Head Coach Kyle Shanahan Press Conference

Head Coach Kyle Shanahan

Press Conference – August 2, 2021

San Francisco 49ers

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Have you gotten a preliminary update on LB Azeez Al-Shaair?

“We don’t know for sure. It sounded, we’re pretty optimistic on it though. We’ve got to take him all the tests and stuff, but just the doctors feeling and everything they were pretty optimistic.”

You guys were dealing with some cornerback injuries today. Is that why CB Ambry Thomas was out there with the ones?

“Yeah. I believe [CD] Dontae [Johnson] left during practice. His foot was a little sore, so he left during practice and that opened up some more holes for everybody. [CB] Tim Harris [Jr.] was limited today. I know he was out there. I don’t know how many reps he got, but he was a little tight, so we wanted to protect him so he didn’t pull anything. So a couple of guys we didn’t push as hard as normally.”

Where was LB Samson Ebukam?

“He had a day off. Taking care of his legs. Some leg soreness.”

LB Dee Ford was out there in teams. Was it scheduled or how does it work?

“It was the schedule. I mean, that was what we were, you map it out for everybody and you hope it goes that way. You do it one day at a time. And talk to him. We talked to him about it yesterday on the day off and came in this morning and that was the plan. He stuck with it. And I think he got to about six reps out there today. And it was nice. I didn’t realize he was out there. I was looking downfield, but I felt him off the edge go right by me.”

On the first day at camp, you said that there’s no quarterback competition that any backup comes in has to earn the right to compete. Based on the first five practices, would you say that as QB Trey Lance has gotten closer to that area where he can start competing for the starting job?

“No. I wouldn’t say that. I think when I said that I meant in terms of, and I think when you guys ask if there’s competition, is that balanced reps and does one guy go with ones one day, the next guy, the next day and stuff like that. And that’s kind of what I meant, but everybody has to earn their position at every spot. I mean, whether twos are out there doing well, threes are out there doing well. There’s always competition, but no, we’re not splitting their reps up going against the ones and stuff. I thought Trey had one of his better days on Saturday. But that was nothing to move him up there to start talking differently with Jimmy or anything like that.”

How fun is it for you or, or maybe not fun, but just what was the thought process Saturday and then again, today of adding in more or those quarterback driven runs?

“I mean, it’s just part of it. You don’t see it unless the defense plays at a certain way. He’s not just doing that to do it. He’s doing it cause they didn’t account for him. So he pulls it. But I mean, I always loved that play. It said it’s a good part of football and when you can show the defense, it helps them get ready for when they see it in the season.”

Were those options added to the playbook or those a little different because he’s here?

“No, I mean, we ran a four times verse Arizona last year with [Jacksonville Jaguars QB] CJ [Beathard]. So, I’ve always mixed it in. I think I ran it with Jimmy’s first year in Houston and he pulled it on what’s his name? The guy from South Carolina. He pulled it on [Cleveland Browns DE Jadeveon] Clowney and it wasn’t the right pull and I felt bad calling it so stayed away from it a little bit. If it works grammatically, you dabble in it just to keep defenses off beat. But if your quarterback could major in it a little bit, then you can try to mix it in every week.”

So you don’t see Trey getting snaps with the ones anytime soon?

“Yeah. It’s not, I haven’t planned that at all. Yeah.

You’ve said for him to start Week 1, something drastic would have to happen.“Yeah. I mean, I just think to look a lot better than the guy who’s been playing for a while and done everything in practice and in three preseason games where you’re not playing in all the games. And I think that would be pretty tough to do so I’m not trying to put that pressure on Trey. But I mean anybody who can pull stuff off, I mean, you’re going to see it that way. Jimmy has played too good, a football. He is too good of a player and Trey’s trying to learn everything right now and soak it all in. So that’s why I’d be very surprised if he was able to do that.”

Where are you on the install?

“Today was day five. So we have seven days of install.”

Seven days total?


With a shortened preseason, just three games this year, how does that kind of change everything?

“Not at all, nothing. I tried to black out that fourth game every year, anyways. One everyone just tries to get through and stuff. And now this year we don’t have to get through it. I think it would have been different if the third game was a week before the season started, how to do that. But with the third game being the exact same time and two weeks before our opening week to me, there’s no difference.”

Is the second or third game the dress rehearsal?

“The third game.”

WR Jalen Hurd didn’t practice Saturday or today. Do you have any update?

“No, he’s going out there doing routes on air and trying to get all that stuff in just with the injuries he’s been through with his back stuff. We’re trying to ease them in. We do have a plan to try to get them into team drills coming up here soon. Hopefully he’ll stay on track and be to do that.”

What have you seen from QB Josh Rosen and QB Nate Sudfeld?

“Two guys competing. I mean, those guys have the toughest situation. Third string quarterbacks, there’s just not enough reps. And then when you’ve got a guy a three and four guy who are competing, it’s really tough. So those guys got to wait a long time. One guy gets two reps a period, and then the next guy gets two reps in the next period. So I think those guys are making the best of it. But I think hopefully they can get some more time in games to really play and try to separate from each other.”

I’m sure we asked you this last season, but as far as Brandon Aiyuk returning punts, would you be more willing to allow him to do that this year, knowing that he’s got the offense down more than he did as a rookie last year?

