Head Coach Kyle Shanahan Press Conference

Head Coach Kyle Shanahan

Press Conference – December 18, 2023

San Francisco 49ers

Listen to Audio I Media Center


Opening comments:

“Injuries from the game, [DB Deommodore Lenoir] Demo ended up having a rib contusion. He should be day-to-day. [DL] Kalia Davis has a high ankle sprain, so he is going to be out for a few weeks. [WR] Jauan Jennings is in the concussion protocol. [DL] Clelin Ferrell had an ankle also. He is day-to-day. Players who missed the game, expecting to get [OL Spencer] Burford back this week for practice. [DL Arik] Armstead, [TE Ross] Dwelley, [DL Javon] Hargrave, [RB Elijah] Mitchell and [LB Oren] Burks are kind of all in the same boat to where we’ve just got to see how it goes this week with them. So, we’ll get an idea of that when we start practicing.”


I have a question on WR Deebo Samuel’s first touchdown on the opening drive. Was that a play that you waited until Friday to put in on the red zone package? When you’re formulating these game plans, how often do they change during the week?

“We always install our red zone on Friday, so we always do that with that stuff. We do it as a coaching staff on Thursday night, and then we teach it to the players Friday morning. Then we go out and practice it for Friday’s practice. You try to put in a lot of stuff on Wednesdays, just the base game plan, and then you do the third downs and short yardages on Thursdays, and then you do red zone on Friday. So you kind of have everything put in over three days. There’s times where something will come up or we’ll see something different on a Saturday, which is very rare, but sometimes it does where we’ll have to tweak some things. But usually the change comes in the games when we see some things we weren’t anticipating.”


Now that you’ve had a chance to look at the film, what did you think about what issues there were with the run defense? How much did missing Armstead and Javon hurt?

“I definitely think it hurt. I think all the factors went into it. One, having those guys out. Two, the amount of plays they got, especially there in the first half. Losing Kalia during the game, which really got those guys tired out towards the end. Especially when they stayed on the field on a couple third downs, just especially those last couple drives. I thought the biggest thing was the missed tackles. They bounced off a couple. Then mainly just our tracking angles on a number of plays, just running to the ball. We over pursued a couple things and opened up the cutback, which gave them some big ones. Usually when you give up those yards you’re expecting a lot of schematic busts and stuff, especially with the running quarterback. So, I thought that didn’t hurt us as bad as you’d expect, but we’ve got to clean up all those tackles and got to try to get our depth back too.”


Is there any residual effect of the stinger on QB Brock Purdy today?

“Not that I heard. He felt good last night and they didn’t give me any information today that they’re concerned about. So, I’m assuming it’s your typical stinger. The fact that he was able to get through the game was a pretty good sign.”


Were the players off today and tomorrow?

“No, tomorrow we’ll treat as a Monday, so tomorrow will be our true day after a game procedure. Today guys just came in with the injury stuff so the doctors could see them. They’re on their own today.”


I know that you have a lot of injuries at defensive tackle and I know that you guys looked at DT Ndamukong Suh last year. Any discussion about him this year?

“Not yet. I’m not ruling out anything. We have guys on our practice squad as you guys see that we used last week. But, that stuff we also aren’t exactly sure when Hargrave and Armstead are coming back. We do know they have chances this week. So, there’s a lot of variables that are playing together that we’ll be discussing here the rest of the day, tomorrow. Even if we don’t make a move in any area, that’ll probably be continuing throughout the year.”


The play where Deebo faked to the side and ended up getting a touchdown, is that something new that you’ve put into the playbook or is it something that you’ve thought about for a while?

“Yeah, it was just some things we saw on tape and just trying to make things tie together. We thought some things that showed on tape could maybe play out that way and we got the right look and it played out well.”


You mentioned that Brock Purdy has excellent field vision. Is that a God-given trait or something quarterbacks can develop?

“I think it’s a God-given trait that develops. I think you’re on a certain spectrum. The more times you get put in those situations, the more reps you can get, your preparation to what to anticipate in those situations, everything can make that a talent that you were kind of born with that you can extremely excel in or that you don’t really develop. I don’t think if you don’t have it, it’s not something that you can just develop. You have to have a certain amount of that and some are higher than others and some I think can make it better the more football they play and the more situations they get in. But, you definitely have to have a certain amount to be able to see the field like that.”


As you look back on this sort of self-sustaining culture you guys have put together since you and general manager John Lynch arrived, how big were the poles of TE George Kittle in ‘17 and LB Fred Warner in ‘18 out of the Draft to that?

“Huge. What we have here is 1000% based off of just the people that are in this building. We were presented a very good opportunity by the Yorks to be able to make those decisions and try to get the right people in here to build a culture. Our culture’s a hundred percent off the people in this building. You go back to our early years and some of those big Draft picks our first year, especially being George that first year, Fred the second year, I want to say we got Deebo in here the third year. But even guys like Ross Dwelley, guys like bringing in [FB Kyle Juszczyk] Juice, [LB] Dre Greenlaw. There’s so many guys who have been the type of character that we look for. When you do hit on those guys and you get those guys here, it’s really cool for younger guys to come in and see kind of how things are done. You don’t have to talk as much as we used to when we got here because they just watch guys like that do it the right way and they try to emulate them because they know how successful they’ve been on the field.”


When you were watching RB Christian McCaffrey backpedal for it seemed like 10 yards, what were your emotions watching that play?

“I was so stressed because we knew we had the look and it was something we knew would take a long time to develop, but we felt if we could hold on it would be there. Then we knew Christian got to the spot, but we didn’t think we were going to be able to hold on. Then Brock did a hell of a job buying some time so he could get away from the internal pressure. Then right when he threw it, I was like, ‘all right, perfect, we pulled it off. But you could tell Christian didn’t pick up the ball right away. So the whole time it was in the air, it just looked like he was going to stumble or it was going to go over him. But then when he caught it, we knew we were all right because we knew he was alone. It was a cool deal and I was pumped they were able to pull it off.”


You’ve only faced the Ravens once as being the Niners coach. Are you kind of expecting though the same style of a run-oriented offense, a really talented quarterback and a fierce pass rush?

“Yes, just the way they run their organization with [Baltimore Ravens Head Coach] John [Harbaugh] and the group of coaches they have there, the style that they play to. You always know what you’re going to get from their team. We haven’t played them in a little bit, but I know that hasn’t changed. You always see them on tape, you always see their numbers and they still have the same quarterback who will always be as big of an issue as there is. I know it’s a number of years later and there’s a bunch of different guys out there, but the style’s going to be, to me, extremely similar.”


How has Baltimore Ravens QB Lamar Jackson developed as a passer?

“Well, I haven’t studied him yet. We just finished this stuff and when I’m done with you guys I get going on that. So I can’t say exactly, but when I just watch him on crossover tape and stuff like that, everyone knows how elite of a runner he is. But the way he can throw, he’s always been such a good thrower, but what I see is, I think he sees the field well. He’s got a good way of finding the holes in the defense, whether he is scrambling off-schedule or it’s in the pocket and rhythm. He’s just got to decide all the time whether he wants to kill you with his arm or his legs. Both of them are a very good option for him. That’s why he is such a challenge.”