Head Coach Kyle Shanahan Press Conference

Head Coach Kyle Shanahan

Press Conference – August 6, 2021

San Francisco 49ers

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Operating without a lot of D-Linemen today. Is everybody okay on that?

“Yeah. No long-term things, but [DL] Arik [Armstead] had a, I believe, it’s a groin. He’ll be day-to-day. I believe [DL Zach] Kerr was the same thing. So we’re just missing a couple of guys with wear and tear. It’s part of camp. So it was tough to get through it all.”

 You had expectations for QB Trey Lance coming into camp. Has he kind of made it, met those expectations? Progress wise?

“Yeah. I think he’s playing how he hoped he would. You never know, so you don’t try to put a lot on guys. Just want to see what happens and put the offense in and see how he handles it. And he’s been handling a well, so getting better each day.”

When DL Dee Ford is out there, what are you looking to see when he’s trying to rush OL Mike McGlinchey or something?

“Not much. I just, we know what he can do, so I’m just hoping he keeps coming out there without any setback. So, Dee has played in this league long enough, so I’m just hoping that anytime the back is like it’s been for the last couple of years, I just hope it doesn’t act back up.”

Do you not have expectations for him? You just kind of, anything you get from him is found money, is that kind of–?

Yeah, I think that’s how we’re approaching him. That’s how approaching WR Jalen Hurd. I mean, these guys haven’t played. Hurd in two years and Dee Ford in about a year and a half. So, when you look at that and they’ve had some issues with that, you can’t just flat out count on it, but we know they are two good players that would help us a lot. And I’m really hoping that they’ll get to Week One and hopefully be able to help us out throughout the whole year. Not just Week One.”

This is probably looking too far ahead, but since your first two games were on artificial turf, does that factor into any timeline with those kinds of guys?

No. No, not with me.”

Has he surprised you as far as where he is relatively early in camp?

“I wouldn’t say surprised. This is where I hoped he’d be. It’s been some time. We’ve taken a year off and he’s been here since the season ended. I think he left in June or half of July, but before that, he had been here about five months, really working to get to this point. So I had an idea he would be like this. I’m just hoping it continues.”

It’s hard for us to see without live tackling, but what’s your appraisal of the run game?

“I think it’s a work in progress. You have some good things and you have some, I think our guys are getting a better at blocking. I think our guys are running better. You try to do some things schematically and stuff where you’re going into pressures and things like that, that you’ve got to clean up. We had a couple of balls on the ground today, which is never good. Anytime you’re doing that, you’ve got to back it up. I’ve been happy with the progress. Guys are working, which is what you expect in camp. Hopefully it’ll keep getting better.

What did you see today in those fumbled exchanges?

“Just when there’s some indecision between pulling it and taking it, sometimes the backs hold onto it too hard. There’s a very, there’s an element there that you’ve got to kind of slow play everything. And when you slow play everything in football, eventually it’s gotta be explosive and you’ve got to go. So you’ve got to have two guys kind of moving the same speed and when there’s a little give and that’s what happens.”

Is it more give and take and less communication?

“Yeah, there’s no communication during that. That’s just about when two guys have an option to get the ball, sometimes it’s not as smooth of a handoff and things like that as it would be when one guy’s getting it in all the time.”

How was RB Trey Sermon been as a pass catcher and route runner?

“I think he’s done a hell of a job. He didn’t do a ton of it in college. But just out here, I mean, we work on that with everybody, regardless of if they’re one of the better guys or not at it. I feel like his hands have been good. I think his feet are good. I think he has the ability to get better at routes the more and more he does it.”

How was CB Ambry Thomas been progressing?

“I think he’s getting better too. Like all those rookies, they’re just trying to figure out what the hell is going on in OTAs. I think he came here in training camp a little more prepared and maybe got off to a little bit of a slow start, but like they all kind of did. But I felt here these last three practices he’s making some progress.”

Now that the pads are on, how’s the chemistry with the offensive line?

