Head Coach Kyle Shanahan Press Conference

Head Coach Kyle Shanahan

Press Conference – September 27, 2021

San Francisco 49ers

Listen to Audio I Media Center

Opening Comments:

“Alright guys, injuries from the game. [CB] Josh Norman had a lung contusion, he’s day-to-day, waiting to get further tests this week. [CB] K’Waun [Williams] had a calf strain, he’ll be out a few weeks. [TE] George Kittle has calf soreness, he’ll be day-to-day. [DT Javon] Kinlaw, same thing with the knee, we’ll continue to manage that again this week. [DL Arik] Armstead, adductor, same deal, continue to manage and that’s it.”

Did Josh Norman get released from the hospital? And just what was the level of concern with him? And you said that he’s day-to-day. Is there a possibility that he could be in uniform and play in Sunday’s game?

Yeah, there’s a possibility. He had some fluid in his lungs and I think that was the scare. And so, he had to go to the hospital, he’s back. He was in our meetings this morning. The way that goes, it’s not like concussion protocol, but he’s got a clear some imaging. He’s got to pass a CT scan to get to back to practice. And from what I’m told, that can take anywhere from one day to throughout the week. So, we’re just going to have to keep monitoring that each day as the week goes.”

It wasn’t obvious when it happened. Was there a hit? A helmet to the chest? Something like that that happened during the game?

“Yeah, I think it was on that 3rd-n-4 when he knocked that ball out over there by the pylon. I think the back put his helmet right in his chest and just got him in a sensitive area, it looked like.”

Just to confirm the report that’s out there, he has bruised lungs and then also had bleeding? He spit up a little blood, is that correct?

Yeah, he did spit up a little blood, which is correct. I don’t know what exact term anyone has said, but that’s the term I’ve been given by the doctors.”

After watching the film and going through the game last night, how do you feel about the way the team played and the way you managed the game?

“Similar to what I said last night, I think we’ve got to play a much cleaner game to beat some good players on the other side of the ball like they had. But I know how good of players we have too and our guys made a bunch of plays there at the end of the game to get us back into it on offense and defense. Had a big play on special teams. But there were too many times where we hurt ourselves just in some situational football. