Head Coach Kyle Shanahan Press Conference

Head Coach Kyle Shanahan

Press Conference – December 6, 2021

San Francisco 49ers

Listen to Audio I Media Center

Opening comments:

“Alright guys injuries from the game. [RB] Trenton Cannon, he’s in the concussion protocol. He’s doing better, he’s been discharged from the hospital and he is flying home right now. Our doctors will continue to monitor him. [CB] Emmanuel Moseley has a high ankle sprain, so he’ll be out several weeks. [RB] Elijah Mitchell, he was cleared after being evaluated during the game and postgame, but he had symptoms this morning, so he’s in the concussion protocol. [RB] Jeff Wilson [Jr.], knee flared up yesterday on him, but he’s expected to be back at practice this week. That’s it from the game.”

What about S Jaquiski Tartt’s hamstring?

“I got no reports on it today, so I’m assuming it’s fine.”

This is the second straight week someone has had a concussion in the game, been cleared, gone back in, gotten symptoms the next day. Does that have to be re-evaluated, how that’s evaluated on the sideline?

“I don’t know. The evaluation we do is the same that the whole League does. So, that’s stuff that happens all over. I know if you come in the next day with a headache, you automatically go in the protocol. So there’s lots of things that go into that. It’s something that I don’t know a lot about. I listen to what they say and the whole League has the same concussion protocol rules, and that’s what everyone goes by.”

That’s an independent doctor on the sideline, right? That cleared him to go back in?


How are the other guys? How do you feel about WR Deebo Samuel and LB Fred Warner and kind of what’s the plan of attack for this week for them?

“It’s still early on Monday. Fred was closer than Deebo was last week, so I expect to get Fred back at practice this Wednesday. Deebo, we’ll go day-to-day with him. I’m hoping to get him back this week, but it’s still too early to tell.”

On Jeff Wilson’s knee injury, did it flare up when he was trying to chase after that fake punt? It looked like he was kind of pulling up there at the end.

“I didn’t ask him. I thought it happened on his run, the one that got called back with the holding. But it possibly could have happened there. When it flares up on him, which has happened before, it happens during a certain play and it usually bothers him for a couple days.”

When you’re looking at QB Jimmy Garoppolo’s decision-making process, just in general when you’re working with quarterbacks, how do you coach that? I know it’s different in live game situations because it’s live bullets flying, but what’s the process in trying to help them make better decisions in games?

“Just how not to make the wrong read when something goes differently than you’re anticipating. So you try to coach on what you’re anticipating throughout the week. Who’s going to take something away, where to get your eyes in the right spot, and when there is a guy there, when to progress to the next guy. Whether it’s a high-low, whether it’s across the board. Or when someone’s taking him away and the protection’s not good, do you ditch it or if you can’t ditch it, how do you protect the ball and just take a sack before ever turning it over? Those are the really the main things you work on.”

On the fake punt, was that a schematic bust or was there somebody doing completely the wrong thing?

“No, they just got us on it. They made a good play call, a risky one, backed up like that. But it was a good one. We had two guys doubling the gunner and we had a guy in the six-man box. And as you run that, you run the risk of a guy coming off the gunner unblocked, which would be a dead play. And they rolled the dice on it and we didn’t have a guy come off and that’s what happens. So there’s nothing the players could have done differently on it. I’d like [WR Brandon] Aiyuk to make the tackle down the field so it’s not a touchdown and we could live another day. But they got us on that and that’s something we have to look at in our tendencies and everything like that.”

What are your thoughts now on the special teams, just generally? There’s obviously some highlighted mistakes there. Are you unhappy with special teams right now?

“Well, yeah, two weeks in a row they’ve given up some bad plays. We know it happened last week versus Minnesota. Team played good enough around it to overcome it. We went into this week knowing how big of a deal it is, how good Seattle’s been, how we were a little undermanned with some injuries that we had, which usually is a chain reaction down to special teams. So we knew how big of a deal it would be. And to miss that, for them to get that fake punt on the first special teams play of the game was huge. The fumble that we had was even bigger. And then the missed extra point, big deal too. So we definitely have to play there better and we’re trying to work at it.”

With Emmanuel Moseley out several weeks, how do you feel about your cornerback situation and do you figure to keep CB Dontae Johnson and CB Josh Norman out there?

“We’ll see how the week plays out. We’re obviously struggling in that area. Now losing E-Man definitely doesn’t make it easier, but we’re going to keep having the young guys compete. Hopefully they can get more and more ready. D-Mo [DB Deommodore Lenoir] did a couple good things in the game, but then struggled on some things also so. I’m happy with [CB] Ambry [Thomas] and how he played on special teams. I thought it was his best game by far on special teams, having three tackles on it and doing the right thing on those. And hopefully those two can up their game up and push Dontae and Norman a little bit. But those are the guys that we’ve got.”

