Head Coach Kyle Shanahan Press Conference

Head Coach Kyle Shanahan

Press Conference – September 13, 2021

San Francisco 49ers

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Opening Comments:

“Starting off with injuries: [CB] Jason Verrett had an ACL, so he’ll be out on the year, [RB] Raheem [Mostert] ended up chipping off a piece of cartilage. He’ll go on IR, but he should be able to return. An anticipated return they say is eight weeks. [LB] Dre Greenlaw had same groin so he is day-to-day. [LB] Marcell Harris had an oblique strain. We will re-evaluate, but hopefully he should be good by Wednesday. [DL] Dee Ford had a minor ankle sprain, believe he should be fine also. That was it from the game.”

How did DL Nick Bosa come out health-wise with playing 50 snaps?

“He was healthy. No reports today from him. I think he was pretty happy that he was able to play a bunch. Played at a pretty good level and get through the game healthy.”

Do you feel like the depth at the cornerback position is to your liking? How do you feel about that group after Jason’s injury?

“Losing a player like Jason is a pretty big deal just because of the type of person he is and how good of a player he is. I’m glad we were ahead of the case, bringing in [CB] Josh [Norman] last week. And we should get E-Man [CB Emmanuel Moseley] back soon. I can’t guarantee this week but I’m holding out hope for it. With that being the case, I feel like we’ve got enough guys in our building. But that’s something that you’ve always got to look to see if there’s any way you can improve. You always do that.”

How did you feel about DB Deommodore Lenior’s performance?

“It being his first game, throwing him out there, he played a lot of plays at corner and then he played a little bit there at nickel in the fourth and I thought he did a good job. Definitely some things he can clean up, I thought he was fortunate when they got by him on that deep ball that sailed out of bounds. But for the most part, like he’s been since he’s been here, he’s not scared of the moment and he went out there and competed.”

 QB Trey Lance had four snaps against the Lions, three runs, one pass. I understand you’re doing what gives you the best chance to win, but you also have to balance that with Lance’s long-term development. Why do you feel that using him the way you used him against Detroit is the best way to develop him as a quarterback?

“Because I think getting a guy any playing time when he’s the number two quarterback helps his development more than getting no playing time.”

After Jason got the news officially, what was your time like with him? How is he doing?

“I talked to him a lot last night. I think a bunch of the guys did. I think he got the official news a few hours ago and I haven’t been able to see him since he got the official news yet. But he was very upset. Exactly how you guys could imagine. Jason puts his heart into this and he’s been through this a ton. When he’s played, he’s had a great career. But everyone knows how much more is out there with how good of a player he is. And it’s tough for him, but he’s also a man and is as tough of a guy as I’ve been around. So, he’ll persevere. It takes time. It’ll pass, but you have to grieve it a little bit. And I know he’s probably doing that right now and we all are for him.”

 I know it’s very early in the whole process, but do you start talking to him about the team being there and bringing him back next season? What’s kind of your feeling and how you’re going to approach that with his future?

“I’ll talk to Jason about anything. It’s always a tough situation, but I’ll believe in Jason until he doesn’t want to do it. If anybody can get through stuff like this, no matter how many times it’s happened, it’s Jason. So, he doesn’t surprise me with anything. I don’t think that’s the stuff you want to think about right now. But Jason is a guy that I don’t think there’ll ever come a time that I don’t want him to be a part of us.”

Will Jason stay with you guys through the rest of this trip or does he head back? What’s kind of the process there?

“Yeah, I think he’s going to stay out here. We’ve got a different situation here, not having to do all this stuff. Hopefully we can get his wife out here too, so she can be with him for the week. Hopefully keep him around a little bit at least. Most of that’s on him, but I know if he wants to be here and it helps him, I know how much we love having him around.”

In terms of the running back situation with Raheem being out a couple of months possibly, does this mean that most likely RB Trey Sermon will be active? And how did he handle not dressing yesterday?

“I haven’t got to talk to him about it, but I think he handled it like a pro. He battled some injuries throughout training camp, so did [RB] Elijah [Mitchell]. It gave [RB JaMycal] Hasty some opportunities to really show some stuff in the preseason to look good. Elijah came in and looked just a little bit ahead of him in the limited plays that he got. No one was passing up Raheem, so you only could get three guys up. It’s not an easy decision, but that’s part of the NFL. But it’s a matter of time. We haven’t got through a year here where we haven’t started at least four different backs. And now we’re into Week 2 and he’s up regardless and I expect him to come in and play at a high level and just keep getting better because there’s a reason we drafted him and we’ve got a lot of confidence in him. But we’ve got a lot of confidence in all our guys in the building right now.”

You said injury is a part of the NFL, but you guys seem to deal with more injuries than most. How do guard against a ‘here we go again’ feeling when Jason and Raheem have serious injuries in the first game?

“That’s part of football. I’m not going to sit here and be a therapist to everyone about it. I thought we got out of the game mostly healthy. Two unfortunate things for both of them. Fortunately, I think we’ll get Raheem back later this year, so we’ve got to make sure that guys hold down the fort while he’s gone.”

What’s RB Jeff Wilson Jr.’s prognosis? Is there a better read on when he might be available to come back?

“I haven’t asked that for a little bit and I was expecting him close to the halfway mark, but I can’t remember when that is. I can get a more exact answer for you on that next time we talk. Since Jeff had his injury and how’s it been going, he’s definitely on schedule to come back. I think we were saying like between Weeks 6-8, I just haven’t asked for a while. But he’s looked great around here, working out, getting ready, and I know he’ll be helping us at some time this year.”

