Head Coach Kyle Shanahan Press Conference
Head Coach Kyle Shanahan
Press Conference – November 23, 2022
San Francisco 49ers
“Injuries for today. [DL] Arik Armstead won’t practice, same, foot/ankle. [DL] Samson [Ebukam] will be limited with his quad/achilles and [T] Trent Williams, not injury related, won’t practice. Go ahead.”
Can you go over what was happening during the game as far as DB Jimmie Ward and CB Charvarius Ward and I guess LB Dre Greenlaw left as well. Was it just them being fatigued?
“Yeah, two guys were fatigued. I think Greenlaw jammed something and ran off and felt better.”
When you do international travel, do you have the option of when to have your Bye Week?
“I don’t think so. Yeah, because I think we’d choose right now.”
What is the plan for this week? Will you dial it back some?
“Yeah, definitely and we’ve already dialed it back by pushing this day way back, we got in at like 6:15 a.m. on Tuesday, so we gave the players the whole day off. We had to get it going with the gameplan. We got a few extra hours this morning moving the stuff back, so we’re starting a lot later and we’ll just walk through today and we have to mix in Thanksgiving a little bit on Thursday, so we’ll dial some things back for that also.”
You bounce from Colorado Springs to Mexico and then come back on a short week. Does coming out of the altitude or the fact that you’ve been in this high altitude now, you’re not in it anymore, is there any adjustment for that or is that just great?
“We can run forever now. I don’t think it’s that big. We weren’t there long enough, but I think that’s why Olympic people train up there, so you feel better. I used to always feel better working out over the summer in Denver and then going to Texas, it only lasted like three days though.”
There’s been a lot of QB Trey Lance sightings in recent days, recent weeks, where is he in his rehab and what’s his week like? A typical week.
“It was cool just getting him to travel with this for the first time out in Colorado, so him being in every meeting and being able to go all those places with us and have him on the Saturday night meeting, or in this case the Sunday night meeting, before the game so we can go over all the third downs and red zone stuff, so now he’s preparing like he’s playing except for everything on the field.”
Physically, where is he? Is he able to do anything?
“I don’t think he’s running. I know he is out of the boot, walking around well. I’m not sure exactly where he is at in that, but he’s not going real hard at it yet.”
I’m no expert, but he looks like he’s walking pretty well. Is there any chance that if you guys go deep this season, that he could serve as a backup?
“I haven’t been told there’s a chance, so I think things would have to be pretty drastic. We weren’t expecting that much from the beginning, I think he’s right on schedule with everything, but I’ve not been told there’s a chance.”
General manager John Lynch was on the radio, he said that coming out of the Chargers game there was one missed tackle that entire game and it’s as good as you guys have done since you guys have been here. And it looked pretty similar against Arizona, just specifically tackling, is this as good as you’ve seen your team?
“Yeah, definitely statistically and you feel that way on tape too. It’s not just individually, but just guys swarming to the ball, the whole group, so it’s very rare that there’s one person in the screen. I like to watch things the night before the game from the end zone copy and I try to see how many times there’s 11 people on the screen and it’s almost every play. We had one missed tackle versus the Chargers and it was the one time I only got one guy on the screen, it was a third and eight and he barely got off of it, but it was very fast that three other guys showed up and they still ended up having to punt, so they’re playing well together.”
As far as the run game, it seemed like earlier in the year there were some plays where one block would prevent it from being a big play and it feels like it’s finally clicking now. Do you think that’s just process of the season, the team clicking, why do you think things have been more effective?
“I think it helps getting you starting running back back. I think losing [RB] Elijah [Mitchell] early, I think we were running for like seven yards per play at that time, so I think that always is tough when you lose that. I thought [Miami Dolphins RB] Jeff [Wilson Jr.] stepped it up well for us. And now getting Elijah back, adding [RB] Christian [McCaffrey], we’ve gotten a few big ones and usually it evens out, but we had some pretty impressive blocks just getting those extra ones on Monday night, so it was a pretty cool game for us.”
Can you break down the WR Deebo Samuel run where you guys had a lot of blocks and what made that play so successful?
“We were able to get the edge. When you get the edge and you get outside, it’s really tough to get [Arizona Cardinals S] Budda [Baker] who’s probably the toughest guy in the league to get someone on and it was really cool that Trent got on him. Probably the only guy who could have, and once we got him we had a big play and just how hard the guys were working on the backside allowed us to finish it and Deebo having that speed and [WR Brandon] Aiyuk had a real good block on it too.”
