Head Coach Kyle Shanahan Press Conference

Head Coach Kyle Shanahan

Press Conference – January 24, 2024

San Francisco 49ers

Listen to Audio I Media Center


Opening comments:

“For practice today, we’ve just got [WR] Deebo [Samuel], his shoulder. He won’t practice. Everyone else is full.”


How is Deebo feeling?

“He’s feeling better.”


Does that make you more optimistic about his availability for Sunday?

“It makes me feel better.”


What is his exact injury? Is it a separation, a bruise, dislocation, a fracture?

“Just his shoulder hurts.”


Just pain?

“That’s all, yeah. It just hurts.”


T Trent Williams got that penalty in the third quarter and I think everybody agreed that there was a fair amount of acting involved in that. Is there any concern that’s become a tactic for other teams to sort of goat him in doing something like that just given what’s happened last year in the Championship Game and some other games?

“I’m sure it is. It’s our tactic with everybody. Everybody does that stuff. There’s a very fine line between it. I didn’t think Trent crossed it, but when the flag comes, you crossed it. So you’ve got to find out what that line is, how the game’s going, and if you get a penalty, you’re wrong.”


How do you feel about the overall depth of the offense beyond just the quarterback going into the NFC Championship Game, but across the board on offense?

“Pretty good. I think we’ve gone through some stuff this year, like all teams do, which has allowed guys to play in a lot of spots. But going into this final game, just having Deebo on there is pretty good.”


You mentioned the other day with DB Deommodore Lenoir that he plays from a mentality standpoint at a higher level than most guys. Is that something he came in with and it’s grown or is it something you had to coach?

“No, I think he came in with that right away. He’s the one in rookie camp who got me fined right away for jamming someone too hard and putting it on the internet. So it took me a little bit of time to get over that. But he’s always had that mentality. I think as all rookies do, you go through some ups and downs early in the year. So I think at times he lost that a little bit, but that was more not because that’s not who he is, that’s more just trying to figure out this mental part and the scheme part of the game. But, Demo’s always been a bulldog. I think that’s why he plays such a high level.”


What are your impressions of the Lions cornerbacks?

“They play with their defense. They make some plays. Their whole defense, you see in numbers, and you see 31st I think in the pass game. But then when you watch the tape you kind of realize how they are. They’re aggressive in what they do. They mix everything up, which makes them susceptible to big plays. They’re also fourth in causing negatives. I think they’re leading the league in the last five games in turnovers. If not, they’re top-five or something like that. They’re a team that really is very aggressive in what they do, which is going to make you hit or miss. But they cause more negative plays than I think anyone in the NFL. I want to say it was fourth on the whole year. They tie right into that.”


You called Detroit Lions QB Jared Goff a couple days ago a great quarterback. What do you respect about him and how has he improved since he’s been in Detroit?

“I think he’s shown some of the stuff that he did in L.A. You go with Jared, he built for a number of years, especially, I think ‘17, ‘18, really ‘18. He played at MVP-type level. When they give him a good scheme, when he’s got good people around him, Jared’s going to always find the spot. He’s as accurate as any quarterback I’ve seen. He can play at a very top level. If you sit and make things easy for him, he will gash you. I’ve seen it over and over, whether he’s with the Rams, whether he is with Detroit. That’s why he challenges you. You better be on your stuff or you can embarrass you fast.”


How does your strategy change at all when you’re going against a coach that will take huge gambles and will be super aggressive?

“Not much. You’re aware of it, so you understand it, you prepare for it. When it’s third down, they might have two tries a lot more than other teams do. But just percentage-wise, they’re willing to go for fake punts and all that stuff. Those guys are trying to steal possessions as much as they can. I’ll tell you after the game whether that’s a good thing or bad thing for us. Anytime you try to steal possessions, you’re also offering an opportunity to lose possession. So those are opportunities for them, but they’re also big opportunities for us too. You come up with more than half of them, I feel it’s in our favor.”


What was your assessment of your run defense the other night? When you look at the Lions run game, what kind of challenges do they present?

“I think it was obviously not good enough. We gave up our first 100-yard rusher in a while. Way too many explosives. They got outside on us too many times. We’re going to have a huge challenge this week. The Lions, regardless of who they play, they stick with the run. They do it every game. It’s a big part of what they do. They’re very balanced. I think they’re very similar to our offense. That’ll be a huge challenge this week.”


How did S Ji’Ayir Brown make it through practice last week? Is there a chance to get back on the field this week?

“Yeah, there’s a chance. I thought he ended the week real well and I expect him to be that much better this week because of it.”


You obviously thought a lot of LB Fred Warner’s skillset when you drafted him and you put him right in the lineup. His evolution of a leader, is that something you noticed about him right away or is it something that’s kind of gone as you had him?

“It’s a lot easier to be a great leader the better player you are. There’s not many really good leaders who aren’t really good players. It’s really hard for that to last. Guys eventually aren’t going to listen to you unless you’re balling on the field. So Fred came in with the capabilities of being a great leader. I’m sure he was in at his college. I’m not sure. But just the way he carries himself, how hard of a worker he is, how consistent he is, just the character of the type of man he is, the effort he does. It’s all about that. The way he can speak to guys, hold guys accountable. He got better and better because he played better and better. When you do that, people want to listen to you regardless if you talk well. But Fred does. He speaks well. Guys, they know what he does all year. So when you put in that type of work and it looks that way on the field, when Fred says something, you’ve got to listen. He’s earned that respect in every facet of his game.”


