Head Coach Kyle Shanahan Press Conference

Head Coach Kyle Shanahan

Press Conference – September 20, 2021

San Francisco 49ers

Listen to Audio I Media Center

 Opening Comments:

“Hey guys, injuries from the game: [DL] Kevin Givens had a high-ankle, he’ll be out for a while, same thing with [RB] JaMycal Hasty, high-ankle. [RB] Elijah Mitchell had a shoulder, he’s day-to-day. [RB] Trey Sermon’s in the concussion protocol. [DL] Arik Armstead had an adductor, it’ll be the same this week as it was last week with him. [DT] Javon Kinlaw, knee, we’ll have to manage him this week. [CB] Josh Norman had an ankle, he’s day-to-day. Hoping to get [CB Emmanuel] Moseley back this week.”

Given those running back issues, do you have to add somebody to the active roster? Will RB Kerryon Johnson be promoted?

“He’s got a chance to, he’s the one guy we have on practice squad now. I was just told we’re bringing in some other guys to work out. [RBs] Duke Johnson, T.J. Yeldon and Lamar Miller. But I just finished with the coaches and players and those are all the things that we’ll start discussing, but JaMycal is the only one that’s for sure out. Elijah and Trey have a chance, so we’ll how this week goes.”

Was there anything else with Trey Sermon’s neck at all or just concussion protocol?

“I was told just the protocol. I haven’t seen him personally, but our trainer said it was just concussion protocol. It was a scary one though.”

You mentioned yesterday that it’s good to win the two games back-to-back in the East, but you want to avoid a letdown and maybe that happened previously. Did you see that in those games? Do you consciously remember thinking, ‘okay, maybe this team let down a little bit in those games?’

“Yeah, I don’t think guys try to let down. I just think when you’re on the road for a couple of weeks, it feels like a grind when you’re out there doing it just being in a hotel every day. We all work long and stuff, but you still get to go home and go to sleep with your family and the players get to get out of here and usually have dinner at home and stuff like that. So, when you lose that for a couple of weeks, it just feels like you’re grinding so much. And I feel us going through it a number of times over the last few years, the experience of it, I’ve just felt we’ve almost seemed more tired the week we get back. And I don’t know if that’s human nature. I don’t know if it’s something with the science of the body clock or something like that, but that’s just how those weeks have felt. And then I felt like it’s carried over into the games that way. I just remember the Atlanta game, how important that game was for us. And no matter how hard throughout the week we kept trying to get going, we just seemed sluggish. Felt that way a little bit versus Pittsburgh the year before. Felt that way last year when we came back and played Philly at home after the Giants and Jets. So that’s just something, the three times that we’ve done it, that’s what we experienced. Hopefully it was just a fluke, but our experience on that makes me feel that way a little bit and that’s why we just try to be a lot more conscientious of how that has happened three times in a row. Sort of being more aware of it this time around.”

Is Javon Kinlaw’s knee sore today or is it just typical management that you’re going to be doing with it?

“It’s the same situation that he’s had. As you guys know, his knee has been bothering him, this was the first time this year we were able to get him to the game. And it’s just the fact that I didn’t hear he had any setbacks today. I heard he was in, I haven’t seen him personally, but I know he was pretty positive with it and he didn’t see anything get worse. I feel that’s a good sign, not a bad sign, but he’s not out of the woods at all yet. We’re still going to have to work throughout the week to keep making sure that it goes in the right direction like I feel like it is right now.”

Was the plan not to use QB Trey Lance against the Eagles or did the way the game unfold prevent you from inserting him for a few plays?

“No, I never have a plan that ‘Hey, I’m going to use him or I’m not going to use him.’ It’s always an option throughout the game. It’s been two games and I’ve never had him in the openers and I’ve never had him as a designated time. I plan on doing that week-to-week and whenever I feel like putting him in. You saw when I did in Week 1 and I never got that urge in Week 2.”

Do you get when people suggest that you do want to get Trey out there, just to make sure he gets snaps and maybe even some important snaps to make sure he’s ready down the line for if that time comes?

“Yeah, I understand every angle that people want to take with it. But I also understand that we’re an NFL team and we’re trying to win each game and we do have a starting quarterback and that usually makes it pretty simple. But when your backup quarterback does have a skillset that can bring different things to the game, that’s what gives him an option for us to do. He has something that someone has to prepare for week in and week out. And I think that’s an awesome club that we have in our bag that we can use at any time. But you don’t really make decisions based off your team of just putting a guy in totally just for how that is for him in the future. I think that’d be irresponsible to everybody else in the room. You do it if you think it gives you a chance based off of what’s going on in that game, that game only. In the meantime, yeah, it’s nice for a guy to get out there. But if it wasn’t because he was bringing a different element that we thought could help us with something that we’re going against, there’s no other reason that we would do it.”

I know he’s not eligible to come off IR yet, but how is DL Maurice Hurst coming along with his injury?

“I think he’s coming along well. I forget the date on it, there’s no setbacks. I know he’s not coming back this week. I’ve heard no setbacks and especially with Kevin going down to the same thing. I’m hoping to get him back as soon as we can.”

