Head Coach Kyle Shanahan Press Conference

Head Coach Kyle Shanahan

Press Conference – December 26, 2022

San Francisco 49ers

Listen to Audio I Media Center

Opening Comments:

“No injuries from the game. Everybody checked out good today. Just some updates on guys who missed the game. [WR] Deebo [Samuel], his ankle and knee are making real good progress, still working his way back. [DL] Kerry Hyder [Jr.] with his ankle sprain, we should get him back in practice this week. [QB Jimmy] Garoppolo got his cast off, but no further update. And [RB] Elijah Mitchell’s making real good progress, he’s getting much closer to returning too, so go ahead guys.”

In regards to Deebo making good progress, are you still planning to have him back at practice maybe the following week or this week?

“We’ll see how it goes in these next two days with rehab. I think there’s a chance possibly later in the week. We’ll see though.”

How did DT Javon Kinlaw come out? Did he have any swelling at all or did he seem pretty healthy as he came out of the game?

“No, he checked out great yesterday and today. I think he ended up getting 16 total plays. I’m not exactly sure, close to that, but it was a successful game and even more successful since he looked good today.”

And how did he look out there after you watched the film?

“I thought he did a good job. I think the more he plays, the more we’ll be able to keep him out there longer. That fourth-and-one down on the goal line, I thought he made a real big play there taking on the double team, taking two blockers, allowing [LB] Fred [Warner] and [DT] T.Y. [McGill] to make that play, so he really helped out, was stout in the run game and that was a good first step.”

I know you said that the reason DL Drake Jackson was inactive was because you wanted to keep more interior defensive lineman, but do you kind of get the sense as he’s kind of hit a rookie lull, does he need to kind of learn how to be a pro at this point or is he all good on that aspect?

“No, it was no difference and this wasn’t at all to punish him. This was completely with the five inside D-Linemen. I want everyone to keep getting better and better each week. There’s no doubt about that, but there was nothing that was worse in this week compared to any other week that made us make that decision. This was strictly that we usually go with five on the edge and four inside guys up and we thought it was important to do this game differently. Us anticipating how much they were going to try to run the ball.”

When you’re watching the run defense, do you gain a bigger appreciation for it on film or when you’re watching it from the sidelines? And then just what do you see the reason for the success being?

“I think both. You can feel it on the field. I think you get the more appreciation when you watch the tape because in the run game, it takes too long to watch everybody and how they lead up to making a play. You can see the guys at the point of impact and everything, but what allows that guy to get there, what allows him to show up at the edge of a play, it’s all the penetration before then and things like that, so I always enjoy it more on the tape. I think it’s a combination of things. Our D-Line definitely penetrates, which in the run game when you have penetration in the backfield, anywhere I’ve ever been, that affects running backs the most when they have to stop and start with their feet. But, when you do that it leads some vulnerability to your linebackers just because always penetrating, which is similar to playing pass first and run second. That can keep those guys in some hard positions and they really have to play off those guys. And as hard as our guys penetrate, I think we’ve got three linebackers off the ball who can adjust to how those guys play as good as anyone. When they’re in a different gap, our guys just slide to the right or left and fall back and play off of them and when [DB] Jimmie’s [Ward] in there, he does the same thing in nickel and when Huf [S Talanoa Hufanga] is down there or Gip [S Tashaun Gipson Sr.] they do the same thing at safety. You just have so many levels of the defense with guys playing physical and when everyone does make a mistake just by being so physical, there’s a whole other line of defense there and I also think a lot of teams haven’t been able to stick with it, which means we do good on third down, which means we get them off the field. If you don’t have an explosive and you get guys off the field, it’s hard to run the ball well and yesterday they stuck with it, but our guys didn’t allow any big ones and did a hell of a job on third down.”

You mentioned Elijah Mitchell making real good progress, is there any chance that his window could be opened this week or next, before the regular season ends?

“Yeah, there’s a chance. I don’t think this week. I think the earliest is possibly Friday, maybe. I think that’s what they told me. He is healing up. He’s had no setbacks, he’s doing well, so we’ll see if he’s available next week for us.”

Question about two kind of unsung guys. What are your impressions of T.Y. McGill on the last two plays of that goal line stand in the second quarter and then also WR Willie Snead IV’s only snap, was he in there just randomly or did you want him to be the guy to make that seal block?

