Head Coach Kyle Shanahan Press Conference

Head Coach Kyle Shanahan

Press Conference – October 11, 2021

San Francisco 49ers

Listen to Audio I Media Center

Opening comments:

“The injuries from the game. [LB] Marcell Harris had a right thumb fracture somewhere in the game, not sure where. He’s going to have surgery tomorrow. Should be good to go after the Bye Week, but we’ll have more details after the surgery. And then [QB] Trey Lance ended up having a left knee sprain. We’ll re-evaluate him at the end of the week to determine his status for next week. Really won’t know whether he’s got a chance versus Indy until next week, but he’s got a chance. Possibly one to two weeks. We’ll have to wait and see.”

Do you know when that injury occurred?

“I do not know and neither does he. He said he didn’t remember doing it at any time and he didn’t feel it until he said he was in bed last night.”

Did he already have an MRI on that?

“Yes, he did.”

And so, it’s obviously ruled out that it’s a long-term injury?

“Yeah, it’s not a long-term injury. But he’ll have to stay here on the Bye Week, get treatment and everything. So, we should have a good idea by the end of next week, whether he’s got a chance for Indy or not. If he doesn’t, they told me it should be like a one to two week thing, but possibly just one.”

Since we’re on the topic of injuries, is there any updates on LB Dre Greenlaw and some of the other guys that are either on IR or PUPs, DB Tarvarius Moore, RB Jeff Wilson Jr., etcetera? Are you expecting to get those guys back anytime soon? And for the PUP guys, obviously, it would be after this next week, I guess six weeks on PUP. But are there any updates on those guys coming back soon?

“Yeah, we’re hoping when we come back from the Bye Week, we’re hoping to have [QB] Jimmy [Garoppolo]. We’re hoping to have [CB] K’Waun [Williams]. And we think we have a possible chance at [RB JaMycal] Hasty. Greenlaw, outside chance, it’ll probably be another week or two after that. That’s about it.”

And then WR Jalen Hurd, is there any update?

“No updates on Hurd. Jeff Wilson, still on the same deal. We’re hoping for late November on Jeff Wilson.”

And Tarvarius Moore?

“I don’t have an update on Tarvarius right now.”

Why are you confident this team can make the playoffs?

“I didn’t say that. I’m trying to look at each game right now and we’ve lost three tough games in a row. Three games I think we could have won. We can clean things up and play a little bit better. So, I’m not thinking about that right now. I’m thinking about trying to beat Indy as soon as we come back from our Bye Week.”

What were your biggest coaching notes for Trey Lance’s after his first start?

“I was proud of him, I thought he went into a tough environment versus a real good team. I thought he did a lot of real good things. Threw a bad pick on that first drive, but I thought he bounced back well. I thought he was aggressive on what he saw. When he saw it right, he let it rip. When he didn’t think something was there, he ran aggressively. I thought he did a real good job through it all and handled the noise pretty well. And I thought it was a good first experience for him.”

Designed runs versus off-schedule, were you fine with the ratio there? Was it what you had thought? We asked you last night, but you kind of wanted to take a look at the film.

“Yeah, no, I was totally good with it. Designed runs, we did a few of them, not too many of the designed runs where it’s just him going. Most of those are options on it that you do it versus a certain look. But I thought it was a good mixture of it. Kept the defense honest in a bunch of stuff. Got them to play a certain way and once you do that, I thought it opened up a chance for us to make them pay on a few things that we missed.”

Were there times though where he should not have run and pulled up and threw the ball?

“Yeah, there was a couple of times in the game where you could have had a completion down the field instead of running, but there weren’t any that were drastically the wrong decision or anything like that. Even the one he threw a pick on, he could have ran for probably 15 yards on that, but the guy who he saw, he saw right, was open. And so, he decided to throw it instead to try to get the 15 yards in the air and didn’t make a wrong decision. It could have gone either way. The ball just sailed on him.”

On the play that he was stopped at the goal line, it seemed like there might’ve been a couple of options in the middle of the end zone. Maybe he could have flipped the ball to RB Elijah Mitchell at the end there. Is that Monday morning quarterbacking, or would you have liked to have seen him done something a little bit different rather than happened?

“I think it’s a little Monday morning quarterbacking. You run the play, and the first thing you try to do is hit the half back in the flat right away and they’ve got a guy outside there. And the design is to try to hit Juice [FB Kyle Juszczyk] who’s slides in from the backside, which the penetration clipped him a little bit. So he was a little bit behind, but that was an option for Trey to do. If you don’t have the legs, that’s where I would expect him to go, back to Juice. But Trey does have the legs so he kept running. He had a chance to get in there. I think he saw number nine [Arizona Cardinals LB Isaiah Simmons] in front of him and turned it up in there. And he didn’t see number 51 [Arizona Cardinals LB Tanner Vallejo] coming from inside, who I think surprised him. The guys made a hell of a play on the goal line and I’m not sure whether he got in or not. You can never tell, but those two guys made a great play.”

Did T Mike McGlinchey come out of that game unscathed? It looked like his ankle got rolled up early on and that may have affected him as he went along.

“Yeah, there was a scary moment, Trey scrambled on one, ended up rolling up on his legs a little bit. But I think it was similar to [TE] George [Kittle] last week. It looked worse. I think it scared him and everyone else, but he ended up coming out fine. Got no reports on him.”

When you kind of take stock of things here at the Bye Week, what are some things that you’re encouraged by and conversely what are some things that maybe concern you a little bit moving forward?

