Head Coach Kyle Shanahan Press Conference
Head Coach Kyle Shanahan
Press Conference – November 20, 2023
San Francisco 49ers
“All right guys, the guys from last night, got confirmed with [S Talanoa] Huff [Hufanga] this morning. He does have a torn ACL. They don’t think there was any meniscus or anything, so it was as clean as it could be for just being ACL. [CB] Shemar Jean-Charles still has a shoulder. He will be day-to-day this week. All other injuries, if there are any, will come out later today. It’s still a little bit early for us. So, go ahead.”
How do you feel about just the prospect of moving forward with S Ji’Ayir Brown and what have you seen from him that has enabled him to put himself in that position to step in and start?
“I mean, that’s one of the reasons we went for him. We know we needed some depth there. The coolest thing about him is he’s been practicing, I think you heard it from guys yesterday, but the way he’s been practicing here every week, he’s been practicing like he knew this moment was coming. He’s been locked in, as extremely impressive for a rookie, and I think that’s why he was ready for his moment last night and made some big plays that helped us win. So, excited for him for his opportunity, but really bummed about Huff.”
How would you say Talanoa was playing before the injury?
“I thought he started out well. I thought he hit a little lull during the season in our skid. I thought he played one of his best games versus Jacksonville. I thought the same thing was going to happen here. I thought he was going to end up having a real good year.”
What’s your assessment of the defense overall? It’s been two, seems like better games performance-wise.
“Yeah, I think two weeks in a row they really played really well versus the run. They did a good job making the team one dimensional. I think they rallied big time, especially down there in the red zone, keeping them out on all those opportunities they had. I thought they did a good job getting their hands on the ball and not just with the PBUs, but also getting the turnovers. I thought the pressure was pretty consistent through the game. So, I think we’ve had two in a row going in the right direction.”
What happened with CB Charvarius Ward? Did he bang knees or something? How has he played the last couple games, getting some key pass breakups?
“Yeah, I thought he had a hell of a game. I thought he had extremely good coverage on a number of those completions too. I thought [Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB] Baker [Mayfield] had some really good throws in some tight coverage. But it had to be perfect because he was real sticky all day, got his hands on a number of balls. Would’ve picked that Hail Mary, but he did what he’s coached to do, he knocked it down. So I thought that was good for him. But yeah, I didn’t get any reports on him being hurt. Talking to him after the game, I just think there was a collision that I don’t know, knocked the wind at him or what on that one play, but he ended up having no issues.”
Is there a timeframe for Talanoa’s surgery and would he be expected to be fully recovered or at least ready for the 2024 season?
“Yeah, just with the timing he did it, he’ll need a plan for training camp, but with the time and everything, if everything goes smoothly, he should be ready for Week 1.”
How did QB Brock Purdy’s film look a day later?
“It looked a lot like it did live. I mean, he played at a real high level, made real good decisions, was very smart with the ball. He played like his numbers looked. It was very impressive.”
When he came out of the Draft, there was a lot of talk about his arm strength. Has that been any hindrance at all for him? Maybe is his arm even stronger than you thought it was when you guys drafted him?
“I think it’s definitely stronger than what we thought it was when we drafted him. But we saw that the first day out at rookie mini-camp. I think when people talk about arm strength, it’s yeah, can he sit there and take three hitches and make the wrong decision and just wait and throw it 70 yards down the field? Probably not. But when do you ever want a guy to do that? On a Hail Mary, maybe. But, you like guys who can make all the throws in the timing of the play which is usually going by the right decisions and when to throw it deep, when to throw it short, when to check it down, when to go over the middle. Brock’s always had the arm strength to make all those throws.”
Now that you’ve had two games with DL Chase Young, what is he bringing to this defense?
“I mean, Chase is a real good rusher and he is really physical versus the run. So just adding to the collective unit, which has been huge for us. We try to have strength in numbers with our D-Line, we try to keep them fresh, we try to keep them going. So it’s not just having to depend on one or two guys to make O-Linemen miss to get sacks. It’s creating edges on people, making the quarterback move, making the quarterback watch the rush. When you have more guys out there, it’s really what makes it go. Adding Chase has been a huge one for the unit and that helps everyone else. Then he individually is good enough to make the plays too, which he’s gotten those ops and he’s come through with them.”
Early in the game, RB Elijah Mitchell went in for a series, didn’t go back in much else. Was RB Christian McCaffrey needing a break or was it just a change of pace?