“I mean, I hope so. Hopefully he can prove that and get the offense down more and own that to where it doesn’t mess him up. But you know, he’s trying to prove that he’s one of our best receivers right now, so he can get out there in that way. And hopefully he can prove he is one of our best punt returners too. Just like everyone, I think last year was really tough on rookies because they didn’t get any offseason, they didn’t get a training camp and they didn’t really realize that. And they know what they know and that was their first year. So Brandon coming back this year, I feel like he’s got a chance to be built up the right way. And we’re early in the camp, five practices in, but he’s working his butt off out there and some good, some bad, but if he keeps working like he is, I think he’ll be ready for whatever we put at him.”

I think this was the second day that there’s been a fumble on an exchange between QB Jimmy Garoppolo and C Alex Mack. Is that just the process of them getting accustomed to each other?

“No, I think no. They both, Jimmy has been taking snaps for a long time and Alex can snap. Today they fumbled the snap because I think Alex was making a call and just froze. So everyone went and he just got the hiccups and didn’t snap it right away. So it happens sometimes, but hopefully it happens in practice and not the.”

Obviously the connection with quarterbacks coach Rich Scangarello was Philadelphia, but was that the main connection between you two?

“Yeah, I mean that’s when there’s not a lot of tape on someone, you know, the tape that we do have on him, we really liked him. I mean, just his skillset, his size, how he can throw, the way he throws, I’m looking at all his stuff from college, and he’s also a lot more athletic than people give him credit for. But when you have a guy who was in that building who worked with them every day to tell you what type of guy he is and stuff, so you know what you’re getting, that made it pretty easy for us to target him early.”

What have you seen from WR Deebo Samuel this year in his third year? He had some setbacks last year of course with his injuries.

“I’ve been very happy with Deebo. He came into camp in as good a shape as I’ve seen him. You know, he left OTAs not quite there yet, but trending there. And so I was really curious of how he was going to be these 40 days away. And just being in shape and stuff, it’s the best I’ve seen him.”

Sorry if this is redundant, but what did you see out there today that you liked?

“I thought we were a little rusty today. Just everyone got a day off yesterday, you know, I thought, I didn’t think the defense was as crisp with their calls and stuff. When we change our motions and stuff, it seems like there’s a little bit of hesitation with everyone. You get a day off, when you’re grinding every day and then you get to relax for a day, sometimes your mind is a little too relaxed. And I thought that the D started out that way. I thought the O was a little bit sloppy also. Everyone was working hard, but I didn’t think it was as crisp of a practices as we’ve had the previous four.”

What do you look to see when you get these guys in pads?

“That nothing changes. I mean, they keep playing the same way and we never go to the ground. Sometimes people know that someone won’t thud you. I like to see who, everyone’s running fast out there knowing someone’s not going to thud you up, but when they do, is that going to change? And if it doesn’t change, then you know you’ve got football players.”

WR Mohamed Sanu Sr. has obviously seemed to emerge a little bit. Is there another receiver, you know, outside of Aiyuk and Samuel that you can say, hey, you’re showing me something?

“I think it’s too early right now. Yeah, we just started doing one-on-ones. I don’t think anyone’s really separated themselves and put themselves out there yet. Hopefully we’ll get [WR] Jauan [Jennings] back here from the COVID and hopefully [WR] Jalen [Hurd], will get back out there healthy and add some more competition, but, you know, no one’s really separated themselves yet.”

Obviously there are some protocols and things, but how much is it different from last year for you personally in terms of your day to day not having to worry about protocols and social distancing?

“It’s huge. I mean, just being able to be close to people, not having to wear a mask. Like, I don’t hear that well. I’m struggling to hear you guys right now. I need to see lip movement in here. So I just think it’s people enjoy it more. It’s nice when you go get food that you can actually sit down to eat next to someone. You don’t have to take it to your car and things like that. I think our, I think we have an advantage with how tight our team is. I think it does help. And I felt like we lost that a little bit last year, so I’m excited to kind of get that back right now.”

What have you thought about what Trey does as far as the classroom stuff and the mental reps and just how he’s picking up everything on the offense?

“Trey Sermon?”

I’m sorry, Trey Lance.

“He’s been great. He works his butt off. He does everything good.”

Trey Sermon?

“He does the same thing. He does great too.”

Peter King wrote that you can monitor obviously the iPad usage and that Trey Lance’s usage tops the team. Is that accurate and what does that say?

“I don’t know. I actually haven’t heard that. Someone mentioned that to me before I came in. So someone must have mentioned that to Peter. I’m sure [director, video operations Michael] Bracken told probably [general manager John] Lynch that or something. Which is cool, but I also know how electronics work. You can press play and watch a movie while that’s just going next year and act like it was on for eight hours. So how they are, I mean, I, that’s why I don’t ask everyone’s hours. I kind of just see are they prepared? And it wouldn’t surprise me because he seems prepared each day.”

It seems like TE Ross Dwelley is making a couple of nice catches a day. Has he taken his game to another level this year?

“Yeah. I mean, Ross is a very dependable guy who has as good of hands as anyone on our team. You know, if the quarterbacks put it there and the guy’s not by him, I mean, he’s rarely not going to make that play. So he gets more confidence each year. You know, we had to throw him into a bunch of roles last year with Kittle being out for so long. And the more roles he gets thrown in, the more he’ll surprise you and the better he gets.”

How did TE Jordan Matthews end up at North Dakota State’s pro day and then kind of your thoughts on his transition to tight end?

“I don’t know how he did. Jordan Matthews is a machine. He’s everywhere. So he is chomping at the bit for any opportunity people give him. And that’s why he’s been successful in his life so far and he’ll be successful in whatever he does once he’s done with football.”