“Yeah, T.Y. played awesome. He’s had a few good games for us here in the last month. He was in the backfield a ton. Those two plays you speak of. The third-and-goal, he’s the one who had the penetration that made the back bounce that allowed him to get all the way to the edge that allowed [LB Dre] Greenlaw to recover to officially stop him. And then the fourth down is when Kinlaw took the center and the backside guard and T.Y. stunted and took him and allowed Fred to just meet the back right there in the B-gap, which was huge, so those guys were great. Willie, we’d put in on any play like that, he is automatic on those type of blocks. [WR] Jauan [Jennings] is pretty good at that also, but Jauan had just ran a deep post to play before it, so he was about 50 yards down the field, so Hank [wide receivers coach Leonard Hankerson] made the sub and we had Willie going in on that instance behind him. We always rotate Willie or [WR] Ray-Ray [McCloud], but Ray-Ray was the one getting the ball so Willie had to block and did a hell of a job on it.”

You have just one IR move left, is that right? And if I have that correct, will that come down to potentially a choice between Mitchell and Garoppolo?

“No, we never put Jimmy on IR so we’re good with that. That was the hard thing with [DL Hassan] Ridgeway, so it would probably come down to Ridge and Elijah and Elijah from a health standpoint is a lot further along than him, so that’s odds are where we’re going to go.”

What was the thinking early in the season to use one of those spots on former 49ers LB Curtis Robinson?

“Where we were on special teams at the time and how big of a player we thought he could be for us on special teams. And so, we were excited to get him back and do that. You know hindsight’s 20/20, obviously, nothing against him on that, but those are the risks you take when you’re trying to get guys back and trying to have guys up. We had a number of guys down at one time, so we put a number of guys on IR so we could fill the roster and those are the gambles you have to take and we ended up becoming one short on it at the end of the year.”

And do you expect him to be back on the practice squad?

“Yes, I do. Yeah, I think we’re trying to do that as we speak.”

Would you be in favor of an additional return spot from IR for a team that makes the playoffs?

“Oh yes, definitely. You don’t know how long it’s going to last and sometimes you need all those spots. In the NFL, every single game matters and then all of a sudden you can get three-to-four more games added at the end of the year and that’s a long time. When we looked into the Ridgeway stuff, the odds were we wouldn’t to be able to have him until possibly a championship, possibly a Super Bowl type game, so that’s why we ended up having to go with that. But yeah, it’d be great to get some of those guys back because when you add four games to a season, that’s a huge difference.”

Forgive me if you’ve answered this already, but how’s RB Jordan Mason doing with his hamstring?

“I think he’s doing great. He was in here the last two days, so he had no setbacks from the game. His knee was just a scare. He’s actually sick today, so I let him out today for being sick, but his hamstring ended up being good.”

How did RB Ty Davis-Price look after watching the film?

“Yeah, Ty, he had a good game. I think it was the second-and-four that he’d like to have back that ended up leading to that third-and-one and fourth-and-one we didn’t get, but then watching the film, the linebacker had his hands inside on the ball and if he would’ve fought for another yard, it would’ve ended up being a fumble, so it was a smart decision for him to roll with the ball. Didn’t make any mistakes in the game and I was happy for him that he could get out there, get his feet wet again, back in the game and get some carries because there’s a great chance we’ll need him here going forward.”

How would you evaluate how OL Jake Brendel has played this season?

“I think Jake’s played really well. We were really happy with him last year, just watching him throughout practice and everything. [Former C] Alex [Mack] stayed healthy all last year, so he didn’t get much game experience, but we went into this year with him as our guy. And you never know until they get out there and he’s been able to make it through this whole year. He’s been able to stay healthy. He’s done a great job with the calls, getting us in the right protection schemes and blocking schemes and he’s been able to make some plays too. He’s helped us in both the run and pass game and I’ve been really excited with him as one of the leaders here on our team too.”

I just wanted circle back on how Brock Purdy’s feeling and just what your review of the film showed?

“Yeah, I thought Brock played well, really well. He was smart with the ball. There were a couple situations that were tight, where there was an unblocked player and the play was almost there and I thought he just did a great job not doing anything stupid in some tough situations also. He’s shown that he’s willing to let a rip at all times and there were a couple times in the game that they got an unblocked guy right to him and he made a couple great decisions just to take the sack, so I was really impressed with how Brock played just talking to him here the last two days. He got out healthy again and I think that should continue healing up and I think he should be even a little better this week with more health.”

I know you’re in the moment with Brock, but it’s kind of easy to look ahead too. Have you thought at all about how you plan to work that quarterback situation with as well as he’s playing after this season’s over?

“No, I didn’t even know what year it is after this season is over, so I’m trying to think about how to get him ready for Wednesday, man. That’s a great question, but honestly, I don’t look ahead like that. We have a number of big games in front of us.”