Head Coach Kyle Shanahan Press Conference

Head Coach Kyle Shanahan

Press Conference – January 23, 2023

San Francisco 49ers

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Opening comments:

“Injuries from the game: [DL] Charles Omenihu had an oblique strain, he’ll be day-to-day, [RB] Christian McCaffrey, calf contusion, day-to-day, [RB] Elijah Mitchell, groin, day-to-day. Go ahead.”

I understand what day-to-day means, but is there any level of concern with the injuries to McCaffrey and Elijah?

“No, we’re expecting to get them all back for Sunday, but we’ll see how it goes through the week with practice and everything. Hopefully it’ll go well and that’ll get them ready for Sunday.”

Was today a victory Monday?

“Yes, it is a victory Monday. We’ve been doing it a little bit more of these last few weeks. We still have all the players review the game tape with the coaches, position coaches, but we’re trying to get onto Philly as fast as we can and get ready for them.”

How much better are the Eagles than when you faced them last year in Week 2?

“We just put yesterday’s game to bed, but just seeing them across the league throughout the year and just watching a little bit that we’ve done here since last night, there’s a reason that they’ve been the best in the league so far throughout this whole year, offense, defensive, special teams. Last year we were really concerned going into the game playing them. We knew they had some good talent and they had good schemes and that was a real tough game there and all they’ve done is play together, add some more players and have gotten a lot better since then.”

Turnover differential is obviously important in every game, but are you at all surprised at how well QB Brock Purdy has been able to take care of you guys? I think you are 15-0 when either tied or win the turnover battle. Has that been something that obviously has been a point of emphasis, but also maybe surprised you at how well he’s done it?

“Yes, he’s been unbelievable with that. I think that’s the number one thing he’s done and to be able to be as good with the ball as he has while still making a number of the plays that he has that’s definitely the thing I’ve been most impressed with.”

I realize you guys had great success on the ground in 2019 and so you didn’t throw the ball much at all, but in these two games, is this kind of more your style or more what you want that offense to be? A 50-50 split or a very close split between running and pass?

“Yeah, we always try to do that just because we don’t like anyone to tee off in any direction. I wouldn’t say it’s necessarily the style of game that I want. It’s that we feel we have to adapt to the style that we think you need to play to win whatever that given game is or that given moment that week and the better defensive lines you go against, the better defenses you go against, that style usually leads to slowing guys down and not allowing other teams to play at what they want to do and it also gives you a much higher percentage of winning the turnover battle too. I think you need to be able to win games that way in the playoffs a lot. Not always do you have to. We saw it a different way in our first week versus Seattle and we’ll work all week to see how we see it this week too.”

You talked and a lot of your players talked about how you really wanted to run the ball a lot to negate Dallas’ pass rush and by some metrics, the Eagles have an even better pass rush. Simplifying things, it is like, oh, you’re going to do the same thing you did against Dallas against Philadelphia, which they’re expecting and it goes into this cat and mouse game. I don’t know, I guess how do you approach that with an idea that they might think they know what’s coming?

“Just that regardless of what our goal is and everything and what people think might be coming, we always try to be 50-50 regardless, week in and week out. And no matter what you do in the span and certain moments in games, when it’s all said and done, you hope that’s where you’re at. And so, you always have to be able to do both. Even last night, the reason we were able to run the ball is because the whole team did some good things, but also because we made some big key third-down throws and we were good on third down, we made some real big important throws and I thought we threw the ball really well, probably better than we ran it, which allowed us to get all those runs.”

Is QB Jimmy Garoppolo coming back to practice this week?

“I don’t think so. I think he gets the X-Ray tomorrow to see how things are going, I believe so. But still, same as last week, I’d be very surprised if he was out there this week.”

Back in August, you guys cut Detroit Lions QB Nate Sudfeld even after giving him that guaranteed contract. What did you see in Brock in OTAs and training camp that made you guys confident enough in him to do that?

“When he first started out he got such few reps because of how much reps we were giving to [QB] Trey [Lance] and how much we were given to Nate, but every time he got his one or two reps in practice, just how decisive he was and got the ball to the right spot and did it aggressively. Never seemed unsure of anything and so he kept earning more reps and the more reps we gave him the more he continued to look the same and didn’t take any steps back and then he carried it over to some of the preseason games. So by the end of that it was pretty easy to see how Brock was coming and we knew we wanted to keep him on the roster and not risk him going to practice squad, so it was a decision we had to make.”

You have the Defensive Player of the Year on your roster, but I’d argue that there’s no defender in the league more valuable than LB Fred Warner by the way that he’s able to take away the middle of field and force a quarterback to go elsewhere. It seems like Fred is second to none and he’s gotten his recognition over the past couple of years, but when did you realize that you had a special player on your hands and then throughout your coaching career, when have you gone up against a second-level defender as valuable as Warner?

“Yeah, Fred is as good of a player as there is in this league. His rookie year we knew we had something special with just how he came in and was able to play so much for us and the pressure we put on him calling the defense and how he could handle it as a rookie like he was a 10-year vet. And then the second year is really when he took off and you could see how special he was when he led us to the 8-0 start and the number one defense in the league. And there’s some linebackers like that that you go against in your career that just they’re so good in zone coverages over the middle you always had [former Carolina Panthers LB] Luke Kuechly and [former Dallas Cowboys LB] Sean Lee who were so good at it. You always had [Los Angeles Rams LB] Bobby Wagner and [former Seattle Seahawks LB] K.J. Wright, who were as good as anyone at it. And then you have Fred right there and [LB] Dre [Greenlaw] and [LB] Azeez [Al-Shaair] are coming right along too, but it always started with Fred and he covers a lot of ground over the middle and I know those are usually the guys that the quarterbacks notice the most.”

How involved have Trey and Jimmy been in meetings over these last several weeks with Brock?

“Jimmy’s always doing his rehab and stuff and on a different schedule, but Trey hasn’t missed one meeting and he is in everything and he is really doing an awesome job helping out Brock through all this stuff.”

Why did you go with TE Ross Dwelley instead of TE Tyler Kroft at tight end?

“Just a lot of things that go into it. Special teams and just the type of game we thought it was going to be and where to use our guys the most, so that’s about as much as I can get into it.”

DL Arik Armstead obviously looked like he had a safety on Dallas Cowboys QB Dak Prescott and pulled up because he was afraid of the penalty. I guess what would be your coaching point on that and did you understand his thought process?

“Yeah, I did. It’s an unfortunate, tougher position than it looks to get caught in and I think he thought Dak was going to throw it, so I think he was going in there with the mindset to get his hands up to try to tip it and then Dak didn’t and it caught him off guard and then he was afraid the position he was in, he was about to hit him high and get a penalty. When you’re approaching a quarterback, it’s so hard for these guys to hit in that target area and not get a penalty that you really have to approach it the right way. And I believe without talking to him, just watching on film, he was approaching him to get his hands up to tip it and then all of a sudden when he saw he wasn’t in that situation, he didn’t want to get that 15-yard penalty, which I think someone gets him in an embarrassing spot, but once I watched the tape, I can totally see why it happened and that’s just kind of the challenges these guys have.”