I love when the pads are on because it’s just, it’s real. It’s easier to block people. You can practice without telling guys they’re doing everything, but a couple things. So it makes it a lot realer. So you get a lot more good work in. Even when the guys miss and stuff, you’ve got a chance to get better with the pads are on. Our D-line, they’re a little wounded today, which makes it easier for our pass protection, but I’ve been happy with the guys so far.”

What have you seen from S Talanoa Hufanga so far?

“I mean, he’s been what we’ve thought. I mean, he loves to run around and loves to act like [Hall of Fame S] Troy Polamalu out there. Stillb got a ways to go before he’s a Hall of Famer, but now he’s done a good job. He enjoy his presence out there. He has fun. You can tell he enjoys playing football. He fits in well. He’s a guy that, you know, you can tell it goes up when he gets the pads on. He was a lot more excited for the pads and you feel a little bit different energy out there since we’ve been putting the pads on.”

Speaking of the Hall of Fame, you will be going tomorrow after practice back there for the festivities. Is that right? Is John checking in, does he want a daily report on what he’s missing?

“I kept trying, but he wouldn’t answer. And then I see him on the TV basically being a commentator. So he was a little distracted, but I guess he’s earned it. You don’t make the Hall of Fame very much. But I’m so happy for him and it’s as cool of a thing in our profession. That is what people dream about. So it’s hard for me to get out of here, but I’m going to go after practice to try to go to his party and be with his family and everything, but I can’t make their ceremony. We’ve got to practice Sunday. So I’ll be back for practice.”

Did you call a penalty on defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans?

“No, I called it on [defensive padding game specialist/secondary coach] Cory Undlin for being on the field. When we do move the ball, guys get annoyed because it is competitive. But I have an exact amount of reps that I want everybody to get and we didn’t get a first down and we needed two more plays. And since I get a call the penalties, I found a way to move the chains. Okay.”

How does the dynamic change for the quarterback’s responsibility-wise when you do move the ball versus the standard practice?

“Not much at all. I mean, they’re just running the plays the same way they do when it’s scripted. They just don’t know what’s coming and neither do we. It’s just based off down and distance. It’s random, putting personnel and sometimes you’re doing schemes, sometime you want to attack. Sometimes you just want to put players in a position and see how they handle it. There’s lots of stuff that goes into it. So they just clear their mind and wait for what I’m calling.”

There’s a lot of excitement around QB Trey Lance, obviously, but it seems like you haven’t really participated within that, just in terms of your messaging and things like that. How conscious are you to not really push that excitement and make sure rookie sort of earns that praise through how he plays in games and things like that before?

“I think I’ve got to be conscious of it when talking to you guys. I understand that that’s the thing everyone wants to hear about. And everyone wants to know each day how practice went, and where is he, are they compete and all that stuff. It’s very easy for me when I’m not talking to you guys because it is what I’m trying to articulate. Like you’re just putting in an offense. Guys go out there and play football. I know it sounds cliche, but I mean, the twos in every group are trying to surpass the ones. And I see Trey the same way. Yes, it’s a quarterback position. I mean, everyone is looking at that, but we’re in a situation where I don’t see them competing. I see, you know, Trey’s going to play for us this year. I mean, whether it’s, I know you guys are running to Twitter on that, but I mean that situationally he is going to get plays. Like that doesn’t mean that he’s going to go be a starter anything. He’s going to get plays and you’ve got to prepare him for that every way possible. Every receiver who makes our team is going to play this year. I know it’s different, but when you have quarterbacks with different skillsets and stuff, it kind of makes it easier for me to look at it similar to other positions. And that’s why I don’t think it’s a problem on our team. And it’s not a problem in there when we’re discussing what we want to do.”

How did CB Emmanuel Moseley look coming back today for you and what was he able to do? How much contact did you have with him when he was away?

