Head Coach Kyle Shanahan Press Conference

Head Coach Kyle Shanahan

Press Conference – July 30, 2021

San Francisco 49ers

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Opening comments:

“[MyCole] Pruitt wasn’t out there today. He had a calf injury. He’ll be out for a little bit. [DL] Nick Bosa had a maintenance day. [WR] Jalen Hurd had a maintenance day and [DL] Maurice Hurst is day-to-day with a slight ankle. Cool, go ahead.”

What’s your plan for LB Marcell Harris?

“We’ve been working him at linebacker. He just wasn’t able to do anything in OTAs. He worked at linebacker a little bit last year some and unfortunately he didn’t get to practice in OTAs. So he’s had three days of it. We’ll see how it goes. We know what he can do at safety, and we’re just seeing what he can do there.

Is that a try out thing? Just kind of figuring out where he fits best?

“We wouldn’t have put him there if we didn’t believe he could do it. And we think he has a chance to be one of our linebackers that can make this team. We know he’s done it before in the past as a safety. He’s always been a great special teams player for us. So, we think that possibly could be his better position, but we’re trying to find out.”

How do you feel the cadence went today?

“I thought it went a lot better. Yeah. I mean the D-Line is teeing off on stuff as they always do. So if we aren’t aggressive switching our cadence up all the time, we’re going to have some trouble with those guys. You don’t want to do a ton of cadence right away, but if you don’t with the way our D-Line plays, you’re in trouble. So, I like our guys challenging us to do it a bunch, and I thought they did a much better job.”

I know it’s hard to evaluate running backs before they get the pads on, but it looks like the rookies you brought in are showing some good speed out there and it seemed like they’re getting the hold of things pretty well?

“Yeah, I’ve been excited with the little runs that they got an OTAs. We know the talent they have, but you just want to see all natural to this for them. Especially when there’s not pads on, sometimes it’s tough to go through there full speed and hit the right holes. But, those guys have run like vets. They haven’t hesitated without pads. They’ve been running through there and I’m excited to see them once we get more pads on and get them in games where people are tackling them.”

When it comes to the vaccine. How do you balance a concern over a player not getting it and not pressuring too much?

“We haven’t pressured anyone. I think it would have been a lot harder if we had a big group of guys not doing it. I think that was more of our worry. And then about a week up to camp, we got passed at 85%. I think it’s five or less. I think it’s five, but those five, we’re not going to pressure. It would have been tough if a lot our team didn’t and we had to do things different. But with the small amount of guys doing it, and things I think are a lot tougher on them, but it doesn’t affect the team that much. However, some of the stuff they have to go through is pretty frustrating. So I know they’ve got to balance out how they feel about that and what they’re going to have to go through this year playing football.”

When you release WR Mohamed Sanu Sr. last year, obviously you have a relationship with him, what was that conversation like?

“I mean, it was tough because of how much respect I have for Mo. And he wasn’t at his best at that time. We just had some guys, we had too many receivers that we liked. We had [WR] Deebo [Samuel] coming back from injury. We had [WR Brandon] Aiyuk. There weren’t other guys. We had some roster issues, I think, with a bunch of other guys getting hurt. And there were too many receivers that we couldn’t give up on to keep Mo there. And with him not being the best that I was used to with him, I was honest with him and he understood. And so what’s cool about Mo, he’s the man. You can be honest with him. He doesn’t take anything personally. He knows this business and that’s why it was so cool to watch him at Detroit at the end of the year where I thought he got a chance because he wasn’t in New England’s camp, came to ours, I think Week One or Two and got to play there a little bit. I think he got more into shape and I thought he played at a much higher level at the end of the year at Detroit. And when he hit us up over the summer telling us how good he was and how good a shape he was in, he’s a guy we believe. He doesn’t really usually tell you that, just to tell you that. And it’s been accurate so far.

Both mental and physical that you saw that wasn’t up to par?

“I think he was meant mentally because Mo doesn’t really change with that. When he gets out on the football field, he’s always going to be locked in and doing that stuff. But I think COVID had an effect on everyone. Mo’s not a guy who’s not going to work out or anything. He’s always working out. But I think that became a lot bigger challenge for guys in COVID and doing it in their backyards and stuff like that. And then you don’t get into training camp and he’s the guy who kind of needs a training camp. He likes to grind and do all that stuff. And just to hop in with us, I mean, his mental was there. But, it’s all about what you do before that you can’t catch up when you miss kind of an off season. And I think that’s what he learned from that and was more than ready this year.”

You’ve mentioned a couple of times he reached out to you guys, did he call you directly and say, ‘Hey, this is kind of where I’m at,’ how did that go down?

“I have a good relationship with Mo. So, usually he’s just going to call me and send me video of him in his backyard, whatever it is, to show me that he’s in shape. Usually when he tells me, I can tell when he’s confident and when he knows he might need a couple of weeks. That’s a big difference, but I’m just talking to him over the summer. I saw him last last year when we had to let him go, which put some worry on it. But when a guy you know and a guy you respect calls you and you trust them, then you give an opportunity. And he came in and he was everything he said.”