What did you learn from watching the video of yesterday’s game and what do you expect to learn the next couple of weeks? You’ve got the Green Bay Packers, Seattle Seahawks, and Arizona Cardinals, obviously with three really accomplished quarterbacks. What do you see in that stretch?

“Watching the film is similar to what I felt live. That was a real challenging game. They did some real good things offensively that I think our D stepped up and was able to stop. They had a number of big plays that our guys were able to recover from and keep them out of the end zone. I think on offense they made us work for every single yard that we earned. Tough game. I think this week will be similar. I don’t sit and try to base a season or anything like that off of a game. Each game tells a different story and you try to get your team ready for that going into the week. And you have an idea of how it’s going to be, but then that stuff unfolds throughout the game and you try to hope your team can handle any situation and your goal is to get better each week. I feel like we were better versus Philly than we were the week before versus Detroit. Hopefully we continue to get better and hopefully we’re better this week versus Green Bay.”

I’ve heard you say several times that rushing attempts is a huge number for you in terms of success. I’m curious if you could elaborate on that a little bit in what people mostly think of as a passing era?

“Just look at the stats throughout the league. I bet you see, and I haven’t done it yet, so I could be wrong, but I think that’d be a little unusual, but look at the teams who won games, look how many rushes they had, look at their opponent and how many rushes they had. Usually you run the ball more when you win the game. Maybe that’s because you have a lead. Maybe that’s because you got up to a big lead and you’re able to do it. You never know what the situation is, but usually when you get that many carries good things are happening throughout your whole team. That’s why when you look at 3.4 yards a carry, that’s never our goal at all. We’ve got much higher expectations than that, but if you can get 38 carries, usually those yards per carry don’t matter as much because you get 38 of them that means you’re on the field. It means you are somehow finding a way to move the chains, whether your defense is getting turnovers or you’re not turning it over. I think if you look at the history of football, I try to every week, I think that there’s a big stat for a football team.”

Obviously, it’s early, we are only two weeks in, but do you think the NFC West is the best division in football? I mean 7-1 to this point.

“I haven’t studied those guys yet, but I know the players that they have in our division. I know the coaches in our division. So, I’ve always felt it’s been right there, but that would just be a big statement for me without really doing it the right way and studying all 32 teams.”

QB Jimmy Garoppolo had a really challenging first half. Was there a turning point that kind of focused him in, dialed him in for a much better performance going forward?

“I think basically our whole offense was just that drive before the end of the half. We were off on a number of things, I know Jimmy missed a few throws early. Guys had a couple of drops early, they weren’t the easiest, but I think they should have caught a couple of those. But I think our whole offense was off a little bit. You go three and out the first three times you get out there, that can have guys pressing a little bit, but what was cool is we got that ball at the end of the half. I think there was about four and a half minutes left and your goal at that time, at least mine, you want to get out of there backed up because if you don’t you feel like you’re automatically giving them at least a field goal when they get the ball. But the goal is with four and a half minutes left, is there any way we can not give the ball back to them. And to be able to go all the way down the field there and kind of bleed the clock out and for it to end with a touchdown, not just a field goal, I thought that was a huge turning point. So, no matter how bad some things had gone and the fact that we hadn’t got anything going for those first three drives to finish with a 97-yard drive right before the end of the half, I think really gave our guys some confidence, some momentum going into the halftime and kind of calmed everyone down. Like, ‘alright, this is a pretty fun game.’ Because it was cool the atmosphere, just being in a stadium. We always want it to be our own fans, not making it harder because you can’t hear. But just the whole atmosphere of feeling a real NFL game. And that was tough that we had to fight for it. I think once you have some success then you kind of enjoy the grind. You realize how going through all that and then finally persevering gives you a little bit of confidence. And I think that let Jimmy and our whole offense and our whole team have a little more confidence in the second half.”

What were your impressions of the secondary and just your takeaways from their ability to stop some of those deep passes that the Eagles were trying?

“I thought they did a real good job, especially our safeties down the field. We were playing a lot of two-shell defense, trying to deal with some of the stuff with the threat of their running quarterback. And they got a couple of one-on-ones down the field where he just launched it. And that’s a tough situation for safeties to be with receivers who usually have a little more speed and more ball skills. But I think we’ve got two safeties back there as good as anyone at doing it. And [S Jaquiski] Tartt and [DB] Jimmie Ward the times that they got caught down the field, there was no panic, they didn’t PI the guy, they actually made plays on the ball and did a hell of a job.”

We’ve talked about Trey’s footwork. What do you think about Garoppolo’s footwork? Have you seen anything where he might not be stepping into some of these throws?

“I don’t mind guys not stepping into their throws, just not fading away. Jimmy, with the way he throws and the torque he has in his upper body, he’s almost just like a jug machine. He can sit there flat-footed and just throw completely from his core with the way his upper body turns and the way his hip turns. He can make almost every throw. I thought he did miss a little one on that out throw on the third down that was their first all-out blitz of the game. And he had to fade away from an unblocked guy. So, he didn’t really get everything into that. Which almost left a pick-six, which [WR] Deebo [Samuel] did a hell of a job breaking that up. But Jimmy, as far as his footwork, I think his is the most consistent, the best he’s been at it since I’ve been with him.”