Head Coach Kyle Shanahan Press Conference

Head Coach Kyle Shanahan

Press Conference – September 19, 2023

San Francisco 49ers

Listen to Audio I Media Center


Opening comments:

[WR Brandon Aiyuk] B.A with the shoulder will be limited and [CB] Ambry Thomas with the knee will be limited. Go ahead.”


Is Aiyuk you trending in the right direction?

“Enough to be limited.”


That’s in the right direction, right?

“Yeah, I think so.”


What do you have to see from him? I’m assuming it’ll be a game time decision. What’s the plan for Thursday with him before the game?

“Just that the trainers and him himself tell me that he can go.”


Is this a walkthrough today basically, or is it anything like a real practice?

“No, it’s always walkthrough on Thursdays. We go out for a walkthrough, do that, we come in, we watch it, and then we go out again for a second walkthrough later.”


The other day when you talked about the workload with RB Christian McCaffrey and RB Elijah Mitchell, is that a conversation you have to have with Elijah or he gets it?

“I haven’t yet, though it can be like that sometimes. The week before I think Elijah got in for 10 plays, which was closer. We still did it more than that last year, but I wasn’t expecting him not to get in at all. So, when I see him, I’ll say something to him.”


You talked about how much you saw from QB Brock Purdy last year and the Thursday Night game in Seattle and battling through the injury. Why was that so meaningful for you in terms of being able to project what he could be for you moving forward?

“It was just the situation we were in was so unique to where he was our third, we were down to our third string quarterback at the time. And then when he had that bad injury just bringing in [Former QB] Josh [Johnson] from another team and everything on a short week and stuff. It was just so different not having the guys that have been here. So, to give him all that time up to kickoff, we probably wouldn’t have, if we had been in a different situation where guys had been in our building and played longer. But we had to give him every moment. Just what he pulled off, we didn’t think he was going to be able to play and then for him to be able to do it and then play the way that he did play was so impressive.”


Is that one of those things that you don’t know what someone’s made of until they can actually show it to you?

“Yeah, kind of. You got an idea just watching them. You got an idea hanging around them. But those are moments that I don’t think, I don’t I want to say necessarily what they’re made of. I think he’s proven that a lot, but I think guys don’t know what they’re capable of pulling off till they get into those positions and Brock is going to pull off anything he can. That’s what was cool talking to him that whole week because he is not a guy who just tells you what you want to hear, like, ‘Yes coach, I’ll be ready. I’m fine.’ And then they get to the game and they’re not ready. Brock was honest with us all week and I knew there was times he didn’t think he’d be able to and he was going to be honest with us. But when it got close to kick off, he was like, ‘Hey, I think I could do this. Let me try.’ Then he tried. As the first quarter went, he gained confidence and so did we as it went.”


We know WR Deebo Samuel came up here in the summer and said he was disappointed with his season previously. We know that you might have had a meeting with him. Did you start that process? Did Deebo come to you to kind of go back over the last season? How did that all kind of begin?

“Deebo comes to talk a lot, but I’d say I started that conversation a little bit. I had spent a lot more of the offseason here. So, I’d been going through the tape for five months straight and Deebo missed phase one and two and came in phase three. So, it was the first time I got to see him in a while. And we had a lot of stuff to catch up on. Usually you review all that stuff earlier on, but since he missed that, we waited till then. And it was a very positive, good conversation. It wasn’t hard or anything, but it was a very real conversation. That’s what I love about Deebo so much because he’s an extremely real person and if you talk to him the right way and you show him stuff, he’s not going to B.S. us or himself. And I didn’t expect him to come have that reaction with you guys a couple hours later. But I was very pleased with the result.”


He might have been disappointed he wasn’t a captain last year, but how significant and do you think the team, the players were reacting to what they saw from him in the offseason to make him a captain this year?

“I think so. I didn’t ask them personally, but I know he was close to that the year before and didn’t get it. I didn’t know that it would bother him. He didn’t really let me know that, but after I could tell it kind of did. I think he wanted it more than I realized. So I kind of had an idea he was disappointed last year. I thought it was really cool when I got those votes that the team had voted for him because they didn’t the year before, even though it was close. And I think it was because of his training camp, how he came to training camp, the way he handled himself, not just on practice but everywhere. And I think it was a very genuine vote by all the players.”


