Head Coach Kyle Shanahan Press Conference
Head Coach Kyle Shanahan
Press Conference – October 6, 2021
San Francisco 49ers
“Alright. Injuries for today: [CB] K’Waun [Williams], still the calf, will not practice. [QB] Jimmy Garoppolo, calf, will not practice. [T] Trent Williams, shoulder, not practicing. [TE George] Kittle, calf, not practicing. [DL] Samson Ebukam, hamstring, not practicing. [C] Alex Mack will have a vet day. [CB] Josh Norman, chest, is limited. [DT Javon] Kinlaw, knee, limited. [RB] Elijah Mitchell, shoulder, limited.”
Any status that you considered in terms of, for sure what Jimmy might be for Sunday?
“Yeah, it’s better today. Which is good news. Not enough though to let him go. But also, not enough to rule him out. The doctors still say give him another day, he’s got a chance. So, I’m still holding out for that.”
When you put in the gameplan, what’s the challenge of putting in a gameplan when there’s some indecision or some doubt on who’s going to be the quarterback?
“It’s always a challenge. A little different at quarterback, but we’re used to that with the number of positions and still regardless of which way you go, there’s a few different plays here and there, but the quarterback still has to do similar stuff regardless of who’s in there.”
With Jimmy is it a matter of, he was saying he was having trouble kind of pushing off of the leg and getting enough on the ball, is that the kind of thing that you’re going to have to see from him?
“Yeah, definitely. We’re just waiting for the swelling to go down, so he has a chance to do it and we could find out by him going out and practicing. It has gone down, which is a good sign, compared to how we felt Sunday night. But not enough to let him go out there today.”
I think you said in the past that QB Trey Lance was getting 80-percent of the scout team work, has that been kind of consistent from Weeks 1-4 that he gets maybe 20-percent of the actual first-team reps?
“Yeah, I’d say that’s a good estimate. Nothing has been different than any time we’ve had a starting quarterback and a backup here. We do comp periods versus our defense, which they split it. Everything else, usually the starting quarterback gets it. Second guy does everything on scout team. The times he’s not, we let [QB] Nate [Sudfeld] get some reps and that allows us to work with Trey extra on the side.”
George got, it was a very awkward hit that he took, an awkward fall. Was there anything that came out of that?
“No. I saw it, I think the whole stands saw it, every player on the field saw it. I think George for sure thought something happened, just like everyone did. And then about a second and a half later, he popped up and was good to go. It took me a couple plays and I was like, ‘Is George still out there?’ Because it looked pretty bad. I know it hurt, but that’s not what’s holding him back this week. It’s the same stuff, so he was fortunate on that one.”
Who’s in charge of making adjustments in protection at the line of scrimmage?
“Like the whole offense? Are you talking about who calls stuff?”
What’s the process of them making an adjustment? Like if somebody sees something?
“There’s lots of ways to do it. We have side adjustments, we have centers, we have quarterbacks, we have double play calls. So, it’s not a quick answer and I would never give the deep answer.”
You talked about in Week 1 it was advantageous to not have the Detroit Lions know how much you would use Trey Lance. Might you not let the Arizona Cardinals know who might start at quarterback until Sunday?
“If Jimmy’s ruled out, I’ll rule him out. Once the doctors tell me there’s absolutely no way, then I’ll do that. Yeah, it’s always advantageous when you don’t know what quarterback you’re planning for, but if there’s no chance I’ll do that.”
How beneficial is it for Trey to get first-team snaps, to get all that practice time? How much does that help him?
“Oh, it’s huge. It’s huge for whoever goes in that week. You put in a new gameplan on Wednesday morning and they go out and practice it on Wednesday. And then Thursday, you put in a whole new thing for third down, short yardage, goal line and things like that. And they go out Thursday and do it. And Friday you try to review some stuff, but you put in a bunch of red zone stuff. So that’s why, no matter what the position is, usually the guys you’re expecting to play get all those reps. Because it’s not just the same stuff, you’re doing different numbers, different fronts, different coverages. So, to have a week, I think it was huge for him too having all that time where he could just go play quarterback and do some other cards, some other defenses and not really get tied down to learning what’s in that day. Just playing football and getting better at that. These practices are more about learning what we do all morning, carrying it over to the field, correcting it at night, coming in the next morning with questions and how you build up through the week to where you get to Sunday night and you’re confident and ready to go to play.”