Watching Ambry during training camp, it looked like he was really grabby, just always kind of holding. I realize he didn’t play last season. Do you think that was kind of a byproduct of that and how has he been doing in practice? Does he feel like or does he look like he’s getting more comfortable in the coverage aspect of it?

“Yeah, I definitely think so. Whether it was the year off, I’m not sure. Not being able to do much in OTAs, I thought Ambry was way behind the eight-ball in training camp. It got him off to a real slow start, D-Mo was ahead of him, back then. And I think it’s evened out. I think Ambry has really turned it on here in practice this last month or so. He’s been getting better each week and he’s definitely got himself a chance to not only push D-MO, but to push the two starters out there too now.”

You mentioned that this is not the first time Jeff Wilson has irritated the knee injury, what he had surgery on. Anyway, are you talking about since he’s returned he’s had some discomfort for the past couple weeks, is that accurate?

“When people come back from a big injury, it’s lots of words that go with it that I’m told, disc, bursae sacs, things like that. But people have things flare up and that’s happened with Jeff a couple times. It happened a little bit in the game and that’s why he was struggling a little bit, but it’s why he wasn’t taken out either. He was there in case of emergency. And I know he’s doing a little bit better today. Like it has been, I’m sure it’ll get better each day as we go here.”

Did you consider running that zone-read with QB Trey Lance instead of Jimmy Garoppolo? And what was your thought process in making that decision?

“Because we thought it was a really good play to run versus those guys. We didn’t pull it because it was the right pull, we pulled it because our center stopped the play because he fumbled the snap then got knocked over by the nose guard and Jimmy could see the nose guard was in the backfield, so he just tried to save the play, but we weren’t expecting it to be a pull with how wide their guy played on the line of scrimmage, who I think he was out past the hash mark.”

So my original question was, why not run it with Lance? You just weren’t expecting it to be a pull? That’s why?

“Yeah, because you can run zone-read with anybody. You don’t need to just do that with a certain person. Lots of teams run zone-read.”

When you look at tape and you see plays that are successful, when Jimmy takes a check down, but there’s clearly a better option available. I’m talking about the checkdown to TE George Kittle in the second quarter and it looked like Aiyuk broke free. How do you evaluate plays like that? That the net is positive, but there’s a better option on the table.

“There’s a progression of where you look and where you go with your eyes and that’s where the ball should go based off the coverage, based off of where you’re looking. So everyone has a pretty good idea of that and sometimes guys progress too fast. Sometimes they see the coverage wrong. Quarterbacks never want to apologize for a completion, which you don’t want to get too hard on, but when you should be looking in a different spot and that was the bigger play, then you correct that.”

At running back, will there be workouts this week because the numbers are so light?

“Yes, I think those guys are working on that today and hopefully we’ll get some more guys in here tomorrow to work out.”

A hypothetical, but if you would score the touchdown there, were you going to definitely kick the point or would you have gone for two?

“I was planning on going for two. That’s how I felt, but I would have seen how I felt after that down too.”

Are you concerned about the functionality of the offense as a whole when the run game is not what you hoped it would be?

“I think the run game is very important to our offense, yes. I think they go hand-in-hand. I think us running the ball that many times, even though you’re not getting the yards per carry, I think that also has to do with why we had our most explosive passing performance of the year. It was about 10 yards a pass. Sometimes you run the ball to help out the pass game and sometimes you throw the ball to help out the run game, vice versa. So I think our run game would’ve had a chance of opening up if we stuck with it and got a little bit more opportunities with it, but it didn’t work out that way. Seattle always makes it tough to run the ball. It usually is. From a schematic standpoint, it’s somewhat of an uphill battle, but if you sit there and you throw it too much, you’re always risking the risk of turning the ball over, which we did do a couple times. But you have to figure out what type of game it is. I think we had more runs than passes and I think we had about 14 plays in the second half until that final drive. And I think the final drive was 13 plays and only ran it twice on those last 13 plays. Sometimes the games just work out that way.”

When you said you would’ve gone for two, obviously, that’s not unheard of, but maybe a little more rare than not. What would’ve been your thinking in going for two there?

“I don’t know. It’s too much of a hypothetical, so I can’t even promise you that I would’ve. I don’t mind talking about it, but I’d be just making stuff up.”

Was there any temptation to put Lance in for any of those final four plays down by the goal line?

“No, not at all. At that time in the game, we had just gone 98 yards on a drive and we’re going to put Trey in who hasn’t played in a month? I don’t think that would’ve right to him at all or to our team. I felt really good about the plays, what we did. I would have loved for [WR] Trent [Sherfield] to come up with that catch. He made a real tough one versus Minnesota last week. And it was tough to make that catch with that guy all over him. I still think he could have, it’d have been a hell of a play and it was a good job on the second one. I liked the deal, it was just [Seattle Seahawks DE Carlos] Dunlap made hell of a play getting his hands up and tipping that ball. We shouldn’t have let it get to that point, but that’s stuff you have to live with.”