at it as a bunch of rookies. You look at guys almost in their second and third year and they’re playing like it.”


With Christian McCaffrey, last year he had a couple months to kind of get in the system and get ready for the playoffs. Now that he’s been in it this much longer, how do you see him going into these playoffs? Was he able to practice Friday or Thursday last week?

“No, he didn’t do anything last week.”


How is he right now going in playoffs?

“I think he’s geared up and ready to go. Same way he was last year. Probably the same way he was in his playoff game when he was five years old too, or scrimmage that week. Christian’s always the same. He’s always waiting for that moment. He’s been waiting for this moment for a while.”