Head Coach Kyle Shanahan Press Conference
Head Coach Kyle Shanahan
Press Conference – December 13, 2022
San Francisco 49ers
“Alright, the injuries for today, guys who won’t practice. [DB Tarvarius] T Moore, knee. [QB Jimmy] Garoppolo, foot. [DL Hassan] Ridgeway, pec. [DB Samuel] Womack [III], protocol. [WR] Deebo [Samuel], ankle, knee. [DL] Kevin Givens, knee. The rest of these guys will all be limited. [RB] Christian McCaffrey, knee. [DL Arik] Armstead, foot, ankle. [DL] Kerry Hyder [Jr.], ankle. [CB] Ambry Thomas, ankle. [QB] Brock Purdy, oblique, rib. Go ahead.”
Define limited on a day where you don’t do much on the field.
“They’ll be more limited than everybody else, I guess. Everyone can jog a little bit. They won’t even do that.”
Can you say what the rib element of that injury is?
“It’s just something that connects here. There’s a number of them and it’s not right.”
Do you feel that he’s still on track to play Thursday night and what kind of advice do you give quarterbacks going in to play Seattle the first time?
“We’ll find that out as these two days go, we don’t have much time, but we’re not going to try to figure that out today or tomorrow. It’d probably be on Thursday where we’d have the best chance to know. Going into Seattle, like you tell anyone on the road, but Seattle I don’t think I’ve ever been anywhere louder than there and we know how their fans are. We know how that stadium is. You have to be ready for it, you can’t expect to hear, not just at the line of scrimmage, but also in the huddle a number of times and it’s a big difference playing there.”
Can you get the acoustics going in Levi’s Stadium more so than the practice fields?
“I’m not sure. I don’t know. It’s a good question. We’ll find out.”
With Brock, is it a pain tolerance issue or is there a potential that he could do something to make it worse if he plays?
“No, it’s just can he play with it? If he plays, he won’t be able to make it worse.”
How has he been as far as the getting play call in and getting it out to the players and that process?
“He’s done a good job of it. The more he does it, the better he gets. We only had a couple off last week, which is pretty good. We don’t make it very easy.”
You’re facing a team that has such an obvious statistical target on their back in terms of the way that teams are running on them, how is that approached? Each game has its own individual personality, you just prepare yourself for them to be better that night?
“We always, regardless who we play, have a goal to try to be 50/50. I thought Tampa Bay was one of the better run defenses we had seen on tape and I think they were up there statistically too and then you just never know how the game’s going to be. If you break some long ones, how many runs you get attempted. I know their numbers are struggling, but it’s really never been that way when we played Seattle, they’re a tough group to run the ball on. I know they haven’t been this year statistically, but usually when you are struggling and I know them meeting us here in two days, I know that’s something they’re going to try to take away and it’s something they’ve done a very good job of there in the past.”
From a production standpoint, we can see what Christian brings to the offense. When you sit down and watch tape, how do you see him elevating the offense in terms of maybe what pops up and opening things for other people, things like that?
“I think it limits a lot of stuff people want to do versus us. Anytime you have a commitment to the running game and ways that you can think of how to stop that, but at any time one of those runners can be out on a pass, not just against corners, but also linebackers and safeties and some of the things you can do formation-wise and when you have other guys in there, you can hand the ball off to too, I think it limits guys on what they want to get away with. You can always get the right run calls and stuff to stop some things, but if you have that call on the wrong thing, how bad of a position that could put somebody in in coverage. I think Christian does it a lot, I think a number of our players do and you kind of just have to simplify things for the defense when it’s like that.”
The word was that Deebo will return at some point during the regular season, is there a specific timeline for him as far as weeks?
“There’s four weeks left in the season. I think they told me three-ish is our expectation, so right in that area.”
The conversation that you had with Brock in the locker room after the game, is that normally a conversation you would’ve had on a Monday, but because everything was so condensed this week that you wanted to debrief him?
“Yeah, a little bit and guys got out of there fast. I think everyone was in a hurry because of the short week and I went into my press conference a little late. I think I stopped by when I came back. I think that’s when it was and it just seemed empty and he was sitting there by himself and I wasn’t going to see him yesterday with how the day went. Not too much at least, so I wanted to talk to him about the week and how he did in the game, how he was feeling and what was coming ahead.”
You touched on how great LB Dre Greenlaw’s play was in the conference call the other day. I’m curious, when he was drafted as a fifth-round draft pick, did you see things in him right away that indicated to you that he could be this kind of player or did it just sort of happen that way?
“He stuck out pretty early. He was a linebacker we liked a lot. I think we had a third-round grade on him and we didn’t think we could go for a linebacker that early and similar to [TE George] Kittle. We liked Kittle a lot too, but we couldn’t go up there where we thought they were going to go. And I think Greenlaw we got in the fifth, so he ended up falling a little bit less than we expected and we felt very fortunate to get him there. We had just brought in [New York Jets LB Kwon] Alexander, that’s why we didn’t totally need a linebacker at the time, but we felt fortunate in the fifth round that he was available, so you could see right in camp that we got a much more talented linebacker than it seemed in the draft. And when he got on the field in base, he was making plays and then when Kwon went down, it gave him so much more reps and he only got better when that happened.”
Did you ever cross paths with former college football head coach Mike Leach?
“I never did. I’ve met him before. I met him a long time ago in Indianapolis, just got introduced to him, but he’s been so cool to watch over the years. When I was at Texas, we always went against him at Texas Tech and he beat us a number of times and I was always so jealous watching that offense, being a receiver. Watching [Miami Dolphins wide receivers coach] Wes Welker have like 25 targets at the end of the game. I definitely wouldn’t have gotten that though even if I was there, but it was just so cool to watch it. All the people who have followed him kind of done stuff and I was real sad to hear that this morning.”
