Head Coach Kyle Shanahan Press Conference

Head Coach Kyle Shanahan

Press Conference – December 17, 2021

San Francisco 49ers

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Opening Comments:

“Alright, the Injuries. [LB] Dre Greenlaw is out. [RB] Elijah Mitchell, out. [DL] Maurice Hurst is out. [LB] Azeez [Al-Shaair] is doubtful. [S Jaquiski] Tartt, questionable. [DL] D.J. Jones, questionable. [CB] Ambry Thomas, questionable. Go ahead.”

Did CB Dontae Johnson come back today and have a full practice?

“Yeah. He got in last night and was at practice today.”

He is veteran enough status that a Friday practice is enough for him to start on Sunday?

“Yeah, that’s enough for him.”

Do you have to kind of see where he is or have you already done that to kind of see where he is at?

“No, totally. Yeah, he’s obviously just a week out from it and the grieving process takes a long time, so it was good to get him out there today. I think it was the first step. And we’ll continue to talk to him throughout the weekend.”

With some of these injured guys, is there any evaluation of, maybe we can get them to Thursday? Like does that play into any of these decisions at all?

“No. I mean the most important game is the game that’s ahead of us. And Thursday is always tough right after that, but we wouldn’t hold anyone out of this just so they could play that game. If they could play in this game, they’d be playing.”

How has Mitchell progressed this week? He was doing some condition on the side but—?

“Yeah, he was better this week.”

More optimistic for Thursday maybe?

“Not optimistic, but I hope so.”

Is it something where he can’t make it through the full concussion protocol. If the knee is–

“No, I think he’s pretty good with that. There’s lots of steps in it, but he’s right towards the end of that. I think he might be getting cleared later today. But it’s just the pain tolerance with the knee. We thought it would go down faster and it hasn’t as quickly as we thought it would.”

When you go into a game like this, do you go in knowing all the scenarios, as far as how a win, a loss and even a tie affects you guys? As far as how you might want to play it in case it does go into overtime?

“No, I don’t, yet. I will have our live computers in the building, which is what I call him. Hamp [vice president of football administration Brian Hampton] will definitely let me know probably as it gets close, whether a tie is better than a win or loss. Well a tie is always better than a loss. But no, I don’t worry about that stuff until I have too.”

Did you get any feedback on Sunday in Cincinnati, whether it was okay to play for a tie, just don’t lose it or anything like that?

“I said it out loud and he didn’t contradict me. I said it out loud out of frustration that on that third-and-four, ‘If we don’t get this, I’m kicking the field goal.’ Which I was very upset with because I’m mad at myself if I’m going for a tie instead of a win. That’ll be a very rough flight home, but I know how important it was for us not to lose that game. So it wasn’t worth that gamble. And he would’ve contradicted me if he thought it was wrong.”

With a few of the games getting changed around the league, do you have any objection to that and what are your feelings about it because there’s a few teams in there that are–?

“I couldn’t imagine playing a game with missing 25 guys. It’s hard when you’re missing seven, so I couldn’t imagine with 25. So that to me, I’m not paying attention to who and what, but that sounds like it makes the most sense to me.”

I think I asked you this last year, but do you start to consider sequestering a quarterback or something, just in case there is an outbreak on the team?

“Yeah, we didn’t have the most concern for us just because we’ve been fortunate that it hadn’t entered here, yet and hopefully it won’t. But then when the league made that rule yesterday anyways for everybody and then it’s kind of done anyways. You know we’re not allowed to meet together. Our meetings right now are how they when we went to Arizona last year. That started today. And I think that continues until Monday, I think. Then we’ll see what happens after that.”

How does that affect your game planning, just to go virtual? Is there any modifications to it? Would you obviously rather be in person?

“Yeah, I don’t think it affects game planning at all, but I think it definitely affects success rate. It’s the same thing with kids learning from school online. It’s not as good. It might work for a couple days or so, but it’s not at all the same thing. It’s much harder to focus. You can’t have that interaction. When you put in a lot of hours throughout the day, it’s just different when you’re doing it on a screen. And especially when you’re coaching things hard and trying to get things corrected and you just are looking at a bunch of faces on screens. I know for sure through experiencing it last year, guys don’t learn as well. So that’s the stuff you get a little frustrated with. But, one day into it, it’s not a problem, but it does add up.”

Do you try to talk to them more on the field knowing that ahead of time having learned from last year?

“I did today a little bit. I usually don’t talk that long on the field when we break the team down. I probably did a lot today. But yeah, it’s not the same when you’re over a screen.”

Did you anticipate something like this happening? You guys protected QB Nate Sudfeld early in the week. Was that because of this?

“How did we protect him?”

On your practice squad.

“Oh, I don’t know. That was a good decision if they did though. Oh actually, that makes sense why he wasn’t claimed, definitely. That wasn’t an option him leaving, so glad we made it not an option.”

Did you talk to the team about that today, just about stay safe and let’s keep this out of here?

“Yeah, we talked about it a lot the whole time and I think we’ve done a real good job of that but they know all that stuff. And you talk about the distractions of this all, I understand the distractions, but you can get consumed thinking and talking about this. Like everyone is, add on Christmas with that coming and you just aren’t as focused. I talked to our team a lot today on how focused I know Atlanta will be getting out of their hometown, getting on a plane, coming here a little bit early, which I think they are, but I know they’ll be focused. And we have to make sure there’s no excuses for us not to be. And there are reasons that I would understand, but that’s why you have to be conscious and aware of those and make sure that doesn’t distract you from doing anything different than what you normally do.”