Head Coach Kyle Shanahan Press Conference
Head Coach Kyle Shanahan
Press Conference – September 11, 2023
San Francisco 49ers
“All right, guys, same thing from last night. [CB] Ambry Thomas cleared his concussion evaluation yesterday and again today. So that’s all I had. Go ahead.”
After you had a chance to evaluate the tape, how did you think OL Colton McKivitz fared yesterday?
“He had the toughest matchup on the field. There was definitely a number that [Pittsburgh Steelers LB T.J.] Watt got him. There’s a couple situations we could have helped him out better with some chips and stuff. He battled throughout it, but did good enough for us to win. It was a huge challenge going against that player.”
How much do you think that experience can help him moving forward too?
“A lot, but he got that also two years ago when he had to hop in that Rams game at the very end on some short notice when [T] Trent [Williams] couldn’t go. So he has been thrown in some tough positions, but Watt’s as good as it gets on the edge and especially in a loud atmosphere, especially early in that game. But he kept battling and I think he’ll do better next week.”
What was your impressions of how DL Nick Bosa fared in the snaps that he got too?
“I thought he did a good job, especially for his first time back. I thought he played real well in the run game. Didn’t get a ton of opportunities in the pass game with the center going the other way or some chips but forced that holding call on one and we ended up declining it because [S Talanoa Hufanga] Huf got that tackle for the loss of five. But I thought it was a good first day back, got out healthy and ready to get him back into the swing of things this week.”
To our naked eye, it seemed like the defensive line as a whole there’s a lot of opportunities for one-on-ones just because of the attention being thrown at Nick. How much do you expect that to kind of be an issue that you guys present to teams moving forward now that you have DL Javon Hargrave and obviously DL Arik Armstead being healthy again?
“Oh yeah, that’s been the case really since Nick’s been here. And it’s really why we wanted to go out and get Javon. Thought that would make a big difference. It’s been so great to get Armstead back and have the offseason he has had and just being healthy really for the first time because he struggled with that all last year. So both of those guys just playing at that level and [DL] Drake [Jackson], the offseason he had, it was real cool to see him get some benefits from it and some success in the game.”
When you look back at the DB Deommodore Lenoir unnecessary roughness penalty and you look back at the tape on that, obviously you don’t want to get the penalty, but is it a little bit of a testament to his aggressiveness and physicality and what is the line there?
“Oh yeah, first of all, you want players who are close to that line. This game’s way too fast and physical to sit there and hesitate and think about that stuff. So, Demo’s proven that. He’s become a really physical, tough football player over the last year and a half. And that’s one he is going there and I do think he can stop it though. Sometimes it’s tough when they’re already in the air and the guy’s going out of bounds, but he wasn’t quite yet and anytime you hit him in the white we know that it’s going to get called and he can correct that.”
When you talked about the protection issues after the game, were you referring to physical mistakes or assignment-wise?
And after viewing the film, same thing?
“Yeah, same thing. We knew there would be some tough situations going in. A lot of that stuff you don’t expect to hold up very long. Some of the sacks, especially the last one, the sack-fumble, we just got a different coverage than we were expecting. The coverage we were expecting at that time of the game, we get rid of the ball a lot quicker. They played a different coverage that kind of surprised us at that time of the game, which made [QB] Brock [Purdy] have to hold onto it too long and wasn’t expecting to be able to hold onto it that long. And that’s usually what happens. And I wish I didn’t call that in that situation so we could’ve got rid of it quicker. But, even when it does happen, Brock’s still got to protect the ball.”
You mentioned getting Nick into the swing of things. Do you feel that he’ll be full go by Week 2 or what’s the integration plan?
“Yeah, I mean, I think he will be. I know he got 35 plays. He was full-go on those, he played like he was full-go. We just wanted to take into account the recovery and things like that after. So, we were really happy to be able to get a win and play the way we did with reaching the play count or not exceeding the part that we had planned on. And hopefully he’ll spend these two days recovering. I’m sure he is going to be sore today, sore tomorrow just from doing that and hopefully he will be fresh enough to come out and start getting to go at practice Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.”
After seeing the video, how do you describe the way the defense played and how do you expect it to be different, if at all, with defensive coordinator Steve Wilks running the show this year?
“I mean, my goal for our team was to play with the right intent. Just how hard we went from the first play to the last play. And I was real proud of our team in that way. Our defense, just starting out in those first three plays, going three-and-out really set the tone. They had the right intent. They flew around. By no means did we play a perfect game. We’ve got to clean a lot of stuff up. There’s a lot of things that we can do better. But our mindset was right. And that’s, to me, where it starts was the most important thing regardless of what happened and our D came out and they flew to the ball, they have been who they have been and that was really cool to see that happen with Steve for his first time.”
With K Jake Moody, is the plan to get him to do kickoffs eventually once he’s kind of fully healed and is he on the path to doing that?
“Yeah, I mean he should get to that soon, just him coming off the injury and stuff. We took that off his plate, even going into the week. So, he knew going into that week he was only going to do field goals. We’ll see how it goes this week for that. But yeah, we plan on him being our kickoff guy.”
How do you assess how DT Javon Kinlaw played and specifically, he probably wasn’t in there for very many running plays, but just how his pad level was in the run game?
“I thought he took a step forward from last year. I thought he had one play in particular I really liked. He got in the backfield a couple times. On the fourth play of the game when [LB] Fred Warner had that tackle for loss, that real violent hit in the backfield where he just shot the C gap, Kinlaw took up the center and the guard, which allowed Fred to be unblocked to make a big play. So, I think Kinlaw did his job.”
What’s the biggest difference you see in WR Brandon Aiyuk from now prior to this time last year, this time two years ago?
“More consistent. I thought he came a long way last year in that, as the year went, I think that’s why he ended up leading our team in receiving and he’s carried that into the offseason. Didn’t know if he was going to get all those opportunities going to the game. You never know how it’s going to play out, but he got eight opportunities and he came down with all eight of them. That doesn’t always mean you get more. Sometimes that means you get more attention and they take it away, which helps out other people. So, you never know which direction it’s going to go each week. But the coolest thing about B.A. is how ready he came to play regardless. You see him on some of those run plays and stuff and from the beginning to the end. And usually when he is like that in the run game, it carries over to the pass game. The pass game’s just a little more out of your control, but yesterday it all fell to him and he was ready for the moment and had a big-time game.”
How much did you enjoy his block on RB Christian McCaffrey’s run? I know that’s a big point for you, wide receivers blocking like that.
“Oh, it was huge. I mean, him and [WR] Ray-Ray McCloud [III] are, it was an unbelievable run starting on the inside. Our guards and our center and our back really just our four versus their four up the middle, those guys did awesome. But then when it gets on the edge and you want to get touchdowns, that usually has to do with the receivers blocking and both of those guys, starting with B.A. and then to Ray-Ray to finish, that was as good of a clip as you could have to kind of show how important every play is to us, despite what type of play it is.”