Head Coach Kyle Shanahan Press Conference
Head Coach Kyle Shanahan
Press Conference – November 29, 2023
San Francisco 49ers
“Injuries for practice today. [RB] Jordan Mason, hamstring, won’t practice. [WR] Ray-Ray McCloud [III], rib, won’t practice. [DL] Arik Armstead, foot, won’t practice. [OL] Spencer Burford, knee, limited.”
Is Arik’s foot injury something similar to what he dealt with last year?
“I’m not sure exactly. I know it’s his foot. I’m not sure how similar it is.”
Do you kind of want it to rain today or are there provisions you are doing to prepare for what might be a pretty rainy game on Sunday?
“No, I don’t want it to rain today. We’ll deal with whatever happens Sunday, but rather it be dry out there today. I don’t want to take our team in the bubble. So, we’ll enjoy being outside today.”
I’m sure you’ve been asked about this, but the Cleveland game definitely seemed to be some slippery stuff for QB Brock Purdy. Do you think there’s any changes or preparation there?
“No, a wet ball makes it harder on everybody. I’ve had some guys who really struggle in the rain. I’ve been through some situations with Brock, not just the game but practice, but I think he’s as good as any quarterback I’ve had in the rain. He’s dealt with it a lot at Iowa State. I don’t think there’s much practicing in rain. It doesn’t get less slippery. So, we’ll just try to have an efficient one today and deal with it Sunday.”
Have you ever made your quarterbacks practice with a wet ball to practice it?
“No. It’s usually like that from how sweaty guys are though anyways.”
How do you practice the tush push play if you can’t practice the physicality?
“We’re going to do like 10 live reps of it today and see if we have anybody left after it (laughter). No, you don’t practice it.”
How do you prepare to deal with that since it’s such a big part of their game?
“You just coach it up, tell them where we want guys and stuff. We’re not going to spend a lot of time on it, but we’re going to talk about it, show it, and do as good as we can.”
What are the keys to stopping Philadelphia Eagles QB Jalen Hurts besides the brotherly shove? He does so much else.
“Yeah, you want to try to keep him out of those situations first and foremost. I know it’s possible to stop, but I think it’s pretty proven that it’s extremely hard, so you try to keep him out of those situations. They do such a good job of balancing everything out with the drop-backs, the play-actions, the RPOs, the quarterback run game, the regular run game. So, it’s really impossible to stay ahead of them in terms of who has the chalk last. They’ve got a lot of answers in their run game and stuff, which could put him in some pretty good situations. So, you’ve got to be able to weather the storm when they get you. Let it be a first down and not a touchdown. Play very disciplined, very sound, and when you get your opportunity to make plays you can’t miss them.”
You talked about the Dallas game and how proud you were of how they stayed in the moment and didn’t make it bigger than it was. Does that apply this week too?
“Yeah, I think it applies every week, but I think it’s always tougher when the moment’s a lot bigger outside of the building just because of obvious ramifications and the history. But, the moment is exactly what it is every Sunday and you’ve got to make sure that’s reality for our players.”
Does it bother you at all that you guys are the favorites going into this game? They’re the home team, they’ve lost one game, but you’re the favorites.
“I mean, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to me, but I don’t really know how that stuff works. So, I don’t really know why. It is random.”
You guys at least had some interest in cornerbacks at the trade deadline. Does the way CB Ambry Thomas has played the last three games make you feel any better about what you have back there in that situation?
“Yeah, we just looked at opportunities that were available. But, I think Ambry, he’s gotten his opportunity here in the last month and I thought he’s done a good job throughout all of it. I think he’s gotten better each week. So, I’ve been really happy with him and him being ready for this and how he’s improving as he goes about it too.”
The hallmark of his career is a little inconsistency, like sometimes it looks like he’s arrived and then maybe he takes a step back. Do you see something in him that would suggest maybe he’s arrived, maybe it’s clicked?
“I’ve seen him every day throughout this whole season. I think even going back to training camp in this offseason, I think a lot clicked for him. I think it’s always tough. I go back to him a lot his first year. When guys get thrown in positions their first year and stuff because of injuries and things they are not quite ready for and then they still have some success I think it’s always a little harder for the reality of the next year and I think he hit that step back. But I thought, talking about this last year, he learned so much and you could see him this offseason how improved and how much more mature he was in terms of just day in and day out and consistent. I know he hasn’t got all his ops throughout the year, which could be frustrating, but that’s what’s been so cool about him is he never felt bad for himself or anything. He just kept working like he did in camp and that’s why he is a better player each and every week.”
How has CB Deommodore Lenoir handled kind of bouncing back and forth a little bit and then just the way he’s kind of accepted that challenge?
“Yeah, I can’t say enough about Demo. Demo has been so good on the outside and when we ask him to go inside, he goes in there and plays the exact same way. Wherever Demo stays at, he always gets really good at it. We need him in both areas, which puts a lot of stress on him, but I can’t tell you how happy I’ve been with his style of play. I know we’ve had to switch him for some key situations, but he keeps getting better and better at those spots.”
How do you handle that during the week in terms of like his reps inside and out there?
“Similar as everyone else’s. I mean, you get half the plays at nickel as a starter and our backup gets about half and so it’s probably like four to two.”
What makes that such a difficult thing to do? Play outside on base downs and then move inside.
“Just totally different positions. One’s basically a linebacker and the other one’s a corner, and when I say that, I mean one’s inside all the time and the other one’s usually outside and there’s just a lot of different combinations you can deal with. I mean, there’s nothing different than a nickelback and a linebacker. If we take [FB Kyle Juszczyk] Juice our fullback and in the I-formation and we move them out to the slot, you’ll watch [LB] Dre Greenlaw go out with them and that’s exactly what a nickel is. If we took [WR] Jauan [Jennings] and brought him back to the I, then you’d see our nickel playing inside linebacker. So just the gaps and all the run stuff, t’s just a huge difference.”
