Head Coach Kyle Shanahan Press Conference
Head Coach Kyle Shanahan
Press Conference – January 17, 2022
San Francisco 49ers
“Alright guys, the injuries from the game. We had [DL] Jordan Willis, ankle sprain. [DL] Nick Bosa is in the protocol. [LB] Fred Warner had an ankle sprain. [QB] Jimmy Garoppolo has a shoulder sprain. Him and Fred are probably going to be able to go though, this week. Go ahead.”
Are both of those ankle sprains low?
“Fred’s is, Jordan’s is not.”
When did Jimmy Garoppolo get hurt? And can you repeat that? Did you say he will not be able to practice this week?
“No. He should be fine for practice. He did it in the second quarter. I know he had to play through some pain, but he ended up checking out alright. Just a slight shoulder sprain and he should be good for Wednesday’s practice.”
Is it his throwing shoulder?
And to clarify on Fred, you said he too should be good to practice on Wednesday?
“Yeah, we’ll evaluate him and see how the week goes. The initial scare was that it could have been high, so we got good news on that. He had something similar to this earlier in the year, but we’ll evaluate him here on Wednesday, which I think is Tuesday this week.”
I know concussions can be tricky things to judge, but did you get a chance to talk to Nick on the plane? How did he seem? Do you have any feel at all for how he is?
“I didn’t personally get a chance to talk to him. I talked to a number of guys who did and our trainers. You know how those go, but we’re being pretty optimistic with it. I’ve seen that a few times and he seems like he’s in a pretty good spot right now, but I’m not going to be the one who judges that.”
What is the practice schedule this week? Is everything just moved up one day?
“Yeah, everything’s moved up one day. We’re going to start a little bit later tomorrow. Just kind of to give us the morning, so we don’t have to finish all the gameplan and everything tonight. We’ll be able to look over some stuff in the morning and also get the players just a little bit more time to sleep in. And I think the biggest thing on this week is going to be about recovery, so the more sleep we can do and we’ll slow most of the stuff down. I doubt we get many full-speed reps in this week. The main thing is we’ve just had two real physical games and a short week here, especially traveling. I’ll take it pretty easy on the guys this week.”
You’re 7-0 when WR Deebo Samuel runs more than five times and he’s averaging a touchdown about one every 7.5 carries. I know your job is extremely difficult, but sometimes these days, do you feel like it’s as simple as saying, ‘Give the ball to Deebo’?
“Sometimes. He does a hell of a job on that. The hardest thing is deciding when to give it to him or [RB] Elijah [Mitchell], because Elijah does pretty good too. But it’s a problem I’m enjoying having right now.”
I’m sure you’ve gone through the tape pretty carefully of the Packers game early this season. It’s probably still pretty fresh in your memory anyway, but does anything strike you when you go back over it? What happened in that game? I know the running game did really get going there.
“Yeah, I feel like we’re a different team now than we were then, as everybody is. I mean, you just start out the year and you go through a number of different players. But football’s not much different, both teams, schematically, plays you’re running, concepts you’re running, the coverages they’re doing. There’s some little different wrinkles when you watch teams at the beginning of the year and at the end of the year, but most of the stuff stays the same. It’s just nice to see when a team’s executing better. When you feel like guys are practicing, playing better together as a unit. And I think we’re in a better spot now than we were at that time.”
To get four second-half sacks on Dallas Cowboys QB Dak Prescott without Nick. And I guess DL Charles Omenihu played considerably more than he played all year. What can you say about the way everybody picked up the slack and moved on without him?
“Losing Nick, you guys know how big of a challenge that is and the guys just stepped it up huge. Our guys have been stepping it up huge this whole second half of the year and kind of just answering that last question, but it’s about just working as a unit better and getting better at everything. And our guys know, you have to come off the ball and attack, so there’s a little chaos to how you rush the quarterback, but you try to have it somewhat controlled. And when you have four or five guys rushing the quarterback and our guys have just gotten so much better at doing it as a group and feeding off each other and chasing one guy into the other. And they’re really playing good as a team and making the individuals show up too with the stats.”
It seems you have a unique relationship with your players. TE George Kittle has come up to you and said, ‘Hey, run it again.’ Deebo comes up to you and says, ‘Get me the ball.’ Have you experienced that before with your players? Have you seen that before in other situations around the league, or do you find that just a unique situation with yourself?
“I don’t know. I think guys have that around the league, playcallers. It’s different when you’re up in the box and you’re not around them as much and when you get used to guys. Everybody’s different, but guys don’t say it to me all the time. And I definitely don’t listen to them all the time, but when they say something where we’re on the same page and I’m feeling what they’re feeling. If those guys just say it to say it because they just are kind of being selfish or want the ball, that’s one thing. But we have guys who say it because of the energy they play with and how they really want to make a difference. And if you can get them in the right spot, it definitely helps you call plays with more confidence, when guys tell you that type of stuff.”
The last time you guys played the Green Bay Packers, WR Davante Adams had 12 receptions for 132 yards, but he’s had eight 100-yard games on the season. What does a receiver like him do for an offense? And just the stress that it puts on a defense in general?
“He is one of the best receivers in the NFL and he has been doing it for a number of years now. And when you combine him with the quarterback that he plays with, that’s why they’re almost impossible to stop. You see them do it week-in and week-out, year after year and how talented they are, but just how good of football players they are together. Just how smart he is and knows when to speed it up, knows when to slow it down. His hands are great. He’s physical. And you can’t ever do it with just one guy and you can’t sleep on him because the whole game, no matter what happens, situational football, those guys are as automatic as it gets.”
