Head Coach Kyle Shanahan Press Conference

Head Coach Kyle Shanahan

Press Conference – November 19, 2022

San Francisco 49ers

Listen to Audio I Media Center

Opening Comments:

“What’s up guys? Alright, injuries. [DL Arik] Armstead will be out this week. [DL] Samson [Ebukam] is questionable. Go ahead.”

A couple of your players indicated that this was a little tougher week than a normal week-long. Have you found that at all and what do you think that’s about?

“It’s definitely tougher on the practice field. When we were in Denver like a little bit over a month ago and you feel the altitude there, but being at Air Force is 2,000 feet higher and it’s a big difference, so that’s the biggest challenge. Everything else, anytime you get off your routine, it takes a little bit longer to get to practice. We’re on the same routine all the time and that’s why we all think it’s Friday right now, but yeah, that gets off, but I don’t consider that a challenge. I consider that things not being perfect, but it’s all about the practice field and that was a challenge, but that’s what Monday is going to be.”

Is there any sense that the players got a little bit more acclimated to it as the practices went on?

“I don’t know. That’s what science says and we had our biggest practice on Thursday, I think that’s where they really felt it. Wednesday’s not quite as much and today’s not quite as much, but Thursday, which was Friday to the rest of the world, they really felt it then. And that was the first time they’re like, oh this, this is pretty real.”

Was there any concern about having that Thursday practice on artificial surface? How was that surface for you guys?

“I thought it was fine. We don’t have an indoor, we don’t really need one except like once every three years. Anytime you don’t go on turf a lot, people talk about it being different, that’s why I think about it a lot, but places I’ve been, you go on it a lot. We did it all the time in Houston. I talked to [running backs/assistant head coach] Anthony Lynn, he’s like, ‘Kyle, why would you avoid going out on the turf? We practiced on turf every single day in Buffalo when I was there.’ So then you kind of, alright, it’s not ideal but it’s not the end of the world, so we made it through it and I’m happy we did it.”

Are you guys, overall, the team’s health is probably best it has been all season? And were you a little considered with the elements here?

“No, I’m sure if someone got hurt on the turf that would’ve been the case. I think everyone would rather be on a nice soft grass, but most of the places I’ve been at this time of year, there isn’t soft grass. We’re fortunate to have that in California but, no the health didn’t have to do with coming here. This had to do with our lungs and oxygen intake and elevation.”

A few years ago, the game in Mexico City was moved because the field was not shape. It looks like it’s in good shape in pictures I saw. Do you get through the week updates on things like that? Is that even a conversation for something like this?

“No, I think some people might, but that doesn’t really change what we’re going to do. I can say that’s why we went out on not the best field our first Wednesday, which I think was Thursday, but you deal with whatever when it comes. You’ve had had times where you get to a field and rain wasn’t expected and all of a sudden, it’s there. When we went to Green Bay and knew we were going to play in 10-degree weather or whatever that wind chill was and it’s not like I kept the guys out in 10 degrees all week to get them used to it, you have a three-and-a-half-hour football game and that’s all it’s about. When you get there, you’re ready for whatever, just like you are with whatever a team presents you schematically or if you lose a guy in the first play, you’re ready to adjust all the time. And weather and field conditions is always just a part of that.”

Why didn’t you just go directly to Mexico City?

“Great question. I heard Air Force has really good facilities. I heard they had everything that could accommodate us. I talked to New England coaches and Chargers coaches and they said that. We flew our guys down here to check all of that. They thought it was pretty nice. I’ve been here, I think it’s pretty nice. I didn’t have the same connections in Mexico City. [OL] Alfredo [Gutierrez] didn’t know the people, so it’s hard to trust.”

QB Jimmy Garoppolo was talking yesterday about WR Brandon Aiyuk and he was talking about his long legs, how that makes him unique, yet he’s not quite six foot tall. You don’t think of somebody of that stature having long legs, but do you see the same thing and did that jump out to you scouting Aiyuk in that 2020 draft?

“Not at all, maybe his legs are long, but I noticed his arms. His arms are the longest arms, because he’s not the tallest guy. I don’t know what his height is, but with his arms he looks like 6-6, so I see based off arms, if he had real long legs I feel like he’d be taller than 5-11, but maybe Jimmy scouted him differently than I did.”

Speaking of Aiyuk, he was saying the other day just about how to get the consistency that you constantly were telling him and you have to be consistent every day in what you and then it becomes kind of second nature. When did you see that him, in terms of getting that point where he can now string games together?

“I saw that in the middle of last year, he always tried to go 100% on game day and it wasn’t anything about like him being lazy or anything. It was him thinking that’s what was right and then you get to gameday and you have to get rotated a lot more. Just telling him hey you’re a young guy, going hard on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, that’s not going to make you slower on Sunday as you get older and stuff, you have to make adjustments to people. They can’t always do that and he started doing that a lot more and I felt like he really started to feel better during games and I think that’s what he got at the end of last season and what was so cool about that is he believed it because he went through it and that’s why we raved about him so much when he came to this offseason. He came into OTAs in the best shape I had seen him in and he left great, then he came back to training camp in the best shape. So now sometimes when he is a little sore there, he might be tight and he doesn’t want to risk something, he’s in a spot where he can take it a little easier. You can be smarter with him because he has that foundation, he has that stamina to where he’s built to go. And to me, that’s how most of the great ones are, so they can be at their fullest every play and they don’t have to have two plays on, three plays off.”

Some of his teammates have said, especially here in recent weeks, that he’s had a few practices where he’s four or five kind of highlight reel catches out there. Do you even take notes of that? I know you’re trying to get through a practice, get to the next point, but has he jumped out to you here recently even more so?

“He did it in camp too, so it depends on what type of practice we’re having, but just back to Matt’s question, B.A. no matter how he’s moving, those arms stick out and I think those are the highlight catches people talk about. He’s got length on him and he’s one of the guys on our team. Everyone’s got that opportunity, but even when B.A.’s covered, he’s got a pretty good percentage of coming up with that ball.”

You had CB Charvarius Ward back at practice today? How’s he doing and do you have any temptation just to assign him on one guy, a receiver?

“Yeah, you do, but then where does that receiver move to and when is it not man? And now how many reps does he have at a hook drop? A curl drop, things like that and so, then every time you move with a guy, then they know it’s a hundred percent man. So sometimes that’s not really what you want to do, at least unless you have to, especially when we mix in so much zone coverage, so we try to cover people by committee.”