Head Coach Kyle Shanahan Press Conference
Head Coach Kyle Shanahan
Press Conference – October 4, 2023
San Francisco 49ers
“All right, injuries for today: [OL] Jon Feliciano is still in the protocol, [RB] Elijah Mitchell, knee won’t practice, [LB Dre] Greenlaw, ankle won’t practice, [CB] Charvarius Ward heel, won’t practice. [OL] Trent Williams got a vet day, same with [RB] Christian McCaffrey. [WR] Jauan Jennings will be limited with his shin and [WR] Deebo [Samuel] limited with his ribs and knee. Go ahead.”
Any big news going on that made you late?
“No, just too many people came and asked me questions right before I had to come here. I couldn’t blow them all off.”
As far as the pace of your practices, some of your players, who have played elsewhere, have been saying that your pace is faster than anywhere else. What’s the origin of that for you? Is that something you picked up from your dad, from coaching under former NFL head coach Gary Kubiak?
“Yeah, most of the places I’ve been, I just feel like that’s how we did it. I don’t know. Every place I’ve been tries to push practice and have a good tempo. I’ve always done that from an offensive perspective. I try to get plays in and out as fast as possible and always going. When you get a chance to talk to the whole team, that’s how I’ve always been offensively. So it’s important to me that everyone does it. I feel like if you’re going to play fast on Sunday, you’ve got to play faster in the week. It’s got to be the only way you really know how to do it.”
Is it a new issue for Charvarius or?
“No, same thing. Yep. Same thing.”
Obviously last year in the game against the Cowboys, they wanted to take away the run and were successful for at least a half. It’s not a novel thing, but do you think the way QB Brock Purdy has progressed since then or continued to prove himself will make teams such as the Cowboys more wary of that approach?
“I’m not sure. Despite who’s playing quarterback or stuff, still nothing’s changing how we feel about the run game. So that doesn’t really change. It’s just how you think you’ve got to win the game and they’re a tough team to go against in the run and the pass. Either way you can’t be one dimensional versus this team is the main thing.”
How much can Dallas Cowboys QB Trey Lance realistically reveal to the Cowboys about your offense?
“As much as most coaches can. You can see the plays on tape, you can explain what we look at and stuff like that, which usually you can when you can stack up a lot of tape over years, and we’ve been here for a while and previous. So hopefully he’s talking to him all the time and making them focus totally on that instead of the simple stuff of watching the tape.”
How much of a challenge is it to go against Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn?
“It’s a huge challenge. Dan’s as good as it gets. His schemes are always tough. He makes adjustments well, but the one thing that’s always the same is how his guys play. Those 11 guys play with their hair on fire. They generate a lot of chaos, especially up front and that’s usually what leads to them getting all their turnovers.”
Is it tough facing someone that you know so well and he knows you so well. Is it one of those things like, ‘He knows I want to do this or he knows that I know a little bit?’
“A little bit. But it’s different when you’re not in the division, at least it’s not twice a year, unless you meet in the playoffs and stuff. I think Dan and I got to go against each other twice here in Dallas and it’s always a huge challenge.”
What did they do against New England Patriots QB Mac Jones last Sunday that was extraordinary?
“The same thing that they do to a lot of guys. When you get into some bad situations and stuff, that the D-Line is tough to handle and they can make you make a lot of mistakes. You’ve got to get rid of it quick sometimes, not always before you’re ready. They mix up a lot of man coverages, a lot of zone coverages and they can confuse you with that. When you’re behind the chains and things like that, not just Sunday, but really for the last three years they’re as good as team as any when they got you one dimensional and creating turnovers and getting after the quarterback.”
You mentioned it a few times when you were younger that you enjoyed seeing the rivalry, being around it a little bit. But over the last couple years seeing them in the playoffs, do you get the sense that this game maybe starts to meet a little bit more for both sides?
“Yeah, anytime you play each other in the playoffs and stuff, it’s always usually a bit bigger the next year. And with that being back-to-back, it was huge. That’s what I always remembered growing up, just because of the three years I was here when I was younger. They played in the NFC Championship all three years that I lived here. So just playing them in the playoffs two years ago kind of was reminiscent of that and it was a Divisional Round I think, or Wild Card Round, and then last year with the Divisional Round and those histories stack up just like people in your division. But usually when it’s a playoff game everyone remembers it a little bit more.”
WR Ronnie Bell had a tough recruiting process, adversity in college, he was drafted later than he thought he should be. He said he has a bit of a chip on his shoulder. How do you think that’s helped him pick up your style of offense so quickly and make an impact?
“Just watching it, I haven’t asked him that, but I think that is accurate. He plays with a chip on his shoulder. When he struggles or when he’s not being successful and you get on him a little bit he is not a guy who sits there and pouts and feels sorry for himself. He kind of has a chip on his shoulder and rises to the occasion and rarely makes the same mistake twice. You can tell how fiery he is out there with blocking, having the ball in his hands and he’s a talented dude too. So he’s going to keep improving for us.”
