Head Coach Kyle Shanahan Press Conference

Head Coach Kyle Shanahan

Press Conference – November 9, 2022

San Francisco 49ers

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Opening Comments:

“Injuries for today. [DL Arik] Armstead will not practice, foot, ankle. [DL] Samson [Ebukam], quad and achilles, won’t practice. [LB Dre] Greenlaw, calf, limited. [CB Jason] Verrett, knee, limited. That’s all I got today. Go ahead.”

The Samson quad, when did that injury happen?

“On Monday.”

I don’t think you have to disclose RB Elijah Mitchell, OL Colton McKivitz or LB Azeez Al-Shaair, but would they be limited or full?

“I don’t have to disclose them. No, they’re full, they’re going. I think I would if they we’re limited, but actually, it doesn’t say that on here. They’re full in my mind. I don’t have a rep count on them”

WRs Deebo Samuel and Jauan Jennings are cleared for full?


What did you do during the BYE Week?

“Hung out here for a few days. Got my first trick-or-treating in in eight years, which was fun. Went away with the family for two and a half days and then just sat around and watched football like a fan on Sunday.”

Can you give us a little update on what you’re expecting to see out of Jason Verrett and how much closer he is to maybe–?

“I thought he was real close, we considered him last week or two weeks ago. I know he was here for a lot of the time when we were away. I know he did some stuff down on his own, where he goes and so I expect him to be further along this week. I’ll see him out there in about an hour, but hopefully he’s closer.”

Would you consider doing like a cornerback platoon the way you do a right guard platoon or would he need to be ready to play the whole game?

“No, we’d consider that. Yeah.”

This will be the first opportunity to give a full-blown gameplan with both Deebo and RB Christian McCaffrey and that’s a story of almost national interest. People wondering what you’re going to do and not that you’re going to disclose anything, what can they do for each other when they’re on the field at the same time regardless of where they are?

“You got five guys who can touch the ball, so the more people have to worry about those five guys, the better. You got two guys who are a little bit interchangeable. They’re different positions, but they both can play the other one’s position, so it just makes it a lot easier to distribute the field. It’s not like Deebo is going to do this for him or he’s going to do that for Deebo. They both do it for everybody including one another and themselves. It just makes a little bit more space and, it makes a little bit more of a threat on whoever gets ball in their hands.”

What’s the hardest part about preparing for Los Angeles Chargers RB Austin Ekeler?

“Just that he can do everything. I think he’s one of the better backs in this league. He’s a very natural runner, hits the right holes. When a defense makes a mistake, he makes them pay right away. He’s extremely efficient and good in the pass game, whether it’s screens or running routes or check downs, doesn’t seem to fumble, he is as consistent as it gets and does it in all aspects.”

What’s uniquely difficult about defending Los Angeles Chargers QB Justin Herbert?

“That he’s got the skillset to do everything. It always starts with how good of a thrower someone is and he’s right there with the top guys on this planet. Whether it’s accuracy, whether it’s doing it from tough angles or whether it’s just arm strength. And whenever you have a guy like that who does have that athletic ability to be a threat, if you don’t account for him it’s a huge challenge.”

What do you remember most about scrimmaging these guys last August, especially Los Angeles Chargers S Derwin James and what he brings to that defense?

“They were just getting going, but we were real familiar with them with [Los Angeles Chargers head coach] Brandon [Staley] being with LA the year before and playing them twice, so it was a real good week. We all got good work. It was as good of work as we’ve gotten, so I think both teams enjoyed it a lot. We weren’t on each other’s schedule, so we weren’t too worried about much, but a year later I can see that they’ve added some guys and they’re a really good team and Derwin, I think it as highly of Derwin as any safety in this league. He was that good coming out in college, he was a guy we really liked and everything he’s done with the Chargers has kind of been as expected.”

Deebo’s last 14 carries went for just 33 yards, that’s not a huge sample size, but I don’t think there was ever a stretch last year where he was limited that much. Are defenses keying in on him more than they were last year and can McCaffrey help with that?

“I don’t think Christian changes much of that. People know how big of a threat he is and they know how much they better bring it when he goes. And I don’t necessarily look at it as if you don’t get that big one then those yards per carry aren’t going to be that good because we don’t give it to him a ton. And we haven’t gotten that big one yet. I think he got a big one verse Seattle, which was one of our worst looks that we had and he made the first guy miss and went 50 something, but he hasn’t had that good look just to hit it clean to the house and when you don’t get that, it’s tough to get a big one unless you keep handing it to him and people are doing a pretty good job making sure they have safeties there.”

Do you guys do self-scout during the BYE Week or any special projects like that?

“Every guy has their own area, so they always go specifically on that area for two days and just update on any tendencies, things like that, but it’s also stuff I get every week on a printout from analytics from just what we do and you never stop self-scouting.”

Do you generally find that the BYE Week doesn’t make that much of a change in how you approach things that what you find out during the BYE Week are things you already knew?

