Head Coach Kyle Shanahan Press Conference
Head Coach Kyle Shanahan
Press Conference – August 3, 2023
San Francisco 49ers
Can you give us an update on RB Elijah Mitchell and OL Jaylon Moore?
“Yeah. Elijah had an adductor strain, I think last practice, two days ago. He’ll be out a little bit. It’s day to day, but at least probably a week. Jaylon Moore had a scare, ended up just being a bone bruise to his knee. Same thing, day to day, a little bit of time. But, it was good news based off of how we felt out there that day.”
Is this a next step in the progression for QB Brock Purdy being able to practice today? What’s going on there?
“No, because he’s had two days on, one day off. And so, he had yesterday off, we don’t want to go two in a row. So, he went today, he’ll go tomorrow. Then he gets the third practice off. So, it’s part of the whole plan. That’s why we have these three days.”
Should we read into anything on why QB Brandon Allen didn’t take any 11-on-11 snaps today?
Could it have anything to do with the abbreviated practice?
“Yeah, we always do that on the first day off after an off day, so just not a lot of reps. And there’s three out there and there weren’t enough reps for four on this day.”
What’s the thought process behind that? I think some people think that when you have the day off then you can come right back at it, you guys seem to back off.
“Just all the science and all the stuff we do each year. Each year we try to look at injuries around the league, injuries with us, and we always try to get our practices and reps and where we go as good as we can as hard as we can, without injuries. So, we usually go a low day when we have three day blocks. Tomorrow will be a high day. The third day will be a medium day. And when it’s all said and done, we get all the same amount of reps, but we just stagger it differently.”
Where was Aaron OL Banks today?
“Aaron is in the concussion protocol.”
How about LB Dre Greenlaw?
“Greenlaw just had an off day.”
How about OL Jon Feliciano?
“He had a shoulder strain, I think is the right word. He’s day to day. It was close to going today, expect him out tomorrow.”
I know you like those dual practices, but do you kind of ramp up towards them? How do you view kind of the scheduling with those practices coming up?
“The same. Everything with us is a ramp up. We kind of stagger it up and down and up and down, but each three days it goes a little bit more. And we try to build to the top of the mountain, which is the top of our mountain is usually about 40 reps for the ones. And the top of the mountain is the exact date of our first Raiders practice. This will be our first time scrimmaging against guys the first week. We usually do it the second week. But that Thursday is our day we’re at the top of the mountain with a bunch of reps and I’m excited it’s going to be against another team instead of our own team.”
Did you have to do anything different with practice today because you were missing so many guys?
“No, it probably would’ve been harder if it was tomorrow. But today’s such a small rep day. We were all right to get through it.”
QB Trey Lance had a pick there in that last series. What did you see on that play?
“Just tried to throw it over the hooker and got under it. So, one day it’s a high low and he was too deep and he wanted the deep throw and he’s got to check it down.”
WR Danny Gray made a couple plays today. What are you seeing from him in this camp so far?
“I think he’s having a real good camp. He put the work in phase one, two and three. He was able to get through OTAs working hard and not having an injury. And he obviously spent the 40 days away well because he’s catching the ball, he’s in real good shape, and he’s been out there very consistently and the ball came his way a little more today.”
Has RB Jordan Mason taken strides since his rookie year?
“Yeah. I thought Jordan had a great rookie year, helped us out a lot. I think just understand the offense better as a whole, getting better in the pass game. I definitely think he’s taking some strides.”
Where do you see TE Cameron Latu and TE Brayden Willis as rookie tight ends? Is it hard for them to jump out? Do you see them jumping out and doing well?
“I think it’s hard. I mean we got, everyone knows [TE] George [Kittle] and then when you look at [TE] Charlie [Woerner] and [TE Ross] Dwelley, they’re consistent with what they do and they’ve been here for so long. And the tight ends, we ask our tight ends probably to do more than any other position because how involved they’re in the run game and the pass game. And those guys are getting thrown in it big. We just finished really our whole install and hopefully it slows down a little bit for both of them as we get going here.”
