Head Coach Kyle Shanahan Press Conference
Head Coach Kyle Shanahan
Press Conference – October 21, 2020
San Francisco 49ers
“Alright guys, injuries for today: [LB] Kwon Alexander is not practicing, ankle. [RB Raheem] Mostert, not practicing, ankle. [S Jaquiski] Tartt, not practicing, groin. [T] Trent Williams, not practicing, ankle. Limited today will be [CB] Dontae Johnson and [RB] Jeff Wilson [Jr.]. Groin and calf. Go ahead.”
How is S Johnathan Cyprien doing behind the scenes and what’s his mindset been like since during camp, when he said he didn’t want to be on the practice squad? Is he somebody that you would consider elevating not only to the 53-man for the game, but also starting ahead of S Marcell Harris or has Marcell done enough to keep that?
“No, I think Marcell has done a real good job, but we feel very fortunate to have Cyp. It’s been great to keep him here, really, as our fifth guy right now. Being able to have the luxury of having him on practice squad helps a ton with Tartt being down right now. We’ll see how it goes throughout this week, but I know Cyp’s been ready for his opportunity every week and he’s got a better chance this week than any other week so far.”
What did the digital imaging on Trent Williams show you and what’s the plan for him this week?
“It showed that nothing was broken and that it wasn’t a high ankle, so that was good news, but still in too much pain to practice today. I know he’ll be questionable throughout the week, so hopefully it’ll get better each day, but it’s not there yet.”
Particularly in light of the way QB Jimmy Garoppolo hurt his knee in 2018, what were your thoughts on him lowering his throwing shoulder and having a violent collision at the end of his scramble in the fourth quarter Sunday?
“Definitely didn’t like it. I don’t think he did, either. I think that he was looking back and the guy caught him at the last second or he saw the guy at the last second and then he did his natural reaction to protect himself. Fortunately, he got out of there all right, but something you definitely want to avoid and something he knows he wants to avoid. The guy just snuck up on him a little bit.
I’m wondering what your reaction is to all the news yesterday? For a hot second, it looked like you were going to be able to have some fans in the building and now it sounds like you’re not going to have any fans this year. Do you have a reaction? Do you think that there’s going to be some sort of competitive advantage or disadvantage to the teams that are beginning to allow fans?
“Oh, yeah. I don’t think, I mean, that’s a fact. I know that. Not having the fans in your stadium is a huge deal. It’s something that most of the league’s had to deal with this year. It seems like most teams aren’t going to have to deal with it as much going forward, but no, our fans are a huge part of, they’re a huge part of every team, but I feel it a little bit different here than everywhere else I’ve been. Just the feeling they brought our team last year and hopefully that we did the same, I think really changed this building. Thought we earned a lot of that and it’s been tough not to have them this year and just disappointing. I’m real disappointed for them, our families. I understand the issues and stuff. I just hope that we can eventually figure out something. I know my family is allowed to go to restaurants right now and sit inside and socially distance there while watching the game. So, hopefully, eventually we can figure out a way to do that in our outdoor stadium where we can at least get some people like they are in the restaurants and stuff or worst case, at least our families because it’s a long season and people do want to be a part of that bad. I know how bad we want them to be a part of it. So, hopefully they’ll keep talking and figure out a way that they feel safe like the other places and I know it’ll help us if we do.”
You had mentioned on Sunday that RB JaMycal Hasty came in with some fresh legs and gave you some pop there in the fourth quarter. How is RB Jerick McKinnon in that regard? You guys leaned heavily on him in Weeks 3 and 4. Do you sort of have to kind of watch his snap count given that he’s just now coming back from two years off?
“Yeah, I definitely think so. That has an effect on all running backs and especially a guy who had those two years off, I would think it would affect him more. We didn’t do a good job of managing that in the Philly game. Jet’s up for anything and stuff, but we’ve got to do a better job of managing that and try to keep them all as fresh as possible. The more guys get banged up, the harder that is to do. So, hopefully Jeff Wilson will come back healthy this week and hopefully we’ll get three fresh guys, but we’ll see how the week of practice goes.”
You spoke a little bit about CB Jason Verrett on Sunday. A lot of guys have talked about what kind of mental strength he’s had to come back. Can you give us a little bit more insight on what you’ve seen from him so far?
“Everyone sees the skill set, I think. Just the guy, just the way he carries himself, the way he carried himself last year, coming in last year, really feeling healthy. After what he had been through the prior two seasons and then having those injuries pop up in training camp and I just know how frustrated he was and watching the guy, just how he handles himself. He’s not a guy who’s going to go out and complain a lot. He’s a complete professional. Doesn’t say a lot, but works as hard as anyone. He’s very locked in. He’s got a chip on his shoulder, too. The way you guys see him play out on the field is kind of the way that he conducts himself every day. I know it was hard for him to be that into football and stuff and to be that important to him and just to watch us all last year and not being able to help. For him to be healthy this year, even with the setback that he had in training camp and to still rebound from that and now for him to get his opportunity and be able to come in and be ready just to help us, which is so great because everyone was anticipating that, the way he carries himself. Then just for him to feed off of it and get better each game, I couldn’t be happier with Jason and I’m looking forward to watching him get better throughout the year as it goes.”
One of the guys on the offensive side said he thought inside the huddle, there was a different sense of confidence and maybe that stemmed from the practice during the week. As a coach, do you think one game can give a team a confidence that it can use as a springboard and how do you try to instill that confidence in your day to day interactions with the guys?