OL Jake Brendel was —
“Brendel had a really good one. He was feeling himself at the end of it, he had some swag at the end of it for a center, so it was a cool play.”
It was an impressive block.
“Yeah, definitely. It’s probably the least amount that I’ve been able to go through a game and truly enjoy it just because we really tried hard to sleep on that plane so when we woke up we could start working, so I’m excited to go through it a bunch more with the guys later in the week when it slows down a little bit.”
Speaking of reactions after touchdowns? Did you see Brandon nailing poor Nick?
“Yeah, I did. It was hilarious. I thought it was very funny. Glad he wasn’t hurt, but I’m glad B.A. handled it right. Shows he’s a caring person. He wasn’t too amped up, it kind of ruined his touchdown dance, but I think he felt bad about it.”
You just scored 38 points and you have so many different guys that contributed in big ways. You have all these kind of mouths to feed, people talk about, is that an organic thing that happens throughout the game or are you when you’re putting these game plans together, trying to like make sure everybody gets their share? How does that work?
“You balance it out where everyone has chances to get the ball, but I don’t think it’ll ever be like that. It was like everybody got a B+, A- because everyone did really good, but if someone ever does great then there’s not enough for anyone else… it’s going to take away from someone and just to watch everyone contribute, all the receivers, the tight end, the running backs it was just kind of cool how it worked out and yeah, we’d always like to try to make it that way, but usually the coverages won’t allow it. It was cool, that’s why it was so much fun.”
On that same token you threw 21 times to seven runs in the first half, how much of that was Arizona likes to do the six guys on the line? How much did you kind of adjust in that way to them?
“Mainly for that, yeah. A lot of people do six on the line versus us. The Chargers did it the week before. They got to it a different way, but that’s what Arizona did to us last year and sometimes the best thing to do is to over do that. It makes sense schematically, but that’s also what we did last year coming out and we had a bunch of yards and a bunch of explosives, but we ended up getting our butts kicked, so you don’t just want to let them dictate that. Also, you can’t just throw it every time just because they do that. You still have to be somewhat be honest, but we stayed on the field a little bit and got those plays. You saw two drives where you go three-and-out and then four-and-out on the next one and if you’re going to keep throwing and stuff, you better make sure it works, because sometimes it takes time to get going. And the coolest part, our defense held them for the most part. They had 10 points in those, but they didn’t run away with it. We didn’t turn it over. And usually when that happens, it’s a matter of time and we were able to get it going.”
It was third-straight second half shut out, how much of that is adjustments defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans is making at halftime or is it just guys execute?
“I think the coolest part is you know, even from the Rams game it’s stuck out big to me because we struggled a little bit versus Kansas City and we came out versus the Rams and it seemed like they went down the field twice and we weren’t going to be able to stop them and then we just shut them down in the second half and when we got on the plane and you watch that first half, I felt like it was as good as the second half. We just had a couple plays where they got us, they got us once schematically and we had a bust on the other, but we were playing that type of football and then I feel if you watch it the last two weeks it’s been the same story. Even versus Chargers, I thought we had a hell of a first half on defense, but they hit us on a bust on a corner for a touchdown and they got us going across the field just on a good play call by them, but I kind of feel it’s been the same. And if you’re playing that way with the right intent, we always talk about, you can see the intent on the silent tape regardless of the score and the stats and usually when you can see it on the silent tape, it’s a matter of time and we protected the ball and then when you protect the ball, you don’t turn it over, you don’t get a lot of penalties, usually the way you’re playing ends up leading to a victory in the end.”
Back to Jake Brendel, that offensive lineman downfield is something that is part of their job description, but not everybody does it. When you see a guy hustling like that, what does it tell you about the kind of buy in by the offensive line and the way everybody’s playing?
“They better or they’re going to be the weak link. I feel like everyone does it here, it’s kind of just our standard. I think our guys enjoy it. When you call a run play, you try to make it the same feeling as calling a go-route or a big post or something like that every play has a chance to score. And the only way you can look at that in the run game is if all 11 people are involved, so we say the same thing to our quarterback carrying out the fake, you better not sit and watch the scoreboard and enjoy it like everyone else is, you better run and try to buy one person for yourself, but it is cool, especially with altitude. Guys were gassed, everyone was, including me just walking up to halftime, but guys get a kick out of it when they can run and it’s a lot harder than it used to because you can’t throw down the field, so sometimes those big guys in space can’t really stop.”
