Head Coach Kyle Shanahan Press Conference
Head Coach Kyle Shanahan
Press Conference – November 17, 2022
San Francisco 49ers
“Alright guys, injuries for today. [DL Arik] Armstead didn’t practice, foot/ankle. [WR] Danny Gray was limited, ankle. [DL] Samson [Ebukam], quad/achilles, didn’t practice. [T] Trent [Williams] and [DL Nick] Bosa, not injury related, but didn’t practice. And [CB] Chavarius Ward had a personal matter, didn’t practice. Go ahead.”
Is there any concern about Ward being available?
“No, it’s all good.”
Let’s ask about that weather. You’re not playing in this kind of weather on Monday night, so how do you balance out the advantage of the elevation with the disadvantage of practicing in climate that you won’t be experiencing?
“Nothing’s changed yet, the cold’s kind of a pain and I don’t like being cold, but it hasn’t changed anything with the practices, so it’s been no different so far. It’s been all about the altitude, which they say helps us, so hopefully that will. I do think it’s supposed to snow tonight, so that could change some stuff up tomorrow. The only thing I think it will possibly change, we just might go indoors, so we’re not missing anything any different.”
Would you make that decision today or tomorrow?
“No, we’re not worried about the cold. It’s about the field and if it snows and there’s some issue with the field, then we’ll go inside, but we’re not going to go practice on turf because we are cold. We’re going to go practice on turf because the field is not safe.”
If you go inside to practice, would you scale things back?
“I doubt it. Yeah.”
Was there any effect with the altitude today? Just in how guys were feeling out there?
“You can ask them. There’re breaks, it’s not like a game and I was good. I didn’t get tired calling plays, but I think the guys were fine.”
And Arik made the trip, but DT Javon Kinlaw didn’t?
And that’s because of the swelling concerns?
Is it kind of cool for you coach to be back in Colorado again this year, I know you were here Week Three at Denver, but not in the Springs. With your dad and all the history there, is it kind of cool for you?
“I kept calling it Denver and the players reminded me this isn’t Denver, it’s a lot farther away, but I like being by the mountains. It’s been a while since I’ve been by the mountains. I didn’t come up to Colorado Springs very much, I don’t love the cold that much, but I love the weather out here. I like being by the mountains, seeing it, but the main thing is just getting used to the altitude. I remember when I’d come back from college how hard it’d be for me, doing the workouts and so to be here and Monday going to a place that I think is like 2,000 feet higher, I’m glad we’re here.”
What caught your attention first, was it the altitude or the weather?
“What caught my attention first was the weather. I know here usually about this time of year, it’s like 50, it feels cold. When Bosa told me it might be nine degrees, the cold front’s a little bit off, so we’ll see tomorrow how it goes.”
There was a viral video going around this week of Trent Williams allegedly tipping plays with his stance, even stance run, staggered stance pass. Is this something the coaching staff is aware of and okay with? And if so, why is it no big deal?
“Oh, it definitely would be a big deal, but I don’t study your viral videos or whoever’s, we’re pretty good with Trent.”
It was right around this time last year, right around Week 10 or 11 where we saw this team go on a run winning seven of the last nine games, taking all the way to the postseason. Are you getting that same sense and that feeling, especially when arguably it’s an even stronger team this year on both sides of the ball?
“I don’t think we’re there yet, but I feel the keys to get better. I think in the beginning of the year, I think we were consistent. We had times, it wasn’t just game-to-game, but it was kind of quarter-to-quarter. I do feel in these last few weeks, each week we are getting a little bit better and that’s kind of the goal to get better the more you practice, the more you play together and as this all goes and you’re going to have some guys in, some guys out, hopefully you always get more guys back, but this is usually where the real football happens and I’m glad that we’re going that direction instead of the other.”
How different is it to prepare for Arizona Cardinals QBs Colt McCoy and Kyler Murray?
“They’re still going to run a similar offense with both, so schematically, you still have to be ready. There’s definitely some different skill sets, but we saw both last year so our defense knows from going against both of them, they’re both a problem and you have to be ready for both.”
Nick Bosa played the majority of snaps on defense, was that the plan going in with Samson being out?
“We knew he was going to play more. We always would like to rotate him more, but that’s one of the reasons we took care of him today.”
DL Jordan Willis, I think he was kind of an afterthought with all these guys coming back, but he looked pretty impressive. Were you surprised in his first game action how he played?
“When a guy’s not on the field for a while, you know they’re healthy when they return, but you never know what kind of football shape they’re going to be in. And just watching him Wednesday and Thursday and Friday didn’t surprise us because he looked great. Looked how he did last year back in training camp and we knew that when Samson went down that he was going to get more reps, so he got a few more opportunities with that and he was ready for it, so we needed it.”
Was it just the elevation or how did you land on Air Force Academy to be the spot to practice this week and what’s your experience been with the staff and the facility so far?