When it comes to getting on the field in a game, how do you stress to the quarterbacks just the ability to protect the football, especially when your defense isn’t getting takeaways?
“It’s huge. It’s cliché, everyone knows, but the number one stat besides points is turnovers. And Arizona’s playing great all-around football in all three phases, but their defense having nine turnovers is huge and that makes them tough to beat. And I understand us only have one is tough. Regardless, if you get a lot of turnovers, if you turn it over a bunch, it doesn’t really matter. So, we have to make sure we better hold onto the ball and we definitely have to find a way to get some more turnovers.”
I think you’ve indicated, obviously, you can do different stuff with Trey. He can add to the offense but you don’t necessarily want to create this entirely different Trey Lance offense just because he can run. Where is he in his development as far as being able to kind of run the offense with his own spin on it?
“He’s developing. That’s what you’ll see when you get out to gameday. You got him a chance, so you just throw him in the summer where you’re always adding some different plays in for him that you have an option to do with him. But throughout the summer, him trying to get everything, I thought he got better as it went. Then when he went into the games, that’d be a new learning process and I think he would get better each week in those games. I thought when he got thrown into battle here, just running the offense and not really his specific plays, I thought he got more comfortable as the game went. Especially going home and watching the tape after the game, I thought there was a lot of encouraging stuff. So, guys that are rookies, second-year players, it doesn’t matter the position, you’re always developing. You’re always trying to get better and he’ll see some things out there that he’s never seen before, but what you like about him and stuff that he might not be ready for he can overcompensate with some of his athletic ability and, to me, how competitive he is and how good of a football player he is.”
I would assume that there is zero gray area when it comes to what you ask your quarterback to do as far as the defensive, play call, where the ball should go. How was he on Sunday when it came to just the black and white of where the ball should go and did it go there?
“He did a decent job, but I don’t think there should be any offenses where you don’t know where the ball is supposed to go. That sounds great. And it’s pretty good if it’s on air or if it’s seven-on-seven, but there’s pass rushes involved, there’s blitzes, there’s disguises, there’s people that don’t get open. So, you have to be able to see all that and understand if it’s automatic, you should always hit the automatic plays. That means you have an offense that you know where the ball’s supposed to go and what the play is for. How quickly do you recognize that it’s defended? How quickly can you get to two? How quickly can you recognize it’s not the right look? It might be the perfect look, but you can’t hang on the three-technique and you have to break. Do you go to number two and get rid of it or do you try to scramble right away? Those are all things that are options. They’re not options for everybody, but those are things that are options for Trey and that’s the stuff he’s working through.”
So, I would assume also with Jimmy scramble or run is far, far down on the list of progressions. Do you bump that up with Trey and make it sometimes your second read or your third read?
“Yeah, but you never tell a guy, ‘Hey, if number one’s not open you just stop and you run.’ If someone isn’t capable of doing all that stuff, eventually you do tell someone something like that. But that’s also pretty easy to stop too. There’s a feel to that. Jimmy, it’s not like he only runs when all five eligibles are covered. Sometimes he’ll see a crease in the front and they’re not holding the lanes too well in the pocket. And I think you guys see Jimmy a lot move the chains with his legs. So that’s not the number one thing on his mind. I’m not trying to put in a lot of quarterback draws and things like that. But no matter what type of quarterback you are, you better be able to move the chains with your legs here and there.”
As he’s learning to execute the offense, what can his improvisational ability do for him and for the offense?
