Head Coach Kyle Shanahan Press Conference

Head Coach Kyle Shanahan

Press Conference – October 2, 2023

San Francisco 49ers

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Opening comments:
“All right guys, injuries from the game, [OL] Jon Feliciano will be in the concussion protocol. [WR] Deebo [Samuel] is still the same as last week with his knee and ribs. He’ll be day-to-day. Updates on the players who missed the game, [RB] Elijah Mitchell, knee, he’ll be day-to-day this week and [WR] Jauan Jennings with his shin, day-to-day. Go ahead guys.”

I don’t know whether you saw this after the game, but S Talanoa Hufanga and Arizona Cardinals RB James Conner got into a scrap. Any idea what sparked that?
“No, I don’t know. I had some friends send it to me last night, so I saw last night probably just like you guys did, but I really don’t know what started it. There was nothing on the tape.”

After looking at the film, what did you assess from QB Brock Purdy’s performance?

“A lot, like I think we felt last night. He was pretty good. He made all the right throws and O-Line played well, gave him some good times, some real good pockets. I thought all the eligible receivers, tight ends, running backs played well. But he was awesome yesterday.”

Looking back at how much RB Christian McCaffrey played versus RB Jordan ‘JP’ Mason, were you comfortable with how he is? How hard is it to take Christian McCaffrey out during any part of the game?
“Yeah, it’s always hard. We did it for a couple drives, but we still put him back in on third-down. I don’t even know the numbers here, but I want to say he had 30-something plays, 40? All right, you guys probably know I haven’t got to that yet. Yeah, it was only 55 plays in the game, which was smaller. And yes, we would love to have him a little bit more rest, but he is extremely tough to take out.”

Is it noticeable to you how the offensive line has improved from Week One to this point?
“Yes, yesterday they were unbelievable. They had some pretty big challenges there in Week One. They’ve had a little bit each week, but Week 1 was probably the toughest so far. And I think this week coming forward will be another huge challenge.”

What makes the Cowboys such a huge challenge?
“Just how their pass rush, how fast they play. [Dallas Cowboys Defensive Coordinator] Dan Quinn is as good as anyone at the D-line. Just in general, I think one of the biggest tests for every team in the NFL is how much better you get each game because the lack of practice and stuff that big people get in the offseason compared to what it takes to be ready it’s just not enough. No one’s ever there in Week 1, especially up front. Run blocking, pass blocking, you need a lot more reps of that to get better as a unit. That’s why it’s so important that in these games, the more games you can stay healthy and the more games you can play together, usually you get better throughout the year.”

How much better is Christian running this year? Like specifically finding holes within the context of the system that you’re running with him?
“It’s tough to say because I thought he was so good last year at it too, but I do think he’s gotten better. I think he just understands it more as a whole, not that he didn’t last year, but I think this stuff comes pretty natural to Christian. But he also works at it harder than any player I’ve been around, so he doesn’t just try to figure out what he’s supposed to do. He understands the package of everybody and that’s why he picks things up fast and that’s why he has been pretty interchangeable at all the spots we put him at.”

Obviously Brock was quite good last year, but he was talking yesterday after the game about just not his mastery of the offense, but just how much better he knows the offense. He talked about his audibles and checks and what he termed as efficiency at the line of scrimmage. Can you just discuss that a little bit? It’s natural to think he would do that, but just how has he progressed in those areas?
“He has, but he was real good in those last year too, he came in right away and didn’t make much mistakes on that stuff. His first game was the hardest because he didn’t get the reps and stuff, but after that he always did get the reps and he was very prepared in those games. That’s why we were so impressed with him in the seven games we got to play with him and that’s why he gave us the confidence in going into this year with him and he took off right where he left off. Just like everybody, the more you get out there, the more you put yourself through it, all the stressful situations, the more confidence you get, the easier it gets. But he was so good at it last year and I feel like he’s stayed the same, if not gone a little bit better.”

He mentioned the play in which he got hurt in the NFC championship game. He didn’t trust that throw and he threw it off the second hitch instead of his first hitch. Obviously there are a lot of those type of throws in your offense, maybe in any offense, but is that an area in which he’s taken a step just because he has trust that the receivers are going to be where they’re supposed to be?
“Yes and also I think that’s one of his best qualities in terms of, the throw he is talking about, most people would throw that off of two hitches. But he has a good timing element to him and anticipation that he tries to find a way to do it off of one. But that’s not one that you have to do off of one. But he’s always hard on himself on that. If he can let it go earlier, even if it’s a little bit harder. I love challenging quarterbacks to do that too because it usually makes them a lot better. But we don’t have to challenge him that much on it because that’s kind of how he sees it also. So, I love hearing him say that, it puts more pressure on him in those ways. But that’s something that we do enjoy and and really like about him because he’s always trying to get rid of the ball as fast as he can. You want to go as fast as you can until it’s negative and that’s what he’s always trying to do and that’s what we try to push to coach him to do.”

S Ji’Ayir Brown made a great special teams tackle yesterday. How has he been progressing? I know you’ve got S Tashaun Gipson Sr. and Hufanga as their starters, but what have you seen from the rookie?
“Him going through the season with us so far, it feels like we got the right guy, just the way he carries himself each day on the practice field he’s really owned his role. When he is taking the backup reps at safety, he’s getting better in all of it. The special team stuff, he gets better each week and he has become a real force out there. I know how much confidence [Special Teams Coordinator Brian] Schneider has in him on our special teams. When he does get his opportunity, he’s going to be ready. He does everything the right way and he’s a very good football player and a guy I’m real glad that we have here.”

You mentioned what a challenge Dallas is earlier. I know you know how good your team is obviously, but when you get a team like this on a Sunday night, is there something about this kind of game that you look forward to, to really kind of see where you guys stand?
“I’m a fan of football also first, growing up and everything and still am now. So anytime there’s big matchups and stuff, especially for the night games, that’s what’s great for our league and there’s nothing more fun than being a part of it as a player or a coach. These are like kind of the games you live for and you enjoy. But it’s a whole week to get there, big preparation. It’s still going to be the same type of game as always, just starts a little bit later and it’s still just going to be as long. But I know people will be amped up. I love it when the rest of the league gets to watch you. When it’s on national TV it’s great for all the fans and stuff, but it’s really cool that usually the players and everything and coaches are home by the end of the day and they get to see that game too. I know that’s what we enjoy the most.”

Was there a chance to get a head start at all on Dallas being your last week Dallas and Arizona played and you were able to see both teams that you’d be facing the next two weeks?
“You get to see a little crossover, so some of that goes, but you never prepare. I really never prepare the week before. It takes away from the week that you’re at and there’s always time to get it done. We just finished up with our players with Arizona and once I’m done with you guys, it’ll be a hundred percent committed to that until that game’s over.”

There was a lot of talk last night about the amount of trust everybody has in each other and how much fun everybody is having fun playing football together. Are you seeing that with this team? Is this a team that you feel like is maybe a team that’s having the most fun that you’ve coached?
“The goal is to get there and I thought our team was like that last year. I think we went on that role and we felt pretty invincible and stuff and every year’s a new year, so you got to start that over. But we got a lot of carry-over from last year with that, with some of the guys and I think through our experiences and stuff came into this year a little bit more I think ready to go, to tell you the truth. They know how last year ended and they’ve been very excited to get this year started. You can kind of feel it right away, you could feel it in Week 1, I felt like at Pittsburgh. I thought last year it took us a little bit more to get to more towards the middle of October, end of October. But I think we’ve gotten there faster now and the challenge is to keep improving because we do one of two things, get better or worse. So we got to make sure we keep improving.”