“Yeah, I’ve been on teams that you try to reinvent the wheel during the BYE Week and all you do is miss your opportunity to catch up on sleep and you die out in a few days. I feel with players and coaches, the best thing you can do is get away, that’s why I hate the BYE Week when it’s like Week Three, Week Four because you’re not ready quite yet. We needed to get away a little, physically and mentally and you always look at stuff, you do it for two days hard before you go with the players and when you’re alone for that long you always have airplane rides or stuff you look at, but the main thing is when you come back, you’re itching to come back and people are itching to get you out of their house too and it’s not really how you felt the day before the BYE Week, so everyone’s got a lot of energy and you’re fresh to go and we’re ready to grind again.”

You mentioned about four weeks ago that WR Brandon Aiyuk was playing great football despite the numbers not being there. In the last four weeks he’s really broken out, what did you see that that implied that he was going to break out soon?

“Just how he looked on every play. Just the routes he was running, how he was separating, how he was blocking, how good he seemed, guys go through ups and downs throughout years always, whether it’s physically or mentally, but I did think Atlanta was probably his best game of the year going up to that time and I think he’s passed that the last two games. That happens with a lot of players. You can’t see it on TV, but when you get to see the coaches’ copy and you just isolate on people, then you can really know who’s playing well and not, like when I sit and watch it at home all day Sunday on the Red Zone Channel or whatever, you know who’s making plays but that doesn’t tell you who’s always playing well.”

I don’t think we got to talk to you since the Miami Dolphins RB Jeff Wilson Jr. trade, how hard was that for you? We know what your opinion of Jeff is.

“It was extremely hard. That was one that I was not happy about, excited about, but something I truly understand that I think was the best for the team. We got a lot of running backs here who can do some stuff. Jeff has been exactly what I want for a Niner. And he’s helped us in every situation possible. We got that opportunity to bring in Christian, Elijah coming back, we have a lot of other guys in the depth chart that give us depth, not that that that made Jeff expendable by any means. I didn’t think it would happen at all because usually it doesn’t, but a team wanted him really bad and when they did it moved it up enough to where even though I was hoping it wouldn’t it, because I want him here this year. When you look at the future and how many games are left and what our rosters like, you have to make the best decision that isn’t always right now, it’s both. And for us to get a draft pick that we do need, give some of these other guys opportunities that they don’t need yet, because we are healthy, but I do think it’s the right thing for us in the long-term.”

Jeff was good as a pass catcher out of the backfield, where’s Elijah at in that phase of his game?

“Elijah has the capability to be just like that. I think it’s tough to do that when he has had the injuries that he’s had and there’s a skillset that takes time to develop through training camp, OTAs, practice, the quarterback, the looks, but even if you watch Elijah on his routes and check downs, he’s been very serviceable in the pass game and serviceable is good. The more Elijah plays and the more reps he gets, he could be very good at that.”

What was it like seeing, Jeff and also Miami Dolphins RB Raheem Mostert, I don’t know if you had a chance to watch him this weekend, but just seeing those guys with Miami Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel, is it weird also knowing you’re going to face them later this year?

“Yeah, I told Jeff make sure that he doesn’t play against us. He smiled. I don’t think he’ll stick with that. He can miss one game though. I’ve seen Raheem throughout the year. I’ve watched those guys a lot and then watching Sunday on the Red Zone network, I was happy for Jeff. I don’t like seeing him making plays in another uniform that’s not a Niner. So you kind of take that a little personal, but then you think of Jeff and Jeff always wanted to be here, but he also knew this opportunity was best for him and his family. And Jeff was going to be a free agent at the end of this year and he’s got a chance to go somewhere that really needs him. A chance to basically be used as a starter, him and Raheem. And something that if he keeps doing what he did for us, him and his family are going to be in a much better situation at the end of this year, so it was really cool to watch him do for them, what he has done for us.”

Deebo Samuel is special after the catch. Jauan Jennings is a special route runner as you’ve said. What makes Brandon Aiyuk you special in your mind?

“That he has the capability to do everything. I think that’s why his draft status is where it is. He’s got the speed to run by someone. He’s got the cutting ability and the hips to separate. He’s got the length to catch balls when people are on him and he’s not scared to run after it, so he’s got the ability to do all of it.”

Has S Tashaun Gipson Sr. exceeded your expectations? The fact that he is he still there with DB Jimmie Ward back?

“Yeah, I was with Gip in Cleveland, so I was so excited when we had to look into the market when we had injuries and he was still out there and I had played against him last year when he was with Chicago and it was the same guy I remembered in Cleveland, so I thought there was a really good player out there, which I was surprised by. And then when they’re available, you’re like, ‘alright, what’s happened?’ So you don’t know, but since he’s been here, he’s looked like the guy that I’ve always seen and since the games have started, he’s done exactly that and it’s been a very good add for us.”