Head Coach Kyle Shanahan Press Conference

Head Coach Kyle Shanahan

Press Conference – January 22, 2024

San Francisco 49ers

Listen to Audio I Media Center


Opening comments:

“Alright guys, same thing from Saturday night. Just got [WR] Deebo [Samuel] with his shoulder from the injuries from the game.”


Is there any specifics as far as how the imaging came back on Deebo’s shoulder?

“It wasn’t broken. So that that was a real good sign. But still hurting too much for us to really have an idea how it’s going to heal up this week. So, we’ve just got to be patient, see how he feels on Wednesday. Based off if it’s improving, it’ll give us a better idea whether he has a chance for the game or not.”


Because he is such a unique player, do you kind of put together an idea of certain plays that would involve him that you may not be able to run Sunday?

“Yes. If we know he is not available, which I think hopefully we would know that by Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, or at least in those three days, then it makes it easier at least from a game-plan standpoint you don’t have to do much. But if there’s any chance, which I think we’ll have a better idea by Wednesday, obviously there’ll be things in there for him.”


Did he get hurt on the same play that put him in the concussion tent?

“Yes. That was just from spotters upstairs. His head was fine. It was the shoulder and only the shoulder. But I think it looked live like he possibly could have taken a hit in the head. So that was just people from upstairs.”


How much confidence does it give you that you have a veteran like WR Chris Conley who can take over when he’s called upon?

“A ton. That’s why guys like him and [WR] Willie Snead [IV] are here. It comes up. You never know when. It came up last year for us too. Those guys had to step in, Willie huge. Then having both of them this year, and they’ve both done it in different games throughout the year for us, whether special teams or offense. That was a big-time play that Chris made in that game.”


What were your first impressions of watching Detroit?

“Just, really good team. You can see why they’re here. Their defense runs around, hits, plays with a lot of energy, got a number of players over there and then their offense is as good as it gets. They’ve got a great O-Line, great quarterback, two great running backs, great tight end and a bunch of good wideouts who play the right way. And a hell of a scheme. So, pretty obvious to see why they’ve been so good this year.”


After the game, LB Dre Greenlaw didn’t seem quite as remorseful for not getting down, but obviously you’ve talked to him and I would assume that he feels a little bit more remorseful now?

“I think he’s glad that it ended the way it did and I don’t think he’ll ever make that mistake again. We didn’t get on him too hard, but he could tell how big of a deal it was after. We’re very appreciative he made the play, but stuff can flip very fast and you can ruin some of the best plays ever if you give a team any more of a chance. The way that game was going, we didn’t need to give them any more chances. So, I think he learned his lesson. Hopefully we’ll never have to deal with that again.”


How would you say DB Deommodore Lenoir played the other night? Is there something about the way he’s wired that allows him to seem like he steps up even more in the postseason?

“Yeah, there’s no doubt about it. I think Demo plays at a level that I think that’s higher than most guys, just from a mentality standpoint. He doesn’t hesitate, he shoots his guns all the time, doesn’t blink, plays extremely physical, is on guys. He’s mentally aggressive and he’s physically aggressive, which allows you to make plays and allows you to get away with things sometimes when you’re a little off. So, Demo was huge. He’s been huge all year. I love the style of how he plays.”


With the penalties from CB Ambry Thomas, is it a lack of confidence or a lack of awareness? What is the coaching point on that this week?

“They’re all different. You can’t grab guys. So, it has to do sometimes with staying closer to them so you don’t grab them when they make the second move. So, that could be on one. The other one down the field, yes, that’s not all on him. He needs a little bit more help and stuff. But in that down and distance, you’ve got to stay on top of that so you can flatten things when you’re digging out from behind. Any balls under thrown like that, it’s extremely, extremely hard to avoid the contact with the receiver going up for the ball. So he’s got to make sure to get himself in better positions before he ends up in that tough position.”


The ball to WR Ray-Ray McCloud III on your second to last drive, the deep ball at third-and-10 at the 40, was there a miscommunication there?

“Yeah, the DB fell down. The quarterback can’t see when the DB falls down. He is looking at other things and then going and expecting the receiver to be somewhere and he wasn’t there. The guy fell down and Ray-Ray moved to a different spot. You can understand what Ray-Ray was thinking, but the quarterback isn’t watching that guy until he is throwing it. So, that was a good learning experience for him and something that does happen in football but it was really unfortunate time that happened right there.”


Obviously each play is different, but regarding QB Brock Purdy’s inaccuracy throughout the game, how much do you think that had to do with the conditions and just a wet ball?

