Head Coach Kyle Shanahan Press Conference

Head Coach Kyle Shanahan

Press Conference – September 12, 2022

San Francisco 49ers

Listen to Audio I Media Center

Opening Comments:

“Alright guys, the injuries from the game. [RB] Elijah Mitchell, MCL sprain, not going to need surgery, but it’s going to be some time. He’ll end up going on IR here. [DL] Javon Kinlaw had the ankle sprain, but we’re not expecting that to bother him, he should be alright. Nothing else from the game.”

Do you know when Elijah hurt his knee in the game?

“Yeah, he did it near the red zone. I think he had a– I want to say it was like a 16-yard run, it was a 16 or an 11-yard run. It was about four plays before our touchdown to [WR] Deebo [Samuel] there in the first half.”

Do you have a rough timeframe on when you expect Elijah back?

“We’re estimating around two months, eight weeks, so give or take a few. So hopefully it goes well and it’s earlier, but you never know with those things, but that’s what we’re guessing.”

Now that you’ve had the time to look at film, how did the three interior offensive line guys do yesterday?

“I thought they did a real good job, I thought they did good in pass protection. I thought it was a real good, positive first game for those three. By no means were they perfect, but I thought they did a real good job for their first time.”

Taking a look at the penalty on LB Dre Greenlaw, what did you assess from watching the film now?

“It was an unfortunate one, I couldn’t tell on the film. You had to go to the TV copy. We didn’t have it on the film from our angle, so I saw it on the TV copy this morning. And he has his back to him, he’s reaching around, trying to grab for the ball. You can’t see where, because the guy has his back turned to Greenlaw and he reaches and grabs and it happens to be his face mask. And then he lets go of it, but they’re going to call that because he did grab his face mask. There’s not much Dre could have done different about it. It was unfortunate. And what we have to do is overcome after that and we had our opportunities to overcome that after it. I think we dropped a pick. I think [S Talanoa Hufanga] Huf had a TFL after that. Then they ended up converting the third down, so it ended up hurting us in the long run, but stuff like that happens and it’s no excuse to give up the whole drive.”

Elijah obviously went through a lot last year what kind of spirits was he in today after you got a chance to see him?

“He was pretty down, and for obvious reasons we’re down for him. Elijah went through a lot last year, it was well documented the injuries that he had. He had really worked hard this offseason. He was feeling really good going into that game and man, I thought he looked really good before he got hurt. And it’s just an unfortunate hit that he had. I’ve been trying to tell him to keep his head up, anybody who would’ve got caught in that situation would’ve gotten hurt with the way his foot planted in the ground and the guy hit his knee. I think we were just real fortunate it wasn’t worse.”

And what’s your comfort level now with the guys you have behind him? RB Jeff Wilson Jr. and RB Jordan Mason and RB Ty Davis-Price?

“We’ve always been comfortable with Jeff just because of his experience and what he has done here. We know what we’re going to get. The other two guys, they made our team for a reason. They’re two talented players who we think can help us a lot running the ball, but they have to grow up fast. They’re trying to compete and learn how to play better without the ball in their hand. With injuries, they’re going to have more opportunities to get some carries, but they have to grow up and get this experience while on the run. So a lot of more pressure will be on those guys and we’re going to have to pick it up as a group to help them out.”

What was your take on WR Jauan Jennings performance yesterday, not just the four catches but his performance in run blocking as well?

“I thought Jauan had a real good game. He made some big plays for us as usual on third down. I thought he blocked very well. Missed one on the goal line that I know he’d love to have back, but I thought he had one of the better games on offense.”

You lost your top running back last year during Week One as well, what lessons, if any, do you take from that experience? And now without Elijah Mitchell for some time.