You’ve had a lot of success with a lot of different quarterbacks in your system. What would you say to those who say that Brock is still largely a product of your system?
“That’s pretty ridiculous. You’ve just got to watch the tape. He plays at a high level every time he is been out there. And he’s done it in a lot of different situations versus a lot of different defenses, on the road, at home, playoff games, when injured. You can’t do all that stuff, he’s been out there too long. It’s on tape.”
Brock says that the number one stat that he concentrates on is don’t turn it over. I assume he’s hearing that from you and the other coaches. Do you see him actively, like some of the passes that look offline, maybe it’s him making sure it’s not getting intercepted. Can you see that as a conscious thing in his mind?
“Not totally because usually guys you can see who are real conscious of that they miss a lot of number one being open. They’re a little hesitant and stuff. And the number one thing is to not turn it over and that is the number one thing in football. But, when you totally think that way and you can tell it’s how your actions are responding you don’t make as many plays and play as freely as he does. So I think that’s what’s been great about him, that he lets it rip. He rarely hesitates but when it’s not there, he hasn’t just let it rip. He knows when to pull it back, he knows when to progress and try to make a play and that’s the fine line that you want guys who can make plays, but you don’t want guys to keep both teams in the game. So you’ve got to find a way to do both and he’s found that balance very well in all the games he’s played in.”
You’ve been around a lot of really great quarterbacks. Where is Brock on that spectrum of guys who consistently don’t hesitate, don’t stop themselves, don’t get themselves in trouble that way?
“Of the guys I’ve coached, he’s up there with all of them. I’ve had a couple real good ones in that way and Brock’s right there with those guys. You can see that on his college tape. That’s what made him look so good on his tape and play at such a high level. And it hasn’t changed here.”
K Jake Moody had another kick kickoff out of bounds. Are you asking for directional kickoffs or are those just complete misses there?
“No, we are asking for directionals and he got a bad angle on that one and still tried to do it and just missed it. But, he’s had two of those. He’s been pretty good at them, but it’s a big miss when you miss those. So, we have make sure that doesn’t happen much more or we can’t do it.”
The internal chess game when you’re preparing to win every week, how many weeks go by before you need to sit down with your quality control guys and get a better idea of what your guys’ tendencies are? And do you have that meeting every week or is that something that you just know in your head based on a play that you’ve called? Do you know your tendencies?
“I have a good idea. I mean, just got a feel for everything that you do and especially games and stuff like that. But, I mean we get reports on that every second. There’s more analytics people and we get big packets on it and stuff. I don’t always have the time to read through everything, so they usually highlight the big deals and I always get anything that looks real heavy over 70% or something. And it’s basically how do the defensive guys look at it? I know they get the same type of stuff and sometimes defensive guys who go completely off analytics and then defensive guys who go completely off field also or your personnel or things like that. So, that’s stuff you’ve got to always think about and it helps more the more you know who you’re going against.”
Against the Cowboys last year, you had a fake screen to Deebo, quarterback draw, which if that worked was going to be really cool. Was that an example of the Cowboys just being very disciplined? Do you just scrap it or do you just save it for another day?
“No, you try to call it when it makes sense based off of what coverages and fronts they do. People ignore the quarterback and they have a four-man rush with no stunts and they’re rushing way up the field and you look to the left and they’re in quarters and no one else is left. You would maybe be able to walk in, well someone else close to you would be able to, but if you do that and there’s stunts or it’s the wrong look and stuff, it can not look like a good play pretty fast. So, there’s reasons that you choose lots of plays like that and you hope you get the right look and when you don’t you hope you don’t go too hard on me.”
That wasn’t the right look?
“I mean, if he would’ve ran over everybody it would’ve been. No, it wasn’t the right look.”
How would you assess the play of your defense so far. The Cardinals were able to stay on the field a lot, probably more than you would like the last game, but you’ve had other sequences like a bunch of three and outs on the road versus Pittsburgh, but then drives before the end of the half. Has it been kind of a mixed bag?
“Yeah, I think we’ve had some weak moments. I mean, from the first half with the Rams, I thought a couple drives. I thought there was two drives with the Cardinals in particular. But I mean, they’re still playing real good football. I’m real happy with them and we’re in Week 4 here, but we’re never satisfied. I expect us to keep getting better on defense, offense and special teams.”
Because it’s Cowboys-49ers week, there seems to be added excitement and energy, not only in the Bay Area, but around the NFL. Do you guys sense that in the locker room? Just the buildup of the energy and excitement?
“I think any time you have a Sunday night game it’s always bigger. Sunday night, Monday night, Thursday night, there’s always a little more excitement in the building knowing everyone’s watching you. Got a lot of respect for the Cowboys and how good of a team they are. So, we know the challenge that we have in front of us and I think we’re aware of the rivalry and the history, which is always cool. But besides that, it’s Week 5.”