QB Brock Purdy seemed like he didn’t have a rhythm in his first three quarters of the game against Green Bay. After you watched the film, was it Green Bay? Was it the wet ball? What do you think took him out of his rhythm?

“I think it wasn’t just Brock. I think it was our whole offense. They did some good things. They stopped us. We couldn’t complete a couple third downs. We had a big penalty that made us miss one. I’m sure a few balls got away in the rain, like they always do, like I think it did from the other quarterback also. I also thought that was a good defense we were going against. I thought they were a challenge. We knew it’d be a challenge going into the week. We would like to have done better, but the way Brock finished on that last drive, not just him but everybody. It was a little here and there. We were able to overcome some of our mistakes in the last drive than we did earlier in the game. Even the drops, things like that. I wouldn’t put it all on just Brock. Brock did some really good things and that would’ve been impossible to win the game without him.”


What challenges do you have looking at the Lions defense schematically and also personnel-wise and just trying to pick them apart and figure out which areas to attack?

“They’re different almost every week. So, you’ve kind of got to see that in the game and how they play. They’ll switch stuff up. If they get on beat on something, it’s going to be something different next time. So, the consistency is they’re going to attack and be aggressive. But it’s not in terms of just coverages, fronts and all that stuff. They’re running around trying to create confusion, trying to create negative plays. That’s how they get their turnovers. That’s how they don’t mind giving you a lot of stuff and all of a sudden they create a negative play on second down and you’re in third-and-15. Really, I feel that’s their goal to the game. You saw that with Tampa. There was three of their drives they were moving the ball really well. Whether it was second down or third down, they made a mistake and just like that they were off the field and really had to surrender on third-and-long. They’re opportunistic and they create it. When you pair that with a really good offense, it only takes a couple drives for the whole game to change up real fast.”


What were your impressions of WR Jauan Jennings blocking a guy into the Gatorade? Is he your most ferocious run-blocking wide receiver you coach?

“Probably. What he did on that, taking the guy into the Gatorade, it’s what he does every play out at practice. Our defense tried to fight him all last year because they thought he was going above and beyond. The next day in the meeting I had to show them what he does every single play and say it’s not personal, this is just how he blocks. He stops after the whistle. He just drives into people, puts his face and hands into people and never stops. When it’s over, he usually goes back to the huddle. But usually people take it personal, but it’s not personal. That’s just what he does.”


Is that a unique thing that he can play that way to the whistle? I don’t recall him getting any penalties for unnecessary roughness?

“No, he’s caused a lot. But that’s kind of what I mean. That’s what I had to show our defense. That’s how he always is. You almost want to warn refs too because it looks like he’s going out there and doing it, he’s just playing to the whistle. He takes that whistle very literally. He’s playing until the whistle. Usually when that whistle comes, he’s in the middle of driving into someone. When that happens, they both end up on the ground.”


Your team has one of the lower touchback rates in the League. What’s the strategy of kicking short? How do you think it’s worked out for you guys in general?

“We don’t always have that strategy. Sometimes we do. But it’s just not guaranteed that you’re going to always kick it back there. Usually we would like to. There have been times that we’ve asked them not to earlier in the year. But for the most part we’re usually trying to get touchbacks.”


You said Saturday you thought the coaching staff had an off day that the team felt off and you made some mistakes. Now a couple days after, why do you think that was and how do you fix it?

“That’s just because that happens every game. That’s just me answering questions, honestly. I thought it was very balanced. There wasn’t like, man, we played awesome on offense today or awesome on defense and just this side of the ball. I thought everyone just didn’t play the best they could, but that also sounds like an excuse. I thought Green Bay did a hell of a job. I thought there was a couple things that we missed, but they caused a lot of it. I also think we did a hell of a job winning the game because of how we played in the fourth quarter. So, I think all that stuff tied into it. When we do awesome, I still have the same answer. I can’t tell you guys how many things when you guys think we did really good that we don’t talk about in there what we did really good. We just talked about the eight or the 20 or the 16, or whatever it is, plays that we didn’t do our best on.”


On the long kickoff return, was that a plan to be taken through the end zone or was it strategic?

“No, that was just short.”


Before your last punt, that could have been a long field goal attempt, 58, I think it would’ve been. Did you think about it? Do you think K Jake Moody sort of has that kind of range at times?

“I think he does. If we’ve got to have it, yeah, we can attempt it from there. But no, I wasn’t trying to attempt to 58 at that moment in the game.”


Looking at Detroit Lions WR Amon-Ra St. Brown, is he going to give you a headache or how are you going to cover him?

“The best we can. He’s a really good football player. They get him the ball in a number of different ways. So there’s no way to just cover a guy. You don’t just say cover him in man, cover him in zone. It’s about defending the team and the scheme. When you do that, you usually makes it harder for a good player too. If you don’t, their scheme gets going, they run the ball well, they throw the ball, whatever it is and you’re just trying to defend both then you’re going to get a guy like that good looks. When you get a guy like that, good looks, it’s similar to when you get guys like we have good looks. It’s not easy to stop him.”


Is there a chance that CB Charvarius Ward follows him, shadows him?

“There’s always a chance.”