Head Coach Kyle Shanahan Press Conference

Head Coach Kyle Shanahan

Press Conference – January 25, 2024

San Francisco 49ers

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Opening comments:

“Alright guys, injuries for today: [WR] Deebo [Samuel] will be limited, everyone else is the same.”


I guess that means Deebo’s shoulder is feeling a little bit better?

“Enough to be limited.”


We’ve seen how you handled the final minutes of the first half. Do you ever feel that anxiety that people in the stands feel when the clock is ticking? How long did it take for you to kind of arrive at that’s the way you want to handle the end of first half situations?

“Just going through it all and trying it in ’19. Seeing our success with that matched up with the 20 years of stats we got before that.”


On Saturday, did you handle it the way you wanted to or did a little bit too much time go off the clock?

“No, we handled it the way we wanted to. We ended up kicking on fourth down, didn’t we? That’s right, right?


Yes, you had to throw away before that.

“Right. When you’re thinking about that, it’s not times it’s downs. So the plays would’ve been the same. On the second down before that, we tried to get an explosive and then you check it down and then it goes to third and two. Then now if we would’ve not saved any time, it would’ve been third-and-two in the same situation with about I can’t remember exactly, but I want to guess 40 seconds. Now everything’s down to that third-and-two. Now if you don’t get that third-and-two, now the other team has the ball back with 40 seconds and three timeouts and now it’s a totally different game. At that time we’re up seven to six. Worst-case scenario, I feel we’re going into halftime up seven to six. I’d like it to be second-worst case scenario, 10 to six knowing we’ll make the field goal. We’re starting with the ball in the third quarter, so we can have a chance to lap them. I still believe if we get the right look, which we almost did, the MIKE was just a little bit too deep, now we’re inside the 10 and we have two shots at the end zone where you have a chance to go up 14 to six and get the ball first in the third quarter and now you’re up 21 to six. The game has completely been changed for that reason. Now, they didn’t give us the big shot. So now we came to a third-and-two. Well, at least that whole half wasn’t on the line on the third-and-two. We knew exactly what we had. We still went for it, but we didn’t get it. Now we can kick our field goal and they’re never going to touch the ball again. So those are the stats. It took me a while to believe it, just like all you guys obviously. There’s too much history with it. There’s too much time. I believe that really helps us have a good record.”


QB Brock Purdy said he was a little overly aggressive against the Packers, that there were check-downs he could’ve hit and liked to have hit. Is that something you’ve been talking to him about?

“It’s something I talk to every quarterback out every single day I’ve ever coached. It’s crazy how many questions we’re getting about every one of Brock’s decisions. I’m starting to realize it because I get preview before all this. Yeah, sometimes when quarterbacks make bad decisions, forcing it deep, they should check it down. Sometimes when they check it down and a guy hits the guy right away, they’re like I had that over the top. Brock’s as good as any quarterback I’ve had at making those decisions. It does not mean he’s perfect. Try to find me that guy.”


Is there a moment in a game this year or a practice where you see T Trent Williams moving in space and just sort of marvel at how a guy that size has feet and moves like he does?

“Almost every day except for walk-through. He refuses to bend his knees in walk-through. It’s more to mess with me. You should have seen his workout last week. After having a week off and him just being in there deadlifting and doing box jumps and stuff. You would have thought he was a 24-year-old specimen. Instead, he is 35-year-old specimen. So I’m sure he’ll be a 40-year-old specimen too. So, I trust the man.”


Now that you guys have been through this for the last several years, does it feel like any other week or is the magnitude of the game there still a little bit?

“It feels like the playoffs. The playoffs always feel different. Just everyone is so alert. Everyone’s so on it. Everyone’s so patient outside of here in terms of, at least for me, sleep at the office if you need to. Don’t worry. You make sure you get it right. I’m sure the players are the same. Everyone just knows it’s it if you don’t win. So I’d like to say you focus as hard as you can every week, but when you get to these situations, it’s a little bit different. It makes it a lot more fun.”


Last year guys said that one of the hardest parts of swallowing that loss was how hard it’s to climb the mountain again. You can’t just snap your fingers. How hard is it to get back to this point year in and year out?

“It’s very hard. When you go into January every year to February. I don’t even know what the date is. I think it’s getting close to February. It’s just long. But you always feel after, whether you lose a NFC Championship, whether you lose a Super Bowl. You ask anybody, whether it’s one of them, whether it’s two of them. After that it’s like, oh my God, that took so much and was so long to get there. How can you ever do that again? That’s why you go through your own little depression for a day, a week, a couple months, whatever it is. Usually by the time March hits though, and you’re starting to look at free agency, you’re starting to look at the Draft, you’re starting to look at your board of what your team is now, how you can improve it to the next season, you always get right back there if you like what you do. But you definitely need a break after it. Everybody does because it’s hard to do it at that high of a level just mentally and physically for the guys for this long of a time.”


What does it say about your team that you have a group of guys that have been able to do it so many times in the last five years?

“That’s what I like about our guys the most, football’s very important to them. When we were a lot younger in ‘19, when we did it, we were second pick in the Draft with the four and 12 teams to all of a sudden 13 and three going there. So it was more. You didn’t really know. You didn’t know what type of year it was going to be. You kind of just fell into it. Then you come back and you think about all that stuff the next year. The next year during that COVID year and all those guys we lost up in New York and losing our quarterback and [DL] Nick [Bosa] and a number of people. It just ended so fast. Then the COVID stuff was so weird. Then you get to the next offseason and guys just now they know how bad a season sucks when you don’t do good and how much more fun it is when you are in that and you’re playing for games at the end of playoffs. That’s what I think we learned in both of those two years. We snuck in, not snuck in, but we earned to get in on that last game in 2021 and then made a run to get to the Championship. Last year we went on a big win streak to get, I forget what seed we were, but guys start to get used to how hard it is to get there, how important it is to get there. That’s why I think our veterans have been different a little bit in the offseason. Not necessarily just we’re going to work harder or do this or that, but it’s just a little bit more deliberate in everything you do. You know it’s not about just being ready for training camp. It’s not about just winning a job. It’s about how to do this as a team. We’ve got a lot of good individuals, but I feel like we’ve thought as a team a lot since ’19.”


Against Green Bay on the 39-yard touchdown run by RB Christian McCaffrey, looked like TE Charlie Woerner might have been on the wrong side of the formation. The mics picked up Brock saying, ‘stay there, stay there.’ What was going on that play? Was he on the wrong side of the formation? Was that a heads up play by Purdy?

“No, we changed plays. We balanced it out on which way we were going to run. Then he was supposed to flip then motion. We were just too late in the count. So Brock, instead of having him flip then motion, he just took the motion off and left him there because we were low on the play clock. It was an awesome job. We would’ve had a delay of game or if he would’ve just sent that we would’ve had to snap and it had no one blocked. So it was him having good awareness of what everyone’s doing on a run play.”


With Brock missing those check downs early but then self-correcting in the fourth quarter on the final drive. Does that encourage you that he left that behind and going into this game?

“No, it’s different. The third-and-10 on the last drive, I’d say it should have probably been a check down on that unbelievable throw. He threw way over, I forget who it was, and [WR] Jauan [Jennings] came in out of nowhere and caught it. I thought that was a check down until Jauan caught it. So, it’s playing the game. Like yeah, you judge everything, but you’ve got to try to play the game and you’ve got to try to win. If it’s just automatic all the time, they’re deep check down, they’re tight, throw it deep. Yeah, that’s how it should work out, but you’re in a pocket and you’re playing a sport. You’re not reviewing it like a coach with a film after and you’re not just asking questions based off of stuff. He’s got to play. That’s why yeah, on the last drive, he did some good on that. But it wasn’t just as consistent as the questions.”


What did you think to see both Christian and Brock named MVP finalist?

“That’s what they deserve. The way they played all year, the way they played last year, both of them at their positions as good as anybody at quarterback and running back I’ve been around. Also I watched football for a long time. There’s a lot of good players in this league. So that sucks that one person’s got to get all those awards, but those guys are right there with those other guys.”


How important is the 12th man going to be on Sunday?

“We don’t call them the 12th man here. But our crowd’s very important. Our crowd, I think, is the best in football. They travel extremely well. They don’t have to travel this week. I hear the Lions fans travel pretty well. We love having a home-field advantage. Our defense more than anything. Our players coming out of the tunnel. We want to win it here. It’s a huge deal. It affects everybody. I think always in sports, everyone likes playing at home, but in football when it’s loud, that truly is an advantage. That truly messes up what one side of the ball can do on the other team. That’s why it’s very important that we’re loud.”


The defensive line obviously did affect Green Bay Packers QB Jordan Love at times in particularly late, but given the investment, the millions and millions, when you see zero sacks in a playoff game, are you like that’s not acceptable?

“No, I don’t go in there and say, look at these millions, look at the zero sacks. This isn’t acceptable. I go in there and I look at how we won. How it came.”


Are you ever like is something off?

“No, if you’ve got a four man rush and people are chipping every time and the back’s staying to help, which means you have eight guys in protection. There’s one quarterback. There’s two guys out on a route and seven guys in coverage. Probably not going to get many sacks, but I don’t think you’re going to give up many points either. So there’s a balance out to it. Yeah, we want more sacks. Definitely. But how are guys going to play us? How are we going to do it? I liked how our D-Line played.”