What are your impressions of the Saints?
“Just starting with their defense, they look like a [New Orleans Saints head coach] Dennis Allen team. They’ve been, to me, one of the best defenses in the league here over the last five or six years. I don’t think their numbers are quite there as they usually are, but I think a lot of that has to do with they’ve been missing about seven starters a number of these games, but they are as tough and physical and as sound as anyone we played this year. Offensively, starting with [New Orleans Saints RB Alvin] Kamara, [New Orleans Saints TE] Taysom Hill, those two guys right there account for half their explosives, half their touchdowns. [New Orleans Saints QB] Andy Dalton is a guy I have a lot of respect for. They’ve lost some close games, they’ve had some very unfortunate injuries, but I think we have our work cut out for us, without a doubt.”
Looking at the schedule, this one is kind of different than the others. You have the primetime games, Mexico City followed by two good teams coming up with the Dolphins and Tampa Bay. Do you have to kind of get your guys honed in on making sure that either physically or emotionally there’s no let down in this one?
“Yeah, I think you always do. I think what helps is the tape. New Orleans is a very good team. I don’t have to make that up. You just have to turn the tape on and watch it, but it was a lot of energy last week, you have to be aware of that. It usually is traveling. It was, just getting back as late as we did. You always have to throw in, which we do every year, the deal with Thanksgiving, which doesn’t change up much, but a lot of those guys have family members at home who are on their vacation, so I have to remind some of these young guys that it’s their vacation. This is your job, so don’t feel guilty when you don’t hang out with your uncle late at night. You can hang out with him on Sunday night, he’s just chilling, doesn’t have stuff to do, but you don’t come to his job and yell at him to come home early and hang out with you, so sometimes you have to explain that stuff to young guys, which I’ve seen affect some people, so you bring that stuff up, all this stuff this week and I think we have a mature group. They understand the deal, but we are working to get our bodies back.”
New Orleans, they not only used two quarterbacks, but on one series they were like alternating them almost. One Dalton would come out and Hill would go in, how unusual is that and do you even look at Hill much as a quarterback or is he just an athlete that they do different things with?
“Different things with, there’s things they’re not going to do with Andy Dalton and for the majority of it’s a wildcat type quarterback, but you can’t say that fully because if you treat it as a wildcat quarterback then they have the adjustments to get some people open. It starts with when he’s in there stopping them with the run. He’s explosive, he’s strong and I think they’re the number one short-yardage team in the league and pretty much because it starts with him.”
Does having three straight home games increase the likelihood that that DT Javon Kinlaw could come off of IR and play in one of these upcoming games?
“Yeah, anytime we don’t fly definitely helps him, so yeah, that does help.”
How important has DL Kevin Givens has been in Javon’s absence and in Arik’s absence inside?
“He’s been huge. Some of the depth we lost early on with Arik, Javon, even going back to [DL] Maurice [Hurst] in training camp. Kevin’s had a lot more put on his shoulders and when you do that, Kevin always plays well. You just worry about guys wearing down as the year goes and right when I started to feel he might be doing that, I thought he had a hell of game this week and he made some big plays and he’s been able to take care of his body, so he can handle this kind of thing that’s been put on him. And he’s had a hell of a year for us.”
I assume you’ll be working tomorrow and aren’t responsible for having to cook, what’s your favorite Thanksgiving dish?
“I like the green bean casserole and my mom’s noodles. My wife’s green bean casserole and my mom’s noodles. Have to get both of them.”
How cool was it see all those fans waiting for you guys at the hotel in Mexico City and then on gameday all the support, it almost felt like they were here at Levi’s Stadium?
“Oh, it was awesome. I know I said that after the game and when we entered the stadium it felt like a Super Bowl because we got in there late at night, everything was roped off, but the lobby was packed and there was everyone going and yelling and I could tell we got in pretty late. The game was the next day and right when we did, I could feel our players were into it and we had our team meeting right after and that kind of started it off and it only got better until we left, so that was real cool.”
Did you enjoy not answering as many questions from us and more from the international media?
“I loved it. It was my second favorite part behind the win. Sometimes I struggled to understand it though, so that’s what I was nervous about, but those guys, they were much nicer to me than you guys are.”