“Anytime you can have a guy who can create an off-schedule play and bide more time, that’s great. When you can run around when people are playing soft zones, those only can hold up so long. But that starts turning into a little bit of backyard ball. And when you get into some of those situations, sometimes it’s late in games, you’re down a lot and you can create and make some big plays. But it’s got to be that type of game. You don’t want to force that type of game and that’s stuff I think we’ll get used to with Trey and he’ll get used to with us.”
What was his technique and footwork like in the Seahawks game? Did that kind of lapse a little bit with the excitement of the moment of him going in?
“For going in like that and that type of game and where we were at, I thought he did a lot better than he did in the preseason. He came in, I know he got off to a rough start with his first two passes, but he calmed down and played poised after that. Wasn’t perfect, but you watch him, watch how he moved, how he attacked stuff, he wasn’t locking up, he was playing football and still gave us a chance to win.”
You talked about it a little with backyard football. Do you think there’s a little bit of an adjustment for receivers just getting used to coming back to the ball when things break down?
“Yeah. You’d like to say that’s how it always should be because you have off-schedule plays all the time. But anytime you have a guy who has a little different foot speed who’s a little bit more of a runner, it can buy a little bit extra time. And that’s things guys have to keep working on and defenses have to get used to that too. And we’ll see how it plays out, but I think the obvious thing is you know that’s more of an option now.”
Can you practice the off-schedule plays in practice?
“Yeah, you do. That’s why you tell them when no one’s there or when someone misses the protection, what are you going to do in the game? You don’t just sit there and get hit. Do you get rid of it because number two is wide open? Or do you make a move to break outside the pocket? And once you do, and the receivers aren’t looking at you, they don’t stop. There’s no whistle that’s being blown, so that’s the stuff you keep working on. And you’d love to design some rules on scramble rules, but it’s how did those five guys end up and where are they? And you’ve got to disperse the field.”
How do the Cardinals look different to you this year?
“They’ve added a couple players, who I think have really helped. Having [Arizona Cardinals DE] J.J. [Watt] is a big deal, he’s done a hell of a job just seeing him. I haven’t seen him for a number of years and watching him here over this week, it’s still J.J. Their safeties are great as always, especially getting the new player back who wasn’t there last year, the corners are playing a lot better. Adding some guys, I think they got the rookie on one side and the guy from Washington on the other, who are both playing real high. And then on offense, they’re just clicking on all cylinders. Which they did at the beginning of last year too. But they’ve got some playmakers, they’ve got a perfect scheme for all their playmakers and they’re making it tough for teams.”
Where has WR Deebo Samuel improved the most from his first two years to this year?
“I think I was saying this last week, but I almost couldn’t count Deebo’s second year. Deebo started coming on real strong halfway through his rookie year. His second year he broke his foot in the offseason. I think he came back like Week 4, pulled his hamstring real fast. Came back again, pulled it again. So his second year, he never got right. He was never in football shape because he was hurt all offseason. As soon as he tried to get in shape, he would get re-injured. So this year, he came in like I was hoping he’d come in his second year, which wasn’t his fault. He was healthy this offseason. Came in to camp in great shape. Made it through all camp because of how good of shape he was in. And he’s been able to handle the whole load without getting injured and keeping his stamina and power throughout games, which when he does, he’s a lot to deal with.”
How deep did you get into trade talks for Carolina Panthers CB Stephon Gilmore?
“We looked into all of it, but we obviously didn’t go through with it.”
First time going back to Arizona. Obviously, it might not feel like that long ago. What did you learn from that experience? Were there things that you, when you looked back that you took away that maybe made you a better coach or anything like that?
“I think it hardened us all a little bit. You go through a month of that and the situation, I don’t think that time was fun for many people in the world. But yeah, that was a tough deal for us. And we’d like to say we persevered through it. We were able to come up with a big win versus Arizona there, I think the second to last week of the year. But you learn a lot about the guys through the good and the bad and how we were all really able to stay together. And you go through that and you get to the next year like we are now. And you go through some tough times, but you know, the more you go through hard experiences it hardens you and it can build you in a certain way. And I’d like to think that it made our team stronger.”