Head Coach Kyle Shanahan Press Conference
Head Coach Kyle Shanahan
Press Conference – January 27, 2023
San Francisco 49ers
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“Alright, injuries for the game. [QB Jimmy] Garoppolo will be out. [RB] Elijah Mitchell, questionable. [CB] Ambry Thomas, questionable. Go ahead.”
What did you see from RB Christian McCaffrey today during practice?
“He looked full go.”
Did Elijah get out and practice at all?
“He was out there, I think pre-practice and individual. I think so.”
How much did Ambry Thomas practice?
He obviously suffered his groin injury near the end of the game against Dallas?
“Sometime in there. I’m not sure. I didn’t ask him. It was on one of his plays though.”
When there was this talk at the end of the year that the league may be thinking about going to neutral sites for title games, obviously this week you would want that, would you rather see it stand the same and have the top seeds have the home games?
“Yeah, I would not like that. That’s what you work for during the year. It’s a big reward. It’s a big reward to get that BYE Week and it’s a huge reward to play at home. I hope it stays that way.”
Conversely, if you’re the road team, is there something special about that if you go into the other team’s home and win? Would that be lost too?
“Yes. There’s pluses and advantages to both. I think there’s more to play in a home because of the crowd noise, but it’s always nice to go on the road too, with your crew and rally together and go into a place where no one wants you there except your team and that can be really fun and inspiring also.”
There’s been some reports today and yesterday about defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans getting high up on the list of a couple of teams. Do you have any insight to where things stand with DeMeco with the Broncos and the Texans?
“Yeah, I got a pretty good idea. Yeah, he lets us know. He let’s us know a lot.”
Do you sense that you’re going to not have him beyond this season?
“I don’t think any decisions have been made, so I just know he’s has opportunities.”
How has he handled these last couple weeks?
“He’s been great. He’s really enjoyed this time. He did a hell of job in those first two games, he hasn’t missed a beat any of his preparation and stuff. I know he enjoyed Thursday night and Friday night getting those interviews on his off time. This week it’s been all work. Now his off time will be on a plane, so can’t get interviewed there.”
Do you feel like Elijah Mitchell, when he’s out there, is seeking more contact to be more physical as a runner than he was last year?
“No, I think he’s always the same. He’s a violent runner, that is why we started calling him Drano because he always goes to the right hole. Then we also call him the Trash Man because when he is out there, it sounds like trashcans are banging around in the alley. He likes to run into people violently when he has nowhere to go and that’s what makes him a special back.”
Do you feel like he and McCaffrey’s running styles kind of contrast each other and give defenses different looks?
“Yeah, I think Christian is great at hitting the right holes too. When there isn’t a hole there, he never turns things down. He’ll put his pads into people too, but I do think that they’re a really good mix of each other and their styles.”
Does he have a nickname?
“Christian? Isn’t it CMC? We haven’t given him a nickname yet. Yeah, we haven’t given him one yet.”
What is it about Elijah you think that enables him to, when he does miss significant time, when he gets back it’s like he was never away?
“I think running backs are a little similar like that. I think it takes time, with running routes and things like that, to shake off the rust. When he gets back and he’s healthy, he knows how to run the ball. I think it’s exactly how he looked in college. I’m sure that’s how he looked when he was in high school and that’s how he looks in the league. He’s got the ability to do it. He’s got the mindset to do it. I think it’s always hard when you miss so much of the offseason because of the surgeries he had. Then he got that bad injury in the first game. It just gets tough because when you don’t get to practice a lot of this stuff, it’s just hard for your body to take the way that he plays. But he goes in and goes hard as can be, like he’s never missed a beat. Hopefully next year in the offseason stuff we’ll have a little bit of better luck to where you can build a little bit better base and help him do what he does when he plays, but help him do it a little bit more.”
Kind of a no-duh question, but some players brought up the importance of not letting the Eagles get ahead, get the pass rush going, making you one-dimensional. Obviously you do not want to fall behind, but has that even been a talking point for you guys?
“No, I think that’s our goal every single week. You always want to get out to a good start, but anytime you go against a really good offense and a defense and especially when that defense starts with their pass rush, then it becomes even that much more important. So, that’s always your goal, it’s your goal every week. It’s an extremely important one this week, but there’s also other ways to win if you don’t get off to a great start. so you want everything to go ideal but hey, however this game is dictated, I feel we got the group that can adjust to whatever.”
Last week you talked about showing the Cowboys games to let the team know how important that rivalry was. This week, have you used any motivation from the two last NFC Championships or is it enough motivation, the fact that you have a chance to punch that ticket to the Super Bowl?
“No, we always do some little stuff. Today we watched the 2002 NFC Championship game with the Bucs in Philly. It was awesome to watch. It was a little bit boring because they had 33 runs for 45 yards, 1.5 per carry and had 26 points. Tampa Bay’s defense was awesome in that game and [Former Tampa Bay Buccaneers CB] Ronde Barber, I always knew how great Ronde was, but that game was as good as it gets. That’s why my mind will be blown if he’s not in the Hall of Fame soon.”
Was that the pick-six at Veterans Stadium?
“Yep, running it back like this, pointing at Barber, it was cool.”
Was General Manager John Lynch watching it too?
“Yeah, he was. Yeah, he came into my office right before when I was going through it to get prepared to show the team. He sat down and enjoyed watching it for about 10 seconds and he got up and was pacing the room. He didn’t even realize it. I’m like, what’s going on with you right now? And he is like, what? What do you mean? And then he goes, oh yeah, this brings back some feelings.”
Did you show that because it is a team that went into Philly and shut them up?
“Yeah. You just like to show people the atmosphere. I know that was the last game at the Vet, but there’s parallel. You go pick a game at almost any time and you see parallels in everything. Players are all the same, different shoulder pads a little bit. The last time we watched the ‘82 game and it was much different shoulder pads, but they’re all great athletes who play at a high level. Rules are a little bit different, but it’s all the same stuff. I love showing the guys, to make people aware of the moment they’re in now, because sometimes people don’t realize that until they’re a little bit older.”