“Yeah, all the experiences you have always lead to the future. I was hoping that the Miami game would spring us forward and really say a lot about our team and went out and got completely embarrassed as we all know. I also think that did something to us, even though it was obviously a negative with losing that and hurting our record, especially the way we did it, but I think it affected us in a good way going forward. It’s not like guys weren’t working and trying, but there’s always another level to get to, however that comes out. We had a lot more success this week versus the Rams and so I don’t look at it as, ‘Oh, that’s going to be better and we’re going to play even better because of it.’ It’s a new week. You’re going against a new team. It’s more X’s and O’s and execution and giving it your all. If you don’t give it your all, it doesn’t matter and if you don’t have a good plan, it really doesn’t matter. So, I think as our guys, just the more they realize that, it’s trying as hard as you can every week and blocking out everything else and just getting better as the year goes. I really felt that last week and we’ll see if it’s the same this week. It starts here, Wednesday practice and it’ll go throughout the whole week. Usually when you get better in practice, you play better on Sunday.”
When you look at the Patriots defensive scheme, what strikes you as how it’s changed since the last time you faced it, outside of the personnel, obviously?
“It doesn’t change a ton. They’ve always, going back forever, whenever you’ve watched a [New England Patriots head coach Bill] Belichick team, they’re going to have the same fronts. They have a number of fronts they can go to and mix them up. They have a number of coverages they can go to, but he has his philosophies that he believes in, for good reason, and you’re going to see that each year. He’s also going to adjust at every moment that one of those things aren’t going well. So, there’s nothing absolute at all with him. You know what he believes in, you know what he does because that’s what works. When it’s not working, he’s always going to have a plan to adjust. So, the game never stops. You’ve always got to keep going and hopefully you have more points than them when time runs out.”
I had a two-part question about some of the younger offensive linemen. First, OL Justin Skule, how much has he progressed since last season when he played some at tackle? Two, OL Colton McKivitz, would you say that he could be in a kind of a OL Daniel Brunskill role from last year to where he could be your next man up at guard, tackle and maybe even center if you needed it now?
“Yeah, Skule has gotten a lot better. He did a good job last year for us getting thrown in there early, having to start those number of games at tackle. You always get nervous when you’re away from people, especially going into their second year in an offseason, but you can tell however he spent his quarantine time that he did it the right way because he came to training camp bigger, stronger, and took a step forward throughout the practices. If he does get the opportunity to play here a little bit more going forward, I expect to see that on the field, too. Then McKivitz. Yeah, McKivitz’s definitely, he played tackle in college. We know he can play guard or tackle for us. Right now, he’s the next man up behind everyone, especially us losing [OL Ben] Garland last week. So, he’s got to be ready to do a number of things and we’ve worked him everywhere, but whenever a guy goes down, we’ll decide on what our best five are and where we can put those guys.”
LB Fred Warner’s obviously made improvements every year, clearly taken a leap this year to basically being an undisputed All-Pro player. What sort of did you see from him this offseason that made you sort of expect that he would have this year?
“Didn’t see him except on FaceTimes in the offseason, but I didn’t have to. You could see how Fred handles every day. Every day he’s been here, how he was on when we invited him in for an interview on just a visit pre-Draft. Fred, he’s a talented guy without a doubt, but just his mindset, how smart he is, how diligent he is and how he works. Fred just needs time and the more time he has, the better he’s going to get. When he strings together a few years and he’s been able to stay healthy and the way Fred works and the way he looks at things, he only will get better. So, I expect that to continue.”
Do you have any update on how CB Richard Sherman has been doing with the shots he’s been getting?
“Yeah, he got those, I think it was last week. Now he’s in a boot just taking care of it, making sure it heals and let those take course. I thought it would be, I’d have more answers this week, but I still think it’s going to be a few weeks on that. It’s obviously going a little longer than we expected. Got to play it smart with him, but I don’t see it being week-to-week right now. I see it being probably until around our Bye week.”
Same question as far as a timeline or an outlook for DL Dee Ford?
“I’m not sure on that. I would still throw it similar into that category after our Bye week. He’s gotten the work he’s needed, he’s gotten the shots he’s needed, he’s rested it and now he’s just starting to get back into some things, but still a ways away on that.”
The offense came out hitting on all cylinders, but you guys struggled the second half against the Rams. You punted on four of the five possessions and your longest drive was only 28 yards. I was wondering, is that somewhat promising to know that you guys can be that much better moving forward when you put it all together? Was that your message to the offense?
“Yeah, my message to the offense was just how you’ve got to finish people. I thought we had a chance to get up a number of scores and kind of run away with it and I thought we had that chance. I remember calling a reverse, it’s been a few days, but I remember calling a reverse on second down that lost a bunch of yards. So, that kind of ended that drive. The reverse didn’t have a chance and then I think we had two drops on third down which lead to two, three-and-outs, two ones that we would have caught, I mean that would have kept it going. So, you lose three drives right there. Your numbers are going to change a lot. The cool thing was how our special teams and defense was playing. They kept giving us an opportunity. I thought we needed to put them away and the way we ended up doing it was Jimmy scrambling and [K] Robbie [Gould] kicking that field goal. We don’t want to have to always depend on the defense playing that way at the end, not giving the Rams a chance to come back. We’ve got to catch those balls on third down and move the chains. We’ve got to make those plays on first and second down so we don’t get into those third down opportunities, because I thought we had some opportunities to score some touchdowns and when we didn’t, that’s why they got it within one score before the last drive.”