Head Coach Kyle Shanahan Press Conference

Head Coach Kyle Shanahan

Press Conference – September 15, 2023

San Francisco 49ers

Listen to Audio I Media Center


Opening comments:

“[CB Samuel Womack III] He hurt his MCL last play of practice yesterday. Should be back sometime this year though.”


He wasn’t there at the start of practice yesterday?

“Was it yesterday? Sorry, two days ago. Last play of Wednesday.”


Do you know what the corresponding move is going to be yet?

“I got a good idea, but we haven’t made it official yet, so I can’t say.”


You say surgery?

“He does not need surgery.”


Are you looking at two-month timeframe?

“I know you guys hold me to all this stuff. I’m not a doctor. I think it’s like six to eight weeks, something like that.”


Is he the only guy on the injury report?



The play that Brock Purdy got hurt in the NFC Championship game, what would you call the route WR Brandon Aiyuk was running? Was there anything special to call it?



In layman’s terms?

“It was a new route we put in for that week, so we just made it up. It was off some song we heard.”


He had won that route then?

“Oh yeah. It was a big one. Ran it a couple times in the game too. I think [WR] Deebo [Samuel] had one too. He had one big one, just couldn’t get to him.”


You put him in for that game?

“Yep, for that look. Yeah, that was an important route.”


Did you use it in Pittsburgh?



You guys opened last game with Deebo getting the ball twice on a catch and a run. Was that designed obviously to go with him right off the bat. Was there a certain kind of message you wanted to say?

“No, we just liked those looks and wanted to get Deebo the first play, the ball in his hands and the coverage allowed it. But there’s a lot of plays like that, that don’t go to him. So there’s lots of plays designed to go to people. We balance it out pretty good. But it doesn’t always work out that way.”


You and General Manager John Lynch have talked in the past about in 2019 when you got Deebo trying to pivot more towards physical receivers. How much of that was trying to improve the run blocking and making sure that you have guys who are capable and willing in that aspect?

“Not as much. Even smaller guys, I feel like we’ve always had real willing blockers. That actually didn’t really have much to do with it at all. I always thought separation to me is always the biggest strength of receivers. You want guys who can get open versus man coverage and how they’re wired with quickness and stuff like that. But I felt sometimes in years past, going for those type of guys, we couldn’t defeat a holding all the time and not a blatant holding, but good holding. When you jam someone, you get your hands on them, you don’t let them go because you’re in tight. That was harder with some of the smaller guys and got a little frustrated with that. Instead of complaining all the time about not having holding calls, we thought it could be beneficial to maybe have a little less of that and get some stronger guys, which didn’t have to depend on always not getting held.”


Some of the guys in the locker room who said that when Former WR Emmanuel Sanders got here in 2019, they felt like he was someone who, like you said, maybe not the biggest guy, but really set the tone. Did you see that in terms of like what he brought to the table and guys stepping up in that aspect? The run play?

“Yeah, Emmanuel is one of my favorite receivers of all time. I think he’s one of the most underrated receivers. Emmanuel was great how good he was in Denver, how good he was in Pittsburgh before we got him towards the end. But when he came in, he was still at that time, he was our best separator. He was so good. He helped those guys a ton. Just not only how he was our best separator, but his conditioning he never took a play off. It seemed he was dead. It seemed he couldn’t go another play, but once that ball snapped, he was full speed. I think he showed a huge standard for that. Him being one of the smaller guys compared to the others, just weight-wise, he didn’t turn anything down and he always had good technique and stuff. That’s all you need, to me, as a receiver. Good technique and the mindset to do it paired with everything we do. And it was one of our hardest decisions not to keep Emmanuel. It was just the age with [Former WR] Kendrick Bourne and stuff and how he was coming on. So we had to make that decision. But loved Emmanuel.”


Brock was talking about the value he got from being a scout team quarterback last year and the things that he learned and what could add to his toolbox. It’s a little different situation for QB Sam Darnold that he’s been a starter for so long. I was wondering how you think he’s adapting to it and does having a guy with a real similar physical stature to Los Angeles Rams QB Matthew Stafford help this week?

“Yeah, Sam there’s a reason he was the third pick in the Draft. It’s his throwing ability. Stafford like everyone knows is as good as there is at that. And to have a guy with his arm strength and can spin it very similar to him, it helps a ton. Not many people can be close to simulating that and Sam’s one of the few people who can. So, it’s real good for our safeties, real good for our linebackers, good for everyone.”


Where is CB Darrell Luter Jr. in terms of his recovery?

“I think he’s doing a good job. I don’t see him much because he is always working on the side with our medical staff. But again, I don’t mind giving dates if you guys don’t hold me to them, but I think we’re looking like around Week 5, Week 6 for him. So hopefully that’ll keep continuing well.”


Is this the earliest you faced the Rams since 2016. Do you care what time in the year you face them? Is it weird at all facing them that early?

“I thought it was weird last year that our series between each other was done so early. There was so much more football after we were done. We played them I think twice in the first six games, maybe seven. This year we’re playing them sooner than we have. I think in ’19, we played them in Week 4 after the Thursday Night game or bye week. I can’t remember. So yeah, this is the earliest, which is a little different, but then we don’t play them again until the last week. So, we’ll see what two types of teams we are when it gets to the last week. It’ll be different for both of us then. And it’s still early now, so we totally don’t know where exactly where either team is at. So, there’s a little more unknown and there’s a lot more known in the last one.”


How much did Brock gain from not playing against the Rams previously but going through two game plans and the preparation of two weeks when he wasn’t playing?

“I think it’s huge. We always have certain things we got to do versus the Rams, just with some of the problems they present. So, he got to see [Las Vegas Raiders QB] Jimmy [Garoppolo] go through it twice. And it was cool. So, he knew what to expect. He did a hell of a job of it this week. Seemed like he’d been through it a hundred times, but it was his first time really going to do it in front of everyone. But it shows that he was always doing it on the side last year when no one was asking him to do it in front of everyone.”