Head Coach Kyle Shanahan Press Conference
Head Coach Kyle Shanahan
Press Conference – January 5, 2024
San Francisco 49ers
“Injuries for this week, [DL Arik] Armstead will be out. [RB Christian] McCaffrey out. [TE] Ross Dwelley out. [CB] Ambry Thomas out. [S Tashaun] Gip [Gipson Sr.] will be out. [S] Ji’Ayir [Brown] is out. [OL Jon] Feliano’s questionable. [WR] Jauan Jennings, questionable. [WR] Ray-Ray [McCloud III] and [WR] Danny [Gray] are questionable.”
Did you say Ambry Thomas?
In which category?
How is Ray-Ray coming along and where do you make the decision on when to bring him up?
“It’s a technicality, but we’ve already made the decision. He’ll be up.”
You have to make a corresponding move?
Has that been done?
“We haven’t told the person yet.”
What about CB Jason Verrett? Is Sunday an opportunity to get him some time?
“It was. He was going to play a lot. Yesterday, he landed on his shoulder and he has to get rotator cuff surgery. We all know when he tore his ACL in Detroit, Week One on that turf, took about a year and a half to get back from it. Then he got his Achilles just on air last year on the field. He was practicing his butt off all week. We were going to play him a lot in this game. He has been awesome here this last month. He jumped up for a ball and just came down on his shoulder in awkward position. It happens to a lot of guys so it’s crushing for him but also, it was a shoulder injury. It wasn’t like a knee or a leg, but you do have to get surgery for that stuff. So, he found that out this morning.”
Was there an indication when he went down that it was potentially serious?
“Yeah, because it looked like it was so we all just held our breath and hoped, but he popped up so fast because he was hoping it wasn’t and kind of moved his arm. Then he just kept practicing and going. So, we just assumed that it just hurt him a little bit, but it’s not too bad of an injury. He looked great in practice, but he was holding his arm a little bit. We said we might need to go get an MRI, he was hoping not to. So he is like, no, I think I’m good. He slept on it, came in this morning and it was still hurting. So we got the MRI and showed he had a tear and needed surgery.”
What kind of recovery time is that?
“I think they usually say six months, but I think it’s usually like four or five.”
I assume his spirits weren’t real good?
“No. We talked to him right when it happened. He handles it like he does everything, like a man, but I know how it is. He’s going to be pretty down for a little bit. I hope he hangs around here because we all love him around here. I think that could help him. This will pass like, like it always does. He had a long road to get back to this point and I just told him I can’t believe how good he’s looked. I didn’t think it would ever be possible to come back from what he has, with all the knees and the Achilles and everything and he did. He looked great in Houston. He looked great here. It was a perfect opportunity for him to play this week just so he could play a lot and see how he was going into the playoffs. He got a random shoulder injury, just tried to put in perspective for him. It’s not like you got your knee again, it’s not like you got your Achilles or anything. That’s something you can come back from, but I don’t think that’s stuff on his mind right now.”
Have you made a final decision about whether T Trent Williams will play this game?
“Yeah, he’s playing.”
It seems like you have your inactives already set. Why is that?
“Yeah, we got seven guys. [QB] Brock’s [Purdy] the only one that could play who isn’t and he can be up in an emergency. But those are our seven guys. Got two guys up off practice squad. It is going to be a challenge with some of those guys. It’s not like I want Trent and a number of people out there for a while. So, we got to balance it out right. But those guys got to get their minds right, ready to play.”
Has Jauan Jennings cleared through protocol now?
“No, he’s got another step.”
OL Jaylon Moore has cleared through protocol?
“Yes, Jaylon Moore has.”
Your practice squad, 16 guys, a lot of veteran guys. What have you seen from the level of commitment of how those guys practice and even going back a couple weeks ago to LB Curtis Robinson who could have left but decided to stay here. What does that mean to you and how much do they kind of share in the success of the team?
“So much. I hate even the title of practice squad because it sounds like you’re just like a walk-on or something and it couldn’t be any more the opposite. I mean practice squads have that title because they’re not on the 53-man roster and we get two up and we have to cut someone to not do that. But they are a part of this team as anyone. That’s why they travel with us. That’s why they’re on the field. That’s why they do everything. We only can get two of them up on game day. If you don’t have the right people on practice squad, it’s really tough to be successful throughout the year. You need people on practice squad to develop them because there’s nowhere else to develop people. But you also need people on practice squad who are ready to play because in this league there’s very rarely threes and people get injured a lot. You put some guys you’re just trying to develop in these situations and that’s too much to put on those guys. So being able to mix that with vets and rookies. Those guys are a huge part of our team.”
You have a guy like Robinson who has a chance to leave. Do you try to convince him?
“No, you always want to convince guys to stay. For me to sell anything, it’s got to be right. That’s why I would probably be horrible at recruiting, unless it was a great situation. I think I’d be good at it. But no, those guys, it depends what these guys’ goals are. Sometimes you got to get in accured season for insurance purposes and stuff like that, which you got to be on the 53, so that’s a big deal. But you try to talk to young guys, if that’s your only goal, that’s not a great goal. Your goal should be to make it in this league. So you want to be places where you can kind of hide a little bit until you’re ready, if that’s going to happen. So that’s sometimes what I sell to people. Then when you hear him, I just read Curtis’ quote, I didn’t know about that. I never had to talk to Curtis because he decided on his own. We didn’t talk to him at all. For a guy like that, it shows he’s been around here for a little bit. He’s been awesome for us. He’s been on our team before, which he’s always on our team, but he’s been on the 53 too. For him to say that quote that he did, just the reasons he wants to stay. The stuff we say a lot on this team right now, everyone cares about themself and their family. I mean you always put that first usually, unless you’re really abnormal, you got Pro Bowls and all that stuff coming out. But like when you go runs like this and you’re in these type of situations, it’s just so much more about everybody else than one person. When you have guys like Curtis who feel that way, who aren’t exactly on the 53, it just shows you that he’s an awesome dude. For him to recognize the group he’s around is real cool too.”
You decided on OL Colton McKivitz to be your right tackle without pursuing a free agent. Is he what you expected or more than what you expected? How would you assess him?
“He is what we expected. He’s played like a really good right tackle. If we didn’t think he was going to be a really good right tackle, we would’ve gone and tried to get someone we thought would be a really good right tackle. He’s really earned our trust here. When he got to play last year when [OL] Mike [McGlinchey] was down, we thought he played at a very high level. When you get to see guys do that in practice and then carry it over to the field, it doesn’t make the guesswork that hard. That’s how it was with Brock Purdy the year before. There’s nothing you need to see. You saw it all. Are they made of the right stuff? Can they continue to do it? That stuff’s huge. I know that first game, you get sacks and that’s going to be what jumps out. But half those were my fault. I can’t call some of those passes and put him on [Pittsburgh Steelers LB] T.J. Watt at that time in the game, but Colton would never say that. Colton battles and isn’t worried about any of that stuff. I think he’s become one of the more confident players on our team. I think it shows over in the games.”