“That’s why we’ve been drafting one every year too. I think our first year here with [former 49ers RB] Carlos Hyde was the only year that we’ve had where we didn’t lose our starting running back. So I think this is the fifth year in a row and I think we’ve gone through at least four throughout a year and we’re already at that again. So it’s something that has happened to us in the past. And that’s why you can never have too many of them. Sometimes it feels like we have a lot and very quickly, it now feels like you don’t because those numbers end fast. So we hope to have better luck with that in the future, but hopefully we can hold down the fort here a little bit and when Elijah comes back, he’s coming back to a better team and helping us make a run.”

How much do you look at Deebo’s impact? And obviously QB Trey Lance’s running ability as a way to sort of adapt without Elijah?

“Yeah, that’s always an option, but you need to get that production from running backs too. I thought we got that production from Deebo in the game. I thought we got it from Trey in the game, so they did that there. And we have to make sure that we have the backs step it up too. And hopefully one of those guys or all those guys collectively can help with that production that we always count on Elijah for.”

Kyle after the outstanding offseason that WR Brandon Aiyuk had, it was a little surprising to see him just get two targets. Why do you think you weren’t able to get him the ball a little bit more frequently?

“We really didn’t start throwing it consistently until we were down two scores and we were in that monsoon, so I think we struggled to get it to anybody that consistently. He did have one big third down that was taken back. I think we ran the ball a lot too, so sometimes the games play out like that.”

What did you see from S Tashaun Gipson Sr. and Talanoa Hufanga out there?

“I was real impressed with their play. Huf was all over the place. It seemed like that live and I felt even stronger once I watched the tape. I thought Gipson had a huge challenge stepping in and playing for [DB] Jimmie Ward. He had looked good in practice all week and it was awesome to get him out there. You could tell he is a vet who could recognize offensive schemes and do some stuff and almost had a chance for that big pick right after that penalty that we had. A guy kind of held his arm and couldn’t make the one hander that was almost a huge play, but I was really happy with how both of those guys played.”

When considering the penalties, is there anything that you emphasize in particular or do the guys know to take a look hard at themselves after that?

“Oh no, those are things we emphasize going into the game so that’s why we’re all so sick about it. We knew how that was going to be, you know how it is when you dive at a sliding quarterback and no matter what happens, you have to get them down, but when they slide, you have to avoid them, you can’t land on top of them. That’s something we talked about a lot and it is a very tough thing to do for those guys, but that’s part of this game. And you can’t have any excuses with it, so we were real disappointed in that. We felt like going into the game, we had every chance to stop their offense and we felt their only chance we felt would be like that. And I think we gave up 200 yards on offense and 140 of those were on the three drives we committed those penalties.”

What is your TE George Kittle status going into this week and was he close at all to being able to play on Sunday?

“He thought he was, that’s why he made the trip, but we decided pretty early there Saturday night just talking to the doctors. I haven’t really found out about him today I’ve been doing all this stuff from the people from the game, so I hope he’s ready to go Wednesday, but not sure yet. I know he’ll be working to get back this week.”

When you guys had the opener against Tampa, I looked it up, you had 11 penalties in that one. Obviously, you won that game, but is there any correlation, do you think between a lot of penalties and a season opener kind of knocking off rust or do you think that that was purely coincidental?

“I don’t know. It could be. I think it was more coincidental. I think the one, especially the personal fouls, were stuff that happens when you have a running quarterback and that’s stuff we to be a lot better at. And we got one similar to Tampa Bay that year when [New Orleans Saints QB] Jameis [Winston] acted like he was going slide then didn’t and [New York Jets LB] Kwon [Alexander] ended up getting ejected. That’s kind of the challenge of that stuff. It’s tough to win when we commit those penalties and that starts with me and we have to make sure to clean those up because I felt we had every opportunity to win that game and our defense had every opportunity to completely dominate that game. And that’s what allowed them to get three touchdowns in a row.”

Does Dallas Cowboys QB Dak Prescott’s injury open up a potential trade avenue for QB Jimmy Garoppolo or are at this point are you planning to keep it around for the whole season?

“Just like all players, we’ll listen to anybody on anything. That never changes for any player or coach, so we’ll always listen to anybody.”