In terms of preparing for them, can you go back to last January at all or do you just throw out whatever you were doing that game plan and start from scratch?
“You throw it out and start from scratch. I mean, if it’s early in the year, but when you have this much tape, you don’t like to watch what they were into last year. I think we’re just both different teams, different styles. You evolve all the time and you evolve each week. I think a lot of that stuff can, in my history, it hurts you more than it helps.”
What challenges do Philadelphia Eagles WR A.J. Brown and Philadelphia Eagles WR Devonta Smith pose?
“Every challenge. I mean they’re both true number one receivers. They’re both huge threats outside of the numbers in every route. They both can run a go-route and a comeback. They both can run by you, they both can go up for it. When they can do that vertically and drop their hips, that’s tough on the outside and they also can run slants and go over the middle. So, they’re two of the better receivers in this league.”
Last year when you guys lost your quarterback, they ran it 44 times at you guys and the D-Line got pushed around a little bit. What do you think about the way your defense looks run defense-wise on film?
“I think we’ve done a decent job this year. I think we’re ranked-wise pretty good. But, I really think we’ve been going the right direction here these last few weeks, just getting better each week. Philly’s as big of a challenge stopping the run as anyone in the league, not just this year but over the last few years. So, we’re ready for the challenge, excited for the challenge and it is definitely a challenge.”
I know you were impressed with Brock from the beginning in OTAs last season and into training camp, but in scout sessions, was there anything that stood out about him? Did you like say, ‘okay, there’s something happening here’ while he was running the scout team?
“Yeah, the same things that happened when he got three reps in OTAs, it’s like you talk about it all day and it’s like, ‘man, those three reps were pretty decisive and good’ and kept him throughout training camp and then you got him on scout team and you’re doing other stuff. But at the end of the day you’re like, ‘wow, did you see those couple plays that Brock made on scout team?’ It’s always been the same with him. It was just everyone always, players, coaches, personnel guys, like everyone always had good things to say about him. But it was, ‘how’s it going to be when he gets in the game?’ It’s been just like it is in practice.”
With what happened last year in the NFC Championship game and going back this year, is there any management mentally of potential trauma with him or you do you not have to worry about it?
“I don’t think so. I mean, no, I wouldn’t think so at all. I think all that stuff for guys when they have big injuries. I think the first game, the first hit, things like that they’re a little bit vulnerable to with post-traumatic stress, but I think once they get through that stuff, I think it’s over for the most part.”
Who will be playing Jalen Hurts on scout team this week?
“[QB] Sam Darnold. [QB] Brandon Allen.”
Arik Armstead, has he and DL Javon Hargrave played off each other better these last few weeks too? How has that tandem kind of developed over these 10 games so far?
“Yeah, I think they’ve played really well off each other. I know our production and everything’s gone up huge with our D-Line. That’s kind of what I just mean by just the whole group has been doing really well together. It’s never just one guy and it’s been one guy a lot here and there, all different guys, but all of them collectively, I feel like are at the top of their game right now. You go through ebb and flows throughout the year and I feel like they’ve been at the top of their game the last couple weeks. You get better or worse. So hopefully we can keep that going.”
Anything specifically about Hargrave that’s kind of jumped out?
“I think Hargrave, he’s been real consistent all year. I think the game he struggled in the most was the Cincinnati game and I think that he was a guy who looked like he needed rest more than anyone just at that time. I think he got that and I think he’s looked the same as every other game.”
You brought S Erik Harris here for the practice squad. He’s got a lot of special teams experience. He’s been a personal protector I think before. Is he an option for the S George Odum spot? How significant is Odum’s loss?
“That’s a huge loss. I mean, George is one of the leaders on our team, one of the best players in the league to me on special teams. He gives us great depth at safety because he was the next man up to help us out at safety, which already down with [S Talanoa Hufanga] Huff. So losing on special teams is a big deal and our depth at safety is a big deal. So that’s stuff we do have to be creative with a little bit. Everyone does have an opportunity. Hopefully we’ll see how this practice week goes to who can help us out on special teams the most and who also do we feel comfortable with at safety in case there’s injuries.”
When WR Brandon Aiyuk scored the touchdown, the camera panned to your father in the end zone. He looked very pleased. He obviously was a great play schemer/designer. Do you lean on him in any official capacity in big games like this to watch film or do anything to help you prepare?
“I mean, I lean on my dad for a lot, not real schematically or anything like that. He knows how much you’ve got to put into that to give suggestions. I mean, anyone can give a suggestion if they watch one thing and that might be good for that one thing, but oh my God, it’s going to screw you for the other things that you watch for three days. So, he’s very careful with that stuff, but he’s been through a lot and we’re real close. I get advice from him on everything.”
After the game last week, CB Charvarius Ward Mooney said he was traveling with Seattle Seahawks WR DK Metcalf and it was yours and General Manager John Lynch’s suggestion to the defensive staff that happened. If that’s accurate, is that unusual for John to weigh in on something like that?
“I mean, John and I talk about everything, so it’s not really like that. John just knew how I felt about something and he just relayed something to me that I heard about. So, I just went and talked about it and fixed it.”
What did he relay to you?
“Just that he wasn’t sure if we were doing it every time and which I understood why, but I just wanted to talk about it and I think it was overblown a little bit. But, had an opinion on how I wanted to start it out and decided to share that with some of the guys and they agreed. Once Mooney was on board it made it pretty easy.”