How do you think his offense has influenced the game?
“I think it just showed everybody that anything’s possible. They used to look, at that time, it looked way different than what everyone else did, I used to always think it was so cool just looking at his call sheet and it just being an index card. Which basically is just the same thing as writing a few things on your hand, but the way he did it, the way he owned it, the way it worked everywhere he went. I think a lot of people tried to be like him and do things like him, but it didn’t seem like everyone did it as consistently or as well.”
With Deebo, we saw him very emotional the other day, obviously, he was being carted off and it’s not something you’ve seen from him a lot. Was there a fear when you saw that that this was it for the season and what is probably the obvious level of relief that it isn’t?
“I didn’t see exactly how he got bent. I was too flustered and talking to the ref and the situation and then there were so many people around him, I didn’t get a chance to see him crying like that. I saw it when I got home, the highlights on SportsCenter and saw how scary it was and how worried he was and I was able to talk to him after that and really understand where he was in that moment, but I think a lot of guys are like that and some guys handle it differently. I can imagine being in that situation, everyone watching you, you kind of just want to hide because whether you cry, whether you’re mad, whatever it is, I feel like the emotions are always equal with all those guys, what they put into it. And when that stuff happens, you never know if you’re done for the week or the game, the year or your career. And so, lots of emotions go through that for those guys because it’s not just our season, it’s the livelihood of those players.”
How ready are those guys other than WR Brandon Aiyuk to step up and for WR Jauan Jennings to become an every down receiver and for the other guys to have increases in their roles too?
“I think the other guys are more than ready. I think those guys love the opportunity. They’re always wanting to be out there more. They’re mad I’m not in five wides every play, so those guys relish this. I know they did a hell of a job versus the Rams, even that week we thought we were going to get Jauan, we ended up not getting him towards the end of the week and a number of guys had to step up, so our guys will be ready on Thursday. We had to go do that last year, I believe without Deebo versus Seattle. It’ll be the same thing this week and I know our guys are ready and excited for their ops.”
WR Danny Gray had his first reception the other day. Is it a normal process getting a rookie receiver ready to play? What’s kind of distinguished his first year in the NFL for you?
“I think Danny has gotten the urgency that he’s had, he has really been picking it up here in these last six week. The opportunity hasn’t been there for him. He had a little bit more earlier in the year. Those opportunities have gone away, but his play has gotten a lot better, so we felt it’s a matter of time where he can help us out there and he’s doing things the right way and he’s gone in the game a hair more. B.A.’s conditioning’s been so well, that’s why he hasn’t gotten as many reps, but he got there at the end of the game, caught a slant verse zero in some tough weather. He’s been doing a good job in practice and he’s been waiting for this moment and we’ll see if he gets more ops.”
With WR Ray-Ray McCloud, I know he isn’t the same size as Deebo, but can you use him in a similar way that you use Deebo?
“Yeah, you can use them similarly. They’re definitely different bodies, I think that’s pretty obvious, but don’t tell Ray-Ray that. He gets extremely offended. If you put Deebo in any run and you tell him that he can only do these, but not that one, you’re going to have to prepare or make time for an hour meeting with him later, because he’s going to convince you otherwise. And that’s why he has been such a good football player his whole career. You hear about how he was in high school and college and Ray-Ray is a bulldog out there and he doesn’t think about his size.”
What jumps out at you about Seattle Seahawks QB Geno Smith and was he a guy over the last 10 years that you looked at and thought, if he got a chance, maybe?
“I think when you come out of college and you’re drafted that high, I don’t think anyone disagreed with his throwing talent and the stuff he did in college. Quarterback, it’s so hard to play in this league, depending on the situation, depending on your experiences and X’s and O’s and what you’ve done, the talent around you, so you never really count anyone out, especially with ability. I’ve never known him personally, but I know that he’s talented. I know he has had good games and he’s been given this opportunity this year and the way he came out, everyone noticed right away and he really hasn’t wavered all year and I’d like to say I’m happy for him because I’m happy for anybody to do stuff like that. I wish he did it in another division or a different year, but hopefully he’ll struggle Thursday.”
With Purdy, part of what’s made him so effective is his ability to be off-schedule and do stuff after he’s rushed. With a rookie quarterback, I assume that can make a coach nervous. Do you put parameters on him or at this point, do you trust him to kind of make plays?
“When there’s not a play there or the rush comes, there’s never in the history of, at least me coaching, where you put parameters on guys and say, don’t react, just sit there and get killed and we’ll punt it. It’s always a reaction, sometimes it’s to not take a sack and bounce pass it to someone, throw it out of bounds. Sometimes it’s to break a tackle. Sometimes it’s just to have an unbelievably accurate throw, but there’s lots of different skillsets that the 32 guys have to choose from when things do break down. And Brock, since he’s been here and on his college tape, one thing he does have a knack for is his foot quickness in the pocket. Knowing when and how to get out of there. Now if guys are just doing that as their first read and they’re looking for off-scheduled plays as people are sitting in front of him open, waving their hands, that’s when you start to talk about a guy because it’s really hard to be successful that way in this league. It’s a matter of time. What’s cool about Brock is I think he’s made those plays when he has had to, when there’s been a rush in his face, when something’s flashed, he’s had to escape and he’s been able to extend some plays, keep them going and it’s led some big plays for us so far.”