“When you lose three games in a row, you’re always down. It’s a tough thing, especially in this league. But I’ve been on teams where I’ve lost three in a row and you aren’t that encouraged because you can’t see how you could have won those games. And all three of these games, for different reasons, I feel very strongly that we could have won these three, especially this last one. And when you look at that and you can show the tape and show it to guys, you don’t have to make stuff up. You’ve just got to show the clips. And we had every chance possible to win that game yesterday from the beginning of the game all the way to the end of the game. And I felt the same versus Seattle. And I felt the same versus Green Bay. And those are the things to be positive about and the fact that most of this league, except for one or two teams, there’s usually about one or two teams that are on top and got a little bit easier just with the talent level, but then there’s usually one or two teams at the bottom, and I put everyone else pretty much in the middle and it’s who wins more of those close games and we’ve been in five of them and those easily could have gone differently. And that makes you a 5-0 team. And I’m not trying to sit here and act like we are. There’s a big difference between our record and the Cardinals. But the Cardinals have also won three really tight games. Beating Minnesota, when Minnesota missed a field goal at the last second. Coming back versus Jacksonville when they’re down 19-10 at the end of the third and then yesterday. So that’s the main thing I try to stress to our team, that it’s always going to be hard when you lose games in this league. But you can’t let a narrative become your reality. You’ve got to watch the tape, you’ve got to work harder, you’ve got to get better at all these little details that come down to winning and losing in crucial moments.”

In watching the tape, what are some of those details that you guys need to clean up to start winning those closer games?

“I think you look at how we started. The first drive of the game, we’re moving the ball and we ended up getting an interception on second-and-10 that shouldn’t have happened. You go to the next drive, we get to a fourth-and-two, we have first-and-five, I believe on about the 38-yard line, inside the 40, so we’ve moved it up there. Miss a couple of blocks and we ended up getting into fourth-and-two and we can’t move the chains there. The next drive, we go over 90 yards and we get all the way to the one-yard line and we can’t punch it in. And we had an opportunity, a couple of times before that, whether it was first-and-goal on the five and we drop a bubble pass up to [WR] Deebo [Samuel] on the side coming down all the way to the fourth down where it’s inches away. Then you go to the fourth series of the game where we struggled with two runs, I think to start. Had a third-and-11, and that was one of the Trey’s best throws of the game and ended up having a drop over the middle on third down that got us off the field. You go to our fifth drive and we’re moving the ball, but we have three holding calls in five plays and have to overcome first-and-20 a ton of times. So, there isn’t a specific one. It’s how does each drive happen? And I think there’s a big difference when you’re going three-and-outs and you’re struggling to do anything as opposed to some of the stuff I just said.”

After looking at last night’s film also with going for it on five different fourth downs, are there any that you maybe would have preferred to punt it instead at this point or any different thoughts about those?

“Yeah, when you look back at it and you’re one-of-five on fourth down, that’s something that’s like, ‘obviously I shouldn’t have, we only got one out-of-five.’ But every single one of those I was confident in the decision. Whether it was a long field goal or whether it was a punt. But depending on where we were, I think we we’re always across midfield. And they were long field goals when we were in field-goal range, as opposed to some manageable fourth downs. Felt great about the decisions, just didn’t get the right results. Got to live with those results, which one-of-five, definitely yeah, I’d love to change my mind if I knew we weren’t going to get any of them but one. But I thought all five of the situations were stuff that I would do it exactly the same way over.”

The defense started under New York Jets head coach Robert Saleh and it changed a bit under Cleveland Browns defensive coordinator Joe Woods, once he came in, he got involved a little bit on the back end. Now, defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans seems to put his fingerprints on it. What have you seen from him through five games?

“I think DeMeco is doing a hell of a job. We’ve started out with a scheme here that started out with the playbook very similar to Seattle’s and it’s evolved each year. It’s evolved with players. It’s evolved with coaches. It’s evolved with injuries. But I think DeMeco has done a hell of a job each week. Each week has been a different challenge. He’s got our players ready to play and I thought they did a hell of a job yesterday, especially giving us a chance to win that game.”

Big picture in terms of the way Trey Lance played, I know you had said over the last few weeks that Jimmy had given you a better chance to win, but is what he did yesterday, does any of that change your feeling, big picture, on his ability to help you guys win games?

“It doesn’t change my opinion, big picture. Trey definitely has the ability to help us win games. I thought he was a big part of why we had a chance to win that game yesterday. I just wish we could’ve played better around him too. Not that he was perfect by any means, but he gave us a very good chance to win that game. And I know he will give us a chance to win a lot going forward. But it’s more of a decision than just which player do you want to go with? There’s a whole team here. There’s a lot more that goes into it. And these three losses that we’ve had in a row, the answer good or bad is not just the quarterback. We’ve got to play better all around.”

You mentioned Trey having to stick around during the Bye Week to rehab. Will Jimmy be doing the same with his calf and given those two injuries are you worried about having to protect QB Nate Sudfeld more? Does he revert back to the practice squad and would you elevate him to the active roster?

“We haven’t decided that yet. No, I was messing with Trey and Jimmy now that Jimmy has got some company, so they’ll be here, both of them, the whole week so they have the best chance to be ready for Monday when we all get back. But no, I’m pumped to have Nate here. He was ready to go yesterday. And if his number is called versus Indy, and he’s been ready to go every week, he is as big of a pro as it gets. So, if his number is called versus Indy I know he’ll be ready.”