Head Coach Kyle Shanahan Press Conference

Head Coach Kyle Shanahan

Press Conference – December 20, 2022

San Francisco 49ers

Listen to Audio I Media Center

Opening Comments:

“Injuries for today. Guys who won’t practice, [QB Jimmy] Garoppolo. [WR] Deebo [Samuel]. [DL] Kevin Givens. [DL] Kerry Hyder [Jr.]. [CB] Ambry Thomas, not sure yet if he’ll be limited or not practice. Guys who are limited. [DB] Tarvarius Moore, [CB] Charvarius Ward, [RB Christian] McCaffrey, [DL] Arik Armstead, [QB] Brock Purdy and that’s it.”

What is Charvarius Ward’s injury?

“He is in the protocol.”

And is Hyder the ankle?

“Yeah, Hyder is the same thing.”

Did you guys open the window for DT Javon Kinlaw?


He was out at walkthrough today?

“Yeah, he will be.”

Is the hope to get him playing right away or are you going to try to use a little bit more of that window?

“No, as soon as he looks good and he is ready to go, we’ll play him.”

What’s McCaffrey?

“Same thing that he’s had, knee.”

How did you spend your weekend and what was your instructions to the team?

“I just wanted the guys to relax, get off their feet. It’s such a challenge getting ready for that Thursday game. I think every team probably has the same message to their guys. I think it’s a lot more fun when you win and are able to clinch the division like that, so it was nice that we sat around and relaxed, to be able to just reflect, watch some football and I got to go to a couple of my son’s basketball games, which was fun and that was about it.”

I’m sure you watched the Raiders Patriots game and how that ended. How often do you guys or the teams that you’ve coached on over the years practice end of game, end of half, plays like that?

“Never, they were running a draw to end it. I’ve never practiced a play to end the half and then tell guys what they’re not supposed to do when you’re doing that, so I don’t know what happened. It was unfortunate. I know the player who did it is an unbelievable player and one of the most reliable guys from what I see in the league, but it’s not something you cover. We run plays where we lateral and we cover that when it’s a last second desperation play, but you don’t just say don’t do that. I think it goes without saying that’s what it was so surprising about everybody watching that play.”

You guys seem to be locked into either the second or the third seed by and large. How much do you emphasize trying to win the games you can while also keeping an eye on just getting the team right for the postseason?

“Really none, I think that’s one of the biggest mistakes people make just watching it over the years. That’s my opinion, I would understand if you were getting ready for a seven-game series, I don’t think football is like that. It’s three and a half hours. It’s one shot. I’ve been on a lot of teams where you rest guys and or give guys a few more weeks and those are usually the guys who struggle the most in that first playoff game, but I think what situations are different is like last year when it came down to our last game you have guys that are fighting to play because they’re right on the bubble of not being able to play and in this situation those guys you would definitely rest, so anybody who has an injury that could risk them for the following week or something like that’s to me the decisions now that there is no decision. Definitely rest them.”

You and general manager John Lynch both talked about how Javon Kinlaw’s mental state before the beginning of the season was so good. How has he handled this, not being able to play and then making his way back?

“I think as good as anyone can, it’s been so frustrating for him. It’s been a long battle going back to the Cowboys game from a couple years ago. I know he feels as good as he’s felt. I know how hard he’s worked to get to this point. I know how pumped he is to have an opportunity to come back and be a part of a playoff team, so just talking to him this morning, he is geared up, ready to go as good as I’ve seen him and his spirits are high.”

Going back to what you just talked about, guys on the bubble, does Deebo kind of fit into that mold? You guys said that you expected him back before the end of the regular season, is he one of those guys that you might have a decision to make whether just to hold off until the playoffs?

“Yeah, week-to-week. I think this week maybe there’d be a chance if we were that desperate, so I’m not even looking into it this week and we’ll see how he is next Monday and make that same decision.”

Does DL Kalia Davis have a chance to play in games this season?

“He has a chance, this is his first time getting out there, so I’m not trying to put all that pressure on him, but we’d like to see him. He didn’t get to compete with us here in the offseason, so we’ll open his three-week window today and he’ll get a chance to go out there and hopefully get into football shape and show us what he can do.”