“No, all of that’s when Christian had gone 18 plays in a row and [running backs coach Robert Turner Jr.] Bobby will get on the headset and say, ‘Hey, Kyle he’s gone 18, I’m going to start this series out with Elijah, you good with that? And I say, ‘Yeah, go ahead.’ And then we started out that way and then we just rotate Christian usually when it gets to a third down. But we try to mix it up. So, you try to balance it out as well as you can. That’s kind of what happened to us in that Rams game back in Week 2. All the times we were going to take him out to spell them, there was a timeout or a two-minute warning or something, he ended up getting his rest. You always want to rest Christian. It’s hard to take him out because how good he is in every phase of the game, but we’ve also got some really good backups too. So we’ve got to make sure we mix him out, keep him healthy and fresh and it’s real random with that and how it goes.”
You guys are a one touchdown favorite going into Seattle, which is the biggest I think that the 49ers have been since going up there since realignment in 2002. Gambling stuff aside, that reflects pretty well on where this team has come in the last couple weeks. How do you feel about the team’s momentum and just the challenge that it is playing up there?
“Anything that you start out with numbers like that and stuff, that’s all just set up. So I don’t think about that at all, but I don’t care what the situation, who’s playing, what the teams are like. Hey, you go up to Seattle, it’s as hard as it gets and it’s one of the toughest places to play in the NFL, if not the toughest. They have a certain style there that, and the way they play that is harder to deal with on the road because of how loud it is in the snap count disadvantage. So, it is always tough to go there. I also know just starting with them today, how many good players they have, how well they’re coached, and how big of a challenge it’ll be this Thursday.”
It looks like Seattle Seahawks QB Geno Smith and Seattle Seahawks RB Kenneth Walker III might be legitimately questionable. Does their kind of iffy status change anything about the way you guys prepare?
“No, it doesn’t. You never know anything for sure. But regardless, it doesn’t change anything. You’ve always got to assume they’re going to be there, but if they’re not, not going to do anything differently.”
The defense played I think 71 snaps, which is maybe a little bit more than normal. I assume you’re going to get them off their feet a lot this week anyway, but just does their workload Sunday change the way you might tweak the schedule?
“No, the schedule’s as tweaked as much as it can be. We don’t do one thing full speed, we don’t see them today and we let them sleep in more tomorrow than usual. No, so I mean, 70 is not that bad. I mean, it could be a lot worse. You wish it was better, but no, we can’t tweak any more than we do.”
Have you ever coached on Thanksgiving before? What’s your greatest memory of just Thanksgiving football?
“I always loved Thanksgiving growing up because you just get to watch football all day and usually wait for my dad to get home when we all sit there starving and he gets home about five minutes before our meal. That’s usually a few hours later than everyone else’s. So we’re all irritated with him, and now I’m in that role. But no, we got to play on Thanksgiving in Dallas when I was at Washington and we had a huge win. We started out 3-6 that year and had to go on a big run and we had a big game versus Dallas, which I feel like led our team for the rest of the year to get to the Playoffs. So that was one of the more fun Thanksgiving days I’ve had in NFL.”
TE George Kittle seems to have been having higher production lately. Is it just him playing better? Is it opportunities? What’s led to his uptick in production?
“Honestly, when George just strings together healthy weeks it’s always just a matter of time for him. George does so much in the run game and the pass game, the way he plays every now and then he gets some setbacks, which take him back a little bit. It makes it a little harder for him to practice and things. But once he gets healthy and can get a few weeks in a row, it always takes care of itself. George is so explosive and consistent at what he does. We went into that game not sure how many opportunities he would get and he ended up getting more than anybody. You’re not just looking at the openers or anything thinking that by any means. You don’t really think that with any of our guys. It’s pretty balanced and you just see where the coverages take it. But the way George plays, the way our offense is and how things tie into the run and the pass game together and how good George is that it’s usually something we don’t have to force, it’s just a matter of time.”
Is there a different element in preparing for a team like this? I realize all Division teams know each other, but maybe there’s another layer to it with Seattle Seahawks Head Coach Pete Carroll. Does it change anything or is it a unique situation just because of the familiarity?
“I mean, they’ve changed their coordinators a little bit over these seven years, so sometimes their scheme changes a little bit. But when Pete’s there, their style’s always the same. I mean, they’re like him. They play with a certain type of energy. They run around, they make plays, even when something bad happens, they usually always overcome it. So, their style and just how they look and really the character they show on tape is always a huge challenge and that starts with Pete.”