The energy that comes from the corner when the defensive linemen are warming up with defensive line coach Kris Kocurek and assistant defensive line coach Darryl Tapp is really palpable. How does that compare to other defensive line corners in your coaching career?

“That’s at the top. It’s borderline crazy. They’re walking a fine line, but that’s what playing D-Line in the NFL is. That’s why if you’re going to challenge guys and make them work that hard, like he does, and to get guys to really do it without eventually snapping on you, you’ve got to have a lot of love for your guys and you’ve got to be completely invested in them. Chris, that’s what he does 24/7. He has his little daughter, I think, she just a year and a half old, I’m sure he’s coaching her on D-Line stuff. And his wife. He lives and dies it and it’s every day, nothing changes. If you try to talk to him during vacation, just be prepared, it won’t be five minutes long. He won’t stop until you tell him you’ve got to go. And I think his guys love him for it because he is completely invested in those guys.”

QB Jimmy Garopplo, earlier this week when we spoke to him, sounded very thankful to have quarterback coach Rich Scangarello back. Is there something about the relationship that those two have, and is Scangarello may be able to get something out of Jimmy that might be a little bit unique?

“I think so. I think it was good that they had a relationship in the past. Rich was here the first year and a half that we had Jimmy here. And they got to know each other very well. Rich probably only got to coach him in about seven games, because the second year Jimmy got hurt so fast. I think he was very comfortable with him. Rich has been a lot of places, really understands the quarterback position well. He’s been in a bunch of different schemes and I kind of look at Rich as more of a veteran. I think Jimmy, having him around, just a guy to talk to and bounce things off of. I mean, he said it, but I would’ve guessed it too. I think he makes it more comfortable.”

Was it a pretty easy decision to bring him back when you saw he was available?

”Yeah. Once he was available, I didn’t look at anyone else. We knew we were going to go that direction because he had been here and I knew how Jimmy felt and I knew how I felt.”

I know you guys haven’t had a chance to look at count for practice and it’s obviously crazy early, but QB Trey Lance had a couple of crazy he throws today. Have you been able to get to a sense in the film room of how critical is of himself?

“Oh yeah, yeah. You don’t have to get on them too much. When he doesn’t have a good throw, he knows that as much as anyone. I just like that he keeps firing it. I mean, some are going to be good. Some are going to be bad. But, the more you get reps, the more you get your feet under you, the more you know where you’re going, the more consistent that’ll be. And the 40 days, Trey was a way, the work he put in when we’re not there, that’s pretty cool. Because you know how you ended OTAs. They get away and you’re not sure how they’re going to be when they come back. And he’s been better coming back and now it’s our job to help him get better throughout training camp.”

When you were watching the offense behind today, did you notice DL Samson Ebukam a little bit more today? Seemed like he had a couple of sacks today?

“Yeah, I did. I thought our D-Line was going today. I think it has been a real competitive camp. I think the D probably got the best of the O today. They’re all tough to handle, but Samson he’s done a real good job. He’s in shape. He’s explosive. He’s strong. We’re not surprised. We’ve played against him twice a year for, I think, the last four years. So, he’s been exactly what we hope for.”

How big of a disadvantage is the offensive line at without pads? 

“It’s a big disadvantage. I don’t think as much in the run game, but it’s a lot harder in the pass game. Just pass blocking guys when you can’t really quick set them and get into guys and they’re all a lot slippier when they don’t have their shoulder pads on. So I think pass game is the hardest.”

A lot of players have talked about their mental health. Do you feel like that’s kind of a result of it being more accepted or is it just kind of what everybody went through last year?

“I think the whole world is different than it was 20 years ago. I think our parents were more embarrassed to talk about it just because that’s how everybody was and I think our generation is a little bit more used to it. I guarantee our kids’ generation will be a lot more used to it. So I think that’s normal with football and everywhere, but I do think everyone is aware that not everyone was in a great spot last year. And some weren’t as bad as others. Going through COVID, not just for our team, but really every person I know, relationship-wise, I think everyone had to go through that a little bit and making sure your mental health was right, whether it was with your family, whether it’s with your business or whether it’s playing football, if your mind isn’t right, it’s kind of hard to be a good friend, a good dad or a good football player or good at whatever you do.”

Going back to evaluating the O-Line, D-Line, what in this early part of practice are you looking at OL Tom Compton and OL Daniel Brunskill?

“Really just how I know where they were at in OTAs and then what they’ve done in their 40 days away. I’d like to see if they’ve gotten better or worse than those guys have been really preparing. I think, Brunskill came in great last year. He was one of the few guys. I think that he used to send us videos in his garage with people throwing bags at him and all this. He was very creative wherever he was, I think in South Dakota or something coming up with stuff. I thought that’s why Tom struggled a little bit though. Tom had a harder time, coming into camp and just being at, going through the COVID and not being in as good of football shape as he could. And then training camp last year didn’t allow us to get ready on just how quick it was. So I think that hurt Tom most of the year, started to get right towards the end of the year before that concussion. But, both of them, I think have learned from that and I think they both have come back a lot better than they were last year and there is going to be some good competition there.”