“He was able to exercise and stay in shape and stuff since he didn’t have any symptoms and things like that. You know, I didn’t really focus. I saw him out there today. It messed me up a couple of times. I kept seeing 41 and I’m just used to Moseley being 41 and he looked a lot thicker playing strong safety. And then I realized he was four. So that caught me off. But I’m excited to go and watch him on the tape.”

Same question for WR Jauan Jennings?

“Same thing. I mean, he was able, he didn’t have symptoms either, so he was able to keep his conditioning up and stuff, which is nice. He made it through practice. I joked that he has fresh legs because they’ve been all chilling for about a week, but we’re hoping those guys can help us out this year. So it was great to get ‘them both back.”

You said no one’s really separated themselves in the back end of that wide receiver. Is it going to take preseason games to get an idea of the backend of that group?

“Probably. You want to see how guys react in those games and things like that. And I, you’ve got a good idea just watching as coaches, but they’re all very close and their skill sets, their talent and their experience. So that’s why I think it’s going to be a battle to the end.”

When you say he’s going to play, blowing up Twitter with that, would you you know, the Lions, the Eagles, everyone to know, ‘Hey, Trey’s going to play you better prepare for something from him?’

“I don’t care. I think people just assume that whether I say it or not. You know, coaches always prepare. So whether I say it or not, it could be a stretch or it might be exactly what I mean. So we’ll see when we get to that week. That’s how I feel now. But I mean, we do game plan and we do study tape and I can’t tell you guys what I’m going to think a month from now or tomorrow.”

Will you have a portion of camp where the ones face the twos and the twos face the ones?

“We haven’t planned it yet. We don’t do that much, but I will mix those guys in. I mean, Trey will get reps with the ones and stuff. That doesn’t mean just the competition’s open. It means I want him to get some reps with the one O-Line. I want him to get some with the receivers. He does get it with the receivers. We put those guys in every group, we do with the tight ends. And if you guys watch our practices for the last four years you’ll see [TE George] Kittle in with the three sometimes [WR] Deebo [Samuel], like it’s really about the reps and how to get guys going. And sometimes when you do things different schematically, I gotta make sure that other guys get those reps too.”

I would assume, no offense, you probably never tried to transition to tight end. For TE Jordan Matthews, is the biggest challenge the blocking aspect?

“Yeah. Yeah. I mean, it’s, it’s a different world in there when you’ve got to go against [DL Arik] Armstead as compared to [CB] K’Waun [Williams]. You know, it’s K’Waun, you’re blocking a nickelback and you put your hand in the ground and now you’re going against Armstead and probably has an easier time staying in front of him. But you’ve got to be able to handle that load. And what’s been cool about Jordan, you’ve got to put the weight on so you physically can do it, but you’ve got to have the right mindset too. And I know I wouldn’t want that, but Jordan said he wanted it and you can see out there, he’s a physical guy. He doesn’t flinch at all. And when you put on that weight, then you want to see did it slow them down to take away their skillset for receiving. And I don’t think it has. I think Jordan’s been impressive. And I know he’s going for this and I’ve been really happy with what he’s done in a week and hopefully he’ll continue to get better because these are his first tight end reps.”

Can you script the coverages you want the offense to face during practice?

“I don’t. We’ll have [defensive coordinator] DeMeco [Ryans] put it down and you do it both ways. I have our coordinators and him get together. So you make sure we’re not doing every pass versus one coverage. If you don’t chart all that stuff, you might feel really good about all your man coverages, but they’ve been going against all zone beaters and vice versa. So we try to, we tally everything in there and we try to make sure we’re getting the right work that we think will get in the year.”

You probably treat every practice as it’s a big practice, but does going into the stadium with fans in attendance does that change anything, the energy around the team?

“Yeah, I think it does. I mean, it changes the energy coming out here and fans just being right there in the stands and then going into the stadium, anytime you change something up in camp, guys get a little bit more juice. But going in there where I think we’ll have more people in there, especially not having them last year I think guys are real excited.”