“Yeah, it was just the elevation. When this came on our schedule a while ago, I always get suggestions from people and all our guys were suggesting this and I talked to a few coaches who had done this in the past. I know New England has and I know [running backs/assistant head coach] Anthony Lynn did with the Chargers, so that was the main reason and I always heard about The Broadmoor growing up. Almost everyone I knew always went there. My family never went there, so it was cool to be the first time going there. It’s an unbelievable hotel and they’ve really taken care of us and this was my first time over to here today, but, the players have been loving it.”
What went into coming in a day early and just having a day off, is that part of the acclimation process?
“Yeah, the whole plan, originally, was to come Monday. We were going to come Monday and just have more days here. After our long time away at the Greenbrier a few weeks ago, we thought it’d be better to come one day later. We decided that last Wednesday just to give them one more day at home since we had eight days, the science people told me it wouldn’t be a factor, so we decided last week to come out a day later and I’m glad that we did.”
OL Daniel Brunskill, how would you describe how he’s been able to carve out an NFL career?
“It’s been real impressive. I think he was a tight end to start. I think he got moved to O-line, was on Atlanta’s practice squad I believe. I think he got let go. I think he was in that AAF league for a little bit and when that ended I think we signed him to our him to the 90-man roster in OTAs and just coming from the AAF and where he was, it’s not like he jumped out right away, but then halfway through camp, he was just so consistent and kind of was exceeding our expectations and then he ended up making the roster. Then when a few guys went down we had to change his position and everywhere we put him, he’s been able to rise to the occasion and be to play that. If he looks like he can’t do it, just give him a couple days and he finds out a way to do it, so I think he’s one of the perfect examples of a guy who’s got the ability to do it, but what gets him to that part is how smart he is, how he looks at tape, how he can apply that stuff and just give him something to study and give him enough time to do it and the guy usually figures it out.”
I don’t know if it’s you or general manager John Lynch who said sometimes it does not look real pretty with him, but he still manages to get it done. When it doesn’t look pretty, what does that look like?
“O-line I think is tough, if you don’t just live in the world of watching the end zone copy only and just focusing just on that and never watching the football, it’s really tough to evaluate an o-lineman. When you have someone like Trent, a lot of people are going to notice him because he can do some highlights and things like that, but there’s not many people who can make highlights like that. Outside of people like that, I like offensive lineman that I don’t say their name one time the entire game. Not like, oh my God, did you just see him kill him? Or oh my God, who the heck just missed the three technique? And it’s about staying in front of people and being consistent so you can survive every play so you have a chance to get to play the ball to your playmakers. When you get some guys like Dan, he might not have a ton of highlights. There’s not going to be many times in the game where the quarterback just gets drilled right away or there’s a tackle for loss in the backfield because someone just completely whiffed, so extremely consistent and when it comes to o-lineman, you take that a lot more over people who touch the ball. People who touch the ball, there are some inconsistencies you can deal with as long as they make plays, but O-line, you want consistency over making plays.”
Did RB Elijah Mitchell come out okay with that workload after the game and what do you especially like about him and RB Christian McCaffrey as a duo?
“I think both of them can handle the load and do it all and then I think because both of them are so good at it in that they both can run any type of run at a high level, they both can do the pass game. That allows them to be a lot fresher, because it’s not like we have a big strong opinion on it. Like, no Christian has to get this, Elijah has to get that. There’re definitely things that one you might give an edge to over the other in some things, but it’s almost splitting hair. So when it’s like that, it’s just a lot easier to rotate guys, because when guys are so drastically different or one’s a lot more successful at something than others, it’s hard to put them in when they don’t know what play you’re calling and when they got that skillset they can just roll them in, keep them fresh and I can request a guy if I need it, but it just makes everyone’s job a lot easier.”
Did you guys show interest in Philadelphia Eagles DL Ndamukong Suh?
“I know that John looked into all those guys, so I’m sure he would’ve talked to him.”
Related to that, is there any more clarity now on a timetable for Arik Armstead coming back?
“No, it’s the same.”
Coach you’ve seen Christian’s impact on the field, what ways has he maybe helped out this team off the field and just his leadership?
“I think more just by example. Christian has had a lot of success everywhere he has been before he came here. I think everyone’s very well aware of who he is and I think to see his work ethic, to see how detailed he is in every rep he takes, how he is in walkthroughs, how he is in the meeting rooms and he acts like he’s a practice squad guy just trying to earn a job and I think he’s always been that way and that’s the coolest way to lead, by example.”
He seems pretty serious, is there a little more behind the scenes?
“Yeah, a little bit. He’s a pretty serious dude. That’s exactly how his dad was. His mom’s more the jokester and I’d say he is a little in between, so he’s got a little more personality. He can joke a little bit more, but he is about his profession and he is completely locked into football all the time, so it’s not a bad problem for us.”