Is tight end a hard a position to get a rookie reps out there?
“Yeah, I believe so. I mean just one, we got some depth at it, but I mean they’re getting the reps but it’s just all the stuff that takes a while to do. You can show up in one-on-ones and things like that, but we’re trying to get them to play in our offense and learn how. It’s hard to go out there as a tight end in the pass game, if you can’t contribute in the run game. And so, you’ve got to work at both just as much. And those guys don’t get a lot of that in college football.”
Defensive line Coach Kris Kocurek was telling us yesterday that what he’s seeing from DT Javon Kinlaw right now is one of the most gratifying things he’s seen since he’s been here in terms of him stacking practices and looking healthy. What’s your observation on how he looks right now?
“Yeah, I’d agree. And when you watch every year, we’re really hoping Javon, since we took him, we know how talented he is and every year we’re hoping he can come back and have the health and play the way that we know he’s capable. And every year it’s just heartbreaking with how hard he’s worked and what happens with him. And this year it’s been so encouraging because it’s the first year that he’s gone from February all the way up to now with no setbacks. And for him to have the OTAs that he did and to bring it into now, you know how much it means to him, you know how much he’s put into it and probably as much as I’ve seen any player. And it’s hard when you have those three years where you don’t have good luck and to see him having the results of the effort he’s put in, you’re really pulling for the kid.”
When you go in and watch Brock now on film, is it in the back of your mind where he’s coming back from or is that off your mind because you’re evaluating him for what he is right now?
“Yeah, that’s completely off my mind. He’s healthy. Guys got to get in throwing shape and they got to play and stuff and get used to that. That takes time and stuff. But I’m not thinking about his injury anymore.”
Do you think he is?
“I think guys always do, but you don’t step out there until you’re healthy. So even when guys’ knees are healthy, they can go and it takes a couple things for them to have the confidence. You’d have to ask Brock, but I don’t quite think this injury’s as much like that. Even just talking to other quarterbacks and stuff, it feels that way at the beginning. It feels that way for a few months. But once it heals it’s a pretty good track record with everyone on how healthy they are.”
Do you have to remind defensive guys like you saw a play a couple days ago, don’t hit him when he has the ball in his hands?
“I have to remind defensive guys that every single play on whoever’s at quarterback for my whole career and that will continue. But yeah, it is a lot more sensitive when you see it happen to a guy that ended his season that way last year. But I mean, that’s all we talk about. I mean that’s what kind of what killed Trey his first two years was hitting his finger on a helmet and breaking it and that messed him up for about a year and a half. So that’s one of the biggest things that we emphasize every day in this room and team meetings is how to get better but not hurt the quarterback. That’s my main reason I’m liking those guardian helmets because when you hit your finger on those helmets, there’s kind of a pillow on top, so that helps a lot.”
Did you have to hold your breath a little bit when that play happened?
“I had to hold my breath so I didn’t lose my mind. I could see he was all right, but the guy, I mean it’s human nature. I mean the only way you can finish a sack is if you run, run and reach and those guys do it and that’s why we have to get on them all the time not to do it because it is human nature and then they all do it and they pull their hands back like they didn’t. I used to get annoyed when coaches would make such a big deal about it when I was younger because it’s like, chill out man, just let them play football. It’s not the end of the world. And then eventually you coach long enough and you lose players in practice to some things like that and you realize how big of a deal it is. So, the defense gets annoyed with me a little bit on it, but I never stop talking about how to protect guys and not just the quarterback, but we had too many people on the ground our last practice and how to be physical but not go to the ground. So, it’s something we’re constantly working on.”
You’ve had a lot of penalties in these sessions. Is it just sloppiness or what do you make of those penalties?