You’ve had to take into account Pittsburgh Steelers LB T.J. Watt and Los Angeles Rams DL Aaron Donald the first two games. So what strikes you about the Giants defense going into this one?

“There’s people every week, T.J. from the edge and Aaron from inside. They got as good of inside players here too. [New York Giants DT] Dexter Lawrence it’s our first time really seeing him, but just watching the last 24 hours, he’s as good as advertised. [New York Giants DE] Leonard Williams has always been a great player. Both of their edges are good also. So they got a very good front end. Similar challenges the last two weeks.”


How does Deebo through two games look different than Deebo of last season?

“He’s in much better condition. He had a much better training camp. He was able to get through it all and get better throughout it. Last year he had some setbacks coming in, wasn’t able to go through training camp and kind of was in and out throughout the whole year. And now it’s just like camp. He’s in the best shape, doesn’t have to come out as much, doesn’t have to take as many plays off and is playing as good as I’ve seen him play.”


What are your early returns on your interior pass rush with DL Javon Hargrave and DL Arik Armstead and obviously DT Javon Kinlaw?

“I thought in the second half it got going, not just with our defensive line but our secondary with it. I thought the Rams came out, and really, we gave them a lot of hope there in the first half. Their offense kind of controlled the ball. I think it was all three series that they scored on. That second half I was real proud of our guys. Usually when you give an offense a lot of hope like that and the confidence, it gets only harder. But our guys came out, I thought our coverages got tighter and we caught a couple more pressures too, which put a little pressure on them. But once that started happening, I thought every guy, everybody started making guys miss, making [Los Angeles Rams QB Matthew] Stafford get rid of the ball a little bit earlier. And I think it led to a couple turnovers.”


As a former receiver, what’s your thoughts on Los Angeles Rams WR Puka Nacua and how did you feel about the way you guys defended him in this last game?

“He was great. He’s a really good football player. We liked him a lot coming out of college. I think I compared him to [WR] Jauan [Jennings] a little bit last week. Just the energy he plays with, how tough he is, seeing him in person, he was a little bit bigger than I realized on tape, even though we knew he was big. But just the way he did it all game, the stamina he had, how hard he played and that’s why Stafford got a lot of confidence as he went. We gave him a little bit too much room. That’s why we had to tighten up as the game went on.”


Two questions on Brock Purdy. Just before halftime where there was one second left, should he have skid the ball at McCaffrey’s feet on that instead of sailing it?

“Hopefully, yeah. It did make us a little nervous. It was too good of a throwaway.”


Is he supposed to just throw it in the ground?

“No, you got throw it away to where you don’t get a penalty, so it’s got to pass the line of scrimmage and stuff like that. But it’s just when all you’re doing is watching that clock and hoping that they don’t screw you in any way. Especially being on the road, usually it goes to zero and then you got to have people look at it and put it back to one. But it was at one, I was just nervous that it was close enough that they were going to try to go to zero and see if the refs could correct it.”


On that same drive, the 20-yard completion to Jennings where he threw it and Jauan had his back to him still, has he progressed in that area as far as trusting those type of throws since his rookie year?

“No, I think he’s doing the same. It just depends on what type of game we’re in. That was a play that we usually to that spot last verse zone and you’re hoping that everyone’s covered everyone else, and you sneak this guy out the backside. We’ve done it a lot over the years. But they played man-to-man and the nickel followed him the whole time. So by the time Brock got to him, which he’s three in the progression, you’re trying to sneak him out there and you look to him, the ball’s got to go and he wasn’t man. So he gave a tight ball placement, gave him an opportunity and very similar to the opportunity he gave B.A. on the go route versus Pittsburgh. Those are 50/50 balls and both of our guys have come down with it this year.”


That play with six seconds, the second to last play. Is there a specific play that you have that you know is supposed to take only four or five seconds that you call for situations?