“I think it did a little bit with I think a couple. Even just watching [Green Bay Packers QB Jordan] Love too. You watch the first play of the game that he had on that swing route, the ball’s slipping, throwing in front of the guy. There’s a couple that got him. So there’s definitely a few that got Brock, a few that he probably just missed trying to throw around a guy so it doesn’t get tipped and a couple that you just can’t explain, that just do happen. You usually have a couple in the game, but then you add a couple more with weather and a couple more just not being exactly on the throw. He had a few too many of them. He also made some hell of a throws too. Dropping some of those balls over that middle linebacker to get to [WR] Jauan [Jennings] was unbelievable. The low and away ball to B.A. [WR Brandon Aiyuk] on third down when they had pretty tight coverage on it. It was a hell of a throw and a hell of a catch that kept us out there, after the drop. So, he did a lot of good things too. By no means was he perfect, but it was really cool when we needed him to be at his best, he was. So, it gave us the best chance to win at the end.”


What have you learned from the previous weeks when you’ve prepared for NFC Championship Games? What’s your strategy in terms of getting ready? Is it the same as the regular season or is there anything that you’ve learned to focus on differently?

“No, nothing’s different. The stakes and everything and people care about it a lot more because there’s nothing guaranteed after it if you don’t handle business. So you understand experience is cool because you get to feel those moments and you know you’ve been through it before. But in terms of the football game, there’s nothing different. Still the same time, still all the same rules and that’s really all it’s about. So your experience tells you, you better not make stuff up because it’s the NFC Championship Game. You’ve got to do exactly what you believe in, which is how you spend every minute to give you the best chance to perform your best in those three hours when it matters.”


On the broadcast they showed RB Christian McCaffrey’s quad getting worked on. Is there any issue there at all or was it just maybe a hit to his quad?

“No, I heard about that on the TV cast because some of my family members asked me about it. But that’s just what Christian to me always does. He’s always working on his body and stuff. I was told nothing about his quad.”

How do you think DL Arik Armstead played and how did he come through it?

“I thought Arik did a hell of a job. He was able to stay out there a little bit more than expected. I think the injury that he’s had that he’s been trying to get through, I think it handled the game better than expected. I think it was hard for him to be out there that long and stuff just getting him in football shape and everything. Hopefully he’ll take a step forward in that this week, but I think in terms of how he played and the old injury that he had, I think it was a huge success.”


You guys had a ton of success running empty all season and that really didn’t change against the Packers on Saturday. What makes that formation so difficult to defend? Is it as simple as having five eligibles being able to hurt a defense or is it knowing that they can only run a certain number of coverages against that? What was your assessment of the offensive line after watching the game because it seemed like Brock had a ton of time to scan the field and then Christian had a number of carries where he wasn’t touched until four or five yards up the field?

“Yeah, empty spreads it out so the quarterback can see it better. When you’ve got five eligibles out wide, everyone kind of knows the protection you’re in. But when they blitz and they go the opposite way of the center, they bring one more than you’re protecting, it’s a little easier to see where the holes are so you can get rid of it quicker. We’ve also got some pretty good eligibles in space. Our quarterback does a good job of finding the right guy to go to. I thought our O-Line did a real good job. They had a huge challenge versus some of those players they were going against, tough guys to block. They definitely, give a lot of credit to Green Bay. They were real tough defense. There were some tough guys to block. But our guys grinded through that whole game. They gave the quarterback some good windows and some time to throw, especially at the end of the game. They were able to pave some ways for us to run it in and to eventually do a good job running the ball.”


How big was it to get Jauan Jennings back and for him to contribute like he did, especially after Deebo left?

“Oh, it’s huge, especially losing Deebo there too. Jauan, he always contributes, and I think people see it more times. Obviously, people see it more when he catches the ball. But Jauan has an impact when he is ever out there on the field, whether it’s the run game or the pass game. He stepped it up big for us. He’s one of the biggest warriors out on the field. I love that he’s on our team.”


Last week, you said the Packers numbers don’t really match up with how they play on the field. Do you get the same sense watching that with the Lions because Detroit Lions defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn is aggressive. What are your thoughts on him?

“I’ll see more as the week goes, but I would assume so. We’re just getting into them right now. So, I’m not far enough along with them, but I mean they look like a top defense. Numbers don’t always show it, but when you watch it from afar you can tell they’re running around making plays. You’re familiar with a number of their players that we played in the past or coming out of college. Anytime you tie that type of deal with a really good offense like they have, then the defense is always much better in that case, even if the numbers don’t show it. So, that’s what we’ll work on all week here. I won’t be surprised if we end up feeling that same way.”