One more O-Line question about the backup tackle situation. It seems like OL Jaylon Moore has been at backup left tackle from the get-go. Is he showing you a bit more than you might expect from a fifth rounder and then I’ll follow that up on T Shon Coleman, whether he’s sort of being eased back in slowly because of his opt-out year?

“Yeah, I mean, I think the hardest thing for Shon was not only the opt-out year, but the year before he didn’t really get to play either. He had a great OTAs, a great training camp and I think he got hurt on, I think like the first or second play in the first quarter of our first preseason game. So he’s really had two years off. In OTAs we didn’t get to go against each other as much as we used to. So he’s still trying to get back to where he was at. And then Moore, we knew his feet, we knew he had the talent to move anywhere. And we saw that in OTAs and with [OL Justin] Skule going down, we’ve got to see if he can do it at tackle. We knew we were probably going to throw him at guard at first and with Skule going down we got to see what he can do a tackle. It’s been nice because we know he has the ability to do it. And now he’s just got to get reps and see if he can own that spot.”

What did you see from that ball boy that kind of looks like you?

“He’s got to work on his hands, that’s because his mom’s genes. It was funny. I saw him trying to catch punts and he wasn’t within 20 yards of one. So I told him I’d give him five dollars if he just touched one. And the last one he ran through and touched it and I think he almost broke his arm. He’s starting football next week. So trying to get him a little used to it.”

Do you know what position he wants to play?

“He says receiver, we’ll see, that’s what I recommend.”

Has he been out at camp in the past?

“Yeah, he’s been out a little in the past. He usually has a hat on you don’t notice him as much. He’s really into his surfer cut now so he wants everyone to see it and then keep trying to get him to wear a hat to cover up the sun, but he won’t do it.”

You typically have three quarterbacks. I mean, the fact that you might have two starter-level quarterbacks on the roster. Does that change how you view that?

“No, I mean, ideally for a roster standpoint, you want to have two and then have one on practice squad, just so it doesn’t hurt your roster, but you never let go of a quarterback who you think can help you. And I think we’ve got four in here who can play. I know how hard it is to keep four. But you don’t want to let good quarterbacks go just because you have too many. So that’s something that, , it’s going to be a tough deal because we’ve got some guys who can play. So, it won’t be an easy decision. It’s nice that they get some preseason games so we can see them out there. But it’s also tough for those two guys because of how many reps Jimmy and Trey get, but I know we’ve got four guys that I believe in and probably as deep of a group as we’ve had.”

Jimmy’s had plenty of camps under his belt. How has he used his experience to help Trey and give him not the first camp jitters vibe?

“I mean, I think that’s just the dynamic in the room and how people feel around each other. I mean, Jimmy, there’s no different energy in that room or anything. Those guys get along great. So I mean when they say that there’s no awkwardness, they mean that. And I think the best thing that a starting quarterback can do for a rookie, isn’t just sit there and be in his ear all day. It’s just to do things the right way and they get to watch you. And that’s what I’ve been real impressed with Jimmy just because how prepared he came in OTAs, how prepared he came into training camp and that’s allowed him to look on things and do stuff the right way from day one. And that’s the best thing that you can do for Trey. The worst thing would be a guy who’s had success in this league and a rookie is watching that guy and he’s not on his stuff. You don’t want guys to think that you can be successful in this league without working.”

Do you have a timeframe for when you’d expect Nick Bosa to start participating in team drills?

“I don’t. I mean, we’re taking it really a block at a time. I mean today, I mean all his plans so far, but we haven’t set a date where, hey, this is the day you start. We’re doing the individual, I think every third day’s a maintenance day, I think. But I also, I’m going to count on Nick on that the most. I know Nick, we don’t have to make a lot of decisions for him when it comes to football. He’s thinking about his body and what’s right 24-7. I think it’s tough when you’ve got younger guys that you need to develop a lot and also protect. But as I joked with Nick, I feel like he’s been developed as a pass rusher since he was like three, so he’s been focused on it. It’s a little bit easier with him. You know, you look back to his rookie year and I think he got a high ankle sprain, I think before our first game. I don’t think he played at all in the first preseason and we weren’t sure if he was going to be ready for Tampa. I think he’ll get more time this year because I think he eventually will get into team drills and stuff, but we’re taking that pretty much day by day.”

Do you sense a different energy now that these fans are back and COVID protocols are a little less strict than last year?

“Yeah. A huge difference. I think everyone’s so eager, not just here, but I think everywhere to get back to normal. It’s not totally there, but you can tell, I know our building’s ready for it. I know our players are ready for it and you can tell the fans are ready for it. And we’ve all got to be smart and do our part. But I mean that energy is getting back to our normal life and getting back to real football season, which I mean that by having fans in the stands. We were excited about that all year and now that we’re here and we can see fans at practice, it’s become more reality.”