Have you guys made any decisions on roster of moves for this week?

“No, we haven’t. As always, right before I’m done with this, I finished my last thing with the players from the day before. I know [General Manager] John [Lynch] and all those guys have been looking into all those possibilities all day. That’s something we’ll meet on later tonight.”

 I know you mentioned WR Brandon Aiyuk dealing with the hamstring injury, but are there things about his approach or anything else aside from the injury that caused him to play less yesterday than maybe most of us expected?

“No. I just think he’s got a better person behind him this year in training camp and with Aiyuk missing some time and how well [WR] Trent Sherfield played and especially with Aiyuk missing some time heading into that game, it wasn’t a very tough decision. We were going to rotate them throughout the game. I think Trent ended up having 29 plays and I think Aiyuk had 25. So, that was about how we expected it to go. We wanted to split time like that. I thought Aiyuk would get a few more punt returns and I thought he’d get a few more targets, but when guys are rotating that much, 50/50, I don’t really ask much who’s in, I’m good with either one of them getting the ball, whoever is in there at the time. It doesn’t matter to me.

 Like Trey Sermon, how did Brandon Aiyuk handle having less reps yesterday?

“I’m not sure, I haven’t got to talk to him yet. I’m sure I’ll talk to him before Wednesday. I think he had an idea of that going into the game. That’s how practice has been the last couple of weeks, so I don’t think it was a surprise to him. But that’s something I’m sure I’ll talk to him about sooner than later.”

 Are you expecting DT Javon Kinlaw to practice on Wednesday?

“I’m not expecting it. I’m hoping it. I know that he’s got a chance to. He had a really good last four days. He was looking good on Saturday. We were able to get him a good workout on Sunday. And each day has been an improvement. So, I think that we still have to look how it is tomorrow. We’ll re-evaluate him on Wednesday, but as far as these last four days and him not playing in that game, it’s been going in the right direction.”

After watching the film and going through the defense, what do you have for defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans as far as things that you’d like to see tweaked a little bit with how they performed on Sunday?

“I think DeMeco would tell you the same thing, it’s not as much about tweaking things, it’s about doing things better. There was a number of things that we’ve done here for going into our fifth year in a row early in that game, especially those three runs up the middle. Just a couple of guys not being in the right gap and it wasn’t one culprit. It was three different guys on three different plays. I think they had like 110 yards rushing and I think they got 60 something yards on three of the same play which were all very similar. You’ve got to tie 11 guys together to stop the run. And one guy gets out, it’s going to get on [DB] Jimmie Ward real quick because that’s the middle-third player. And you’re just hoping he can save a touchdown. So, the three of those really hurt, just a couple of mistakes there at the end of the game that allowed them to get some quick points. But stuff that we’ve got to get better at it in terms of not making mistakes. And so, I’m real excited to get to practice on Wednesday with that stuff.”

 Yesterday was C Alex Mack’s debut with the team. How did he do in particular and how did the offensive line do in general?

“You know, once Mack got over the first play as a Niner, which was the fumbled snap, I thought he did a hell of a job. It was big time, fumbling that first play, and the defense still making sure they didn’t come up with any points on it. I think they held them on a fourth down and we got it back and were able to start over. But I think anytime you run for about 10 yards to carry until close to the fourth quarter and the protections, at least when we did have the drawbacks, I thought were very good. But as a whole, I thought the O-Line played very well and I thought that Mack did a real good job too.”

 QB Jimmy Garoppolo put the fumbled snap on himself. Are you saying that it was the center’s fault more than the QB’s?

“Honestly, you can never really tell, even when you look at it on film. But I’ll give it 50/50, maybe 51 Mack, 49 Jimmy.”

Will Raheem have to undergo surgery?

“Yeah, he’s getting a scope, which is the same thing. So yes, he has to.”

Both you and your dad have had success with undrafted or late round guys. From former NFL RB Olandis Gary to former NFL RB Mike Anderson to RB Elijah Mitchell. Are there certain traits that they all have shared through the years?

“Yeah, they’re all pretty good running backs. History shows you can get them in the first round, you can get them in the sixth round, and you can get them as undrafted. And I know there is history with that at every position. But there are a lot of running backs and only so many get drafted. So, there’s always a number that gets missed. And there’s certain running skills that people have that sometimes is not always easy to see based off their situations in college and the style that they play with or their team might play with. So, I think there always are some diamonds in the rough that you can look for. And by no means do we hit on every one. We go through this a lot, so there’s a lot that don’t work out. But I usually like our percentages with running backs, whether it is a draft pick or whether it is an undrafted guy. We’re always trying to look for certain things and you think you see it right when you look on tape, but you don’t really know for sure until you get those guys. And I can tell you all those guys that you mentioned, not only are they good runners, but they’re also very special people in terms of how much they can handle adversity, how much they can handle the attention to detail, the pressure that’s on you to do right every single play throughout a whole year and not everyone can handle that. But when you get some undrafted guys who come in really hungry and very humble and pissed off usually ready to prove the world that everyone’s been sleeping on them, sometimes it’s a little easier with those guys also.”

 How aggressive do you plan on being in the cornerback market, whether that’s through free agency or trades? And how much of a challenge is it just to find a quality cornerback that can help one week into the season?

“Huge challenge. You always look into everything. That’s what our guys are doing all day and all year around. So, definitely doing at the corner position, but they do it at all positions. And just because you lose people doesn’t mean that there’s just a store you can go get some more at. You always try to take the best people possible that also fits in your cap and doesn’t hurt your team for the future and things like that. So, we’re taking everything into account.”