There wasn’t a whole lot of action being thrown to CB Ambry Thomas’ side of the field yesterday. I guess that means he played a pretty good game. How did he fair yesterday when you watched the film?
“Yeah, I thought he played a real good game. Especially that first half, he came out early in the first quarter and throwing his body around. [Dallas Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliot] Zeke got to him a couple times, just clean and that’s a guy you don’t want to have to tackle who gets a head-start like that clean. And he threw his body in there and took it and got him down, which I was real impressed with. I thought [defensive coordinator] DeMeco [Ryans] did a good job mixing the coverages up, sometimes cloud and sometimes not. And trying to keep them a little bit off, which makes it a little bit harder for guys to isolate on who they want to attack, but I was real impressed with the Ambry’s game.”
George seems to be less productive facing man-coverage as opposed to zone. Is there anything that he can do to be more productive in that situation? Or is there something that you’ve been working on with him to get more open?
“No, that’s stuff that we work on all the time and George has done a great job of that throughout his career. The more healthy he’s gotten throughout and when he is more healthy, it helps him a lot more. But I wouldn’t say that was the issue in the game. It’s just mixing in things when they have help over the middle, we’ve thrown to George a lot in those situations and people kind of know that, so they go to stop him there. And we have to do a better job of finding other ways to get him the ball, but I also know when he is attracting coverages that makes it a hell of a lot easier to get other people in some good situations. But George usually comes around. He’ll end up getting his balls.”
You’ve obviously had two great wins the last two weeks, but you got down 17 and then you almost lost a 16-point lead. Maybe a stupid question, but is this going to take a more complete performance against the Packers, would you suspect?
“You always expect that. You always expect that when you’ve got people up like that and you’ve got a chance to finish them, that if you don’t, you’re going to give them a chance to get back and lose it. And if you always expect it that if you get down 17 points, it’s also a lot harder to come back, but every game is one game. So, when you get in these games, you have to not get too caught up in whatever’s going on and just go one play at a time and just try to keep coming at people, whether you have the lead or whether you’re behind, it doesn’t totally matter. You don’t want it to change your mindset and you always prepare that we need to play a lot better like that to win this week, especially going up to Lambeau, but I felt the same way going to Dallas, same way going to the Rams. You have to play really good football to beat these guys and we’ll see what that takes on Sunday, but whatever it takes I’m hoping we find a way.”
You had mentioned your connection to the 49ers and Cowboys rivalry last week. I’m just curious, given the history at Lambeau Field, what going there in January means to you, given the way you’ve observed the game as a child and through your coaching career?
“It’s pretty cool. Anytime you can go play there in the winter, I would prefer not to, to tell you the truth. It’s a little bit cold for me, but, I’ll be dressed warm. I don’t have to play, so I can load up with a bunch of layers. And just to be there in that atmosphere though is real cool. I haven’t gotten to do that since, I think it was our Monday Night game that we went last time. And that atmosphere was crazy and to go there in the playoffs with the caliber team that they have, with the quarterback that they have, it is going to be a real special game. It’s going to be a huge challenge and it’s going to be something that I, myself, and I know everyone involved with us, will remember for our lives.”
What’s the status of a couple of guys that were inactive yesterday, S Talanoa Hufanga and LB Marcell Harris, where are they at right now?
“They’re both in the same category. They both have a chance to practice on Wednesday. Marcell is dealing with some Achilles tendonitis and Huf still has his knee issues. They’ll try to get back out to practice there and they’ll be day-to-day as the week goes.”
Another couple special teams mistakes, whether you call the fake punt one, maybe that was on the regular defense. I’m not sure. And the personal foul on the punt block. I don’t know if CBS was supposed to say that you told them that at this point, you’re just trying not to lose games on special teams. It certainly sounded like you weren’t too happy with it generally. Where are the special teams in your mind? How is it going?
“For one, I always feel that way on special teams. My number one goal is to not lose on special teams. It means I’m not just going into games trying to dictate the flow games through fakes. I usually want depend on offense, but special teams, the starting point is to not lose it, to not turn the ball over, to make sure we get the ball back. So, that’s not just because of now. But yesterday with the special teams, those two plays were huge. Our defense rebounded huge on it, but it did cost us three points on one, on the fake punt. The way we started out that second half, having them backed up. [WR] River [Cracraft] and [LB Mark] Nzeocha, Nzeocha got here two weeks ago, River got off the practice squad about a month ago, and they both have been helping us out a ton on special teams. They’re two of the guys that have made us improve here over the last month, but they got a little too overzealous trying to block that punt and made a huge mistake. And fortunately, our D went three-and-out after it, but you give a team opportunities like that, it makes it tough to protect that lead like we had. And that would be something that would be very hard to get away with going into Lambeau.”
Have you had any communication with Green Bay Packers head coach Matt LaFleur since that game you guys played Week 3? I seem to recall a little bit of a frosty postgame handshake, what’s your relationship like with him?
“No, Matt’s my guy. Matt and I are totally good. I was pissed after that game because of how that game just ended. That was a tough one. It took a while to get over, but we’re good. I talk to Matt a lot. He’s done a hell of a job this year. I’ve been real happy for him, but that stops this week.”