Back when you traded for McCaffrey, both you and John acknowledged like, hey, there’s risk in everything, in terms of the injury history and such, and it’s paid off about as well as you could have possibly hoped. Is there anything about him that surprised you or maybe enhanced what you already knew? What have you learned during the time that you’ve had him?

“Just that he was exactly what was advertised. Everyone, we knew what we were getting from what we see on tape, but everyone telling us how hard he worked at things, how consistent he was, how fast he would be able to pick things up and that’s what I’ve been the most impressed on because everyone told us, but I think it’s even been stronger than that.”

Asking just because Kinlaw has had setbacks, is there pretty high level of confidence that he you can actually play or is it like let’s see how he responds to practice?

“There’s a high level that he can play, but that’s the whole thing with what he’s been going through with his knee. It’s can he do it without it flaring up and having setbacks on it? And that’s what we’ve been very patient with in the rehab, he’s been extremely consistent with it and we’ve been able to do it for a while here without any setbacks and we’ve done as much as we can. The only thing left for him to do is put pads on and go out there and play, so there’s always a risk of it, but we’re at the point, he’s at the point, where it’s time to find out.”

On Friday you said that Purdy was feeling pretty good even compared to the day before, where is he now? How is he feeling?

“I hadn’t talked to him that day. I just got a message. I know he was real sore from the game, having to play through that and I think he’s in a good spot. He’s better right now than he was last week going into the game, but he still is going to be somewhat limited today.”

With the team like the Commanders that’s very much fighting for a wild card spot, what are the challenges with facing a team that’s coming into the game with that kind of stakes for themselves?

“Anyone who plays defense as well as they do and commits to running the ball, usually is a recipe to be in the playoffs. And they’re number one in the league in time of possession. They’re top four in yards. I think they’re third on third down, they’re top five in the least amount of explosives allowed. They they’re a top five defense and when you have that and you’re able to stop the run without always having to play the run, it makes them real tough to go against. They don’t give up big plays, they make everyone work for everything and then on the other side of the ball, they’re controlling that clock, so usually when they take care of the ball, they win.”

There’s a possibility that Washington Commanders DL Chase Young could be back in play. Do you plan for him being out there no matter what?

“You have to expect it and if he’s not, that’d be a good thing, but you have to expect it. And they got a lot of good players out there though, so it’s not like if he’s out there, you have to change everything because there’s a lot of people you have to deal with. But hopefully he does the smart thing and waits one more week.

Question about a behind the scenes person here, Pastor Earl, obviously you can’t really measure it, but what kind of influence does he have on whether it’s players or coaches?

“Earl’s been here for a while. I got to know him my first year, took me some time, but I love Pastor Earl, he’s great to me. He’s got a lot of really good relationships with people in here. Everyone knows him, everyone loves him, but he connects with a lot of guys one-on-one. Does a lot of things for people outside of here. I don’t want to go through all the players, but since our first year here, he’s been a big deal for a lot of the guys and I love having him around. He’s at all our deals and he’s a guy that you can count on to go and really relate to anybody in any type of situation and he’s been through a lot, he’s seen a lot and he really can help lead young men the right way.”

On another non-football topic, social media showed what turned out to be a prank of a $350,000 dinner bill. Were you aware, did you know about all that and what was your first reaction when you heard that there might have been a large dinner bill for the rookies?

“I don’t know about any of that stuff unless my wife tells me, she didn’t. [Vice president of football communications] Corry [Rush] told me before I came in here, I was reading his notes, I saw the price, then the last thing said it was a joke. Thank god. That’s ridiculous, but no, that’s good of [DL] Arik [Armstead]. A lot of guys can be not cool about it and Arik is a little more mature than that and thank goodness because guys can get ridiculous on that, but I’ve never seen it that ridiculous, so hopefully that never happens. That was like French Laundry type.”

One more non-football one, what are your family’s biggest Christmas traditions?

“Probably me reading The Night Before Christmas. I always do that the night before and I try to make it as entertaining as possible while everyone just laughs at me, I mispronounce things and stuff, but that’s the thing that we do the most consistent and you never know. It’s always different with football and everything. We’ve been pretty fortunate here since we’ve been here. I feel like we’ve gotten a Christmas all six years, which was pretty rare before this, so I’m excited to have. I’m excited to have eight days.”