“No, I think it’s more the real refs, the NFL refs were there. And we’ve had some other refs, no that’s rude. I didn’t mean it that way. The refs that come here to work and prepare for other stuff that aren’t the NFL refs, they don’t throw as many flags and I think sometimes our DBs get used to it. And so, then the real, the NFL refs were there and they threw a lot of flags for man coverage and stuff and so they have to back it up a little bit. But that’s really part of camp.”
How is Brock’s progress knocking the rust off, getting back into it? Does he seem like he’s back to where he was last season?
“I don’t think anyone’s back to where they were exactly last season. We’re going through training camp, a lot of guys had more practices than him, but we only had six in OTAs. But he’ll get there. He’s doing some good things. They’re all doing some good, all doing some bad. But we’re not worried about Brock. Brock’s the real deal. He knows how to play and we’ve just got to have our team keep getting better and he’ll keep getting better as we go.”
Last training camp, you made a comment that you hoped CB Ambry Thomas could just compete to make the team. This training camp, there does seem to be a bit of a shift. What do you attribute that to?
“I don’t know. I think he’s working harder. I think he attacked OTAs, phase one, two and three a lot harder than he did the year before which made him look so much further ahead in OTAs than he was the last two years. Then he leaves for 40 days and he comes back and he looks a little bit better than he did in OTAs. So, I think his mindset and everything has been great. I mean, over the history of my career, you look at a lot of people who play as a rookie, sometimes it’s default because of injuries and stuff. And you know, your whole life you don’t know if you can play in the league and then you get in there and human nature kind of eases up a little bit. And I’ve seen that more in people’s second seasons than any season of my career. And I think that happened a little bit to Ambry. That’s why he was a little bit on the outside looking in last year, but he ended up making it, he competed and this year I think he learned what happened to him. And when you just watch out on the field, you can see his urgency and preparation is so much better.”
You’ve called Elijah the trash man. His style is very physical but also seems to invite injuries. Is there a balance he can strike now, entering his third season? Or is it just like that’s what makes you special and maybe he builds up some sort of callus?
“No, I mean we’re trying to work everything with him. I mean, Elijah’s an extremely good back and he’s had some unfortunate things with injuries. He is a very physical runner, but you don’t strain your adductor because you’re running physically. I think all of our runners are pretty physical. Sometimes that can happen. But his bad injury last year, he had his foot in the ground and someone hit his knee. I think it was his MCL, so you can’t change your style. That’s also what makes him great. I don’t always think that’s what’s getting him hurt either. But he has had some muscle strains and stuff and I think he got hurt on the exact same day last year in camp. It’ll probably help him to be out here a little about a week and a half most likely. But Elijah does everything right. He just has been unfortunate with it. So hopefully we can find the secret remedy as we go.”
When you sign a guy of DL Javon Hargrave’s caliber, you know what you’re getting as a player, but how much do you consider what he could do in terms of unlocking other guys like DL Arik Armstead for example? In 2019, you saw what he could do with Indianapolis Colts DL DeForest Buckner and those guys there. How much is that a consideration? What can it do for a guy like Arik to have?
“So much, for all four of them. I mean, the more guys that are there, the better. The less you can put on one person, the more space there is. What DL Nick Bosa does on the edge for guys having to kick out so far helps out the inside guys. When there’s two inside guys that have the get off that both these guys have that Kinilaw’s having that the quickness Javon has, we’ve got Javon [Hargrave] and Javon [Kinlaw], so it’s really tough on me. But that’s our whole goal when you can’t just do it with one, you can’t usually do it with two, you have to have a lineup of them and they have to keep coming. They have to be in shape, they have to stay healthy. We feel when we have that, we’re pretty hard to beat.”
How did Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s visit come about?
“[Dr.] Harry Edwards brought him out, which was unbelievably so cool just to see him out there. He wasn’t hard to spot. He was definitely taller than everybody. But you get some legends around sometimes and I mean, Kareem’s a legend of legends, so that was about as cool of a legend that could come around here. The players thought that was pretty cool.”