“Not a specific play, but there’s all types of plays. You just know you have the time for number one and if number one’s not there, don’t mess around. Those are ozone situations we call. It’s got to be out of bounds or in the end zone or the game’s over, or in that case the half’s over. And when your play’s not there, if you do it quicker, you get two shots. And that’s something we told him with all three plays.”


What kind of a challenge does New York Giants QB Daniel Jones present?

“Huge challenge. It starts with his legs. Anytime you have that speed and you can run the ball like he does. They’re willing to run him. He’s willing to run. He’s physical when he runs. He’s got the skillset to run away from people. So anytime you have a quarterback like that, the challenge that does just schematically, unlocking your defense and making you have to play a certain way is always a pain. And then he’s got the ability to play in the pocket and beat you that way too. So he’s getting better each year. We’ve all really loved him coming out and I think one of the main reasons he took them to the playoffs last year. He played really unbelievable there in that second half on Sunday.”


From a preparation standpoint, how tough is it Thursday? Do you just feel really rushed?

“Yes, you feel extremely rushed. I saw the players a few hours ago and it was the first time I saw them. I told them it was Wednesday morning and by the end of our first meeting, it was Thursday is kind of how we explained it. Tomorrow morning is Friday but by 10 o’clock it’s the day before the game. So, it’s weird. We’re throwing four days into two days, as a coaching staff we throw two days into one day. So it’s kind of a “something” show as we do it, but then it’s about retaining it when it slows down. We’ve got to put them all through it, the players. So we just throw it all at them, we go on and walk through it twice, we go watch it. Then it’ll slow down at night when they leave. But that’s usually about sleeping and catching up. Then tomorrow kind of when you get to the hotel it’s like now it’s normal even though it’s not. But now it’s Saturday night and slow it down a little bit. I always love that Thursdays are night games because I think it’s important on the day of the game to kind of review your whole week, which is the day before on all the stuff that came in so you don’t hesitate in the game.”


Hargrave made a play where it almost looked like he was going to take the handoff in the first half. Did he just beat a guy off the line or did he not block him and he had the impact that you’d hoped you have through two games?

“Yeah, he’s a problem. Stafford did a good job getting rid of the ball when he was there which I do think affects him and makes him rush it and makes you lose confidence as the game goes on how long you can hold onto it. But they just busted on their O-line and he shot the gap fast and he had a choice for the quarterback or the running back and he chose the wrong one. But he almost took the handoff, so it’s always tough in that situation, which one to pick.”


What do you guys like about CB Anthony Brown to sign him today?

“Just playing against him, his experience. We’ve had some injuries here, especially the DB position and stuff. We want to make sure that we have a guy ready to go in case we have some more. I loved him. We all loved him in Dallas. We know he has been here at Pittsburgh working with those guys and just feel fortunate to get him here right now.”


What’s your offensive line looking after the first two weeks in your opinion?

“Solid, good enough for us to win. But like every other position on our team, we’re still not there yet. Just trying to improve with each game we get.”


I know you wore his jersey, but have you seen any of University of Colorado Boulder Deion Sanders and how he’s doing? Do you have any thoughts on just what he’s done in this role as a head coach?

“Yeah, it has been fun to watch. It’s been really cool. You never know how it’s going to work out with them just going there and the whole transfer rules and stuff, which I don’t even understand. Hopefully I won’t ever have to. You don’t know how it’s going to work, but he is just fun to watch. Just everyone being such a fan of him growing up and then how cool he is now. But really what made it real was just watching their first game. That was the week before we started and I was actually just hanging out at the house and I got to watch them versus TCU and to watch how their team played was the coolest thing. Everyone knows how cool Deion is. But we always talk about the silent tape and how a team looks and to watch those dudes come out and battle and how hard they played and the confidence they had, that was what made it so fun to watch. And I’m from Colorado, my wife went there, best man at my wedding went there. I’m not a big fan of there. I’m a Longhorn. But they’re actually making some of us like CU right now. Even we got a lot of CSU guys in our office and last week they even admitted that CU is pretty cool right now. Then last week we finished, it was a night game, so when we were done with our meetings we had to see the fourth quarter in my hotel room, their backs were against the wall and they stepped it up and got it done. So it’s been cool to watch. Fun for sports and probably got the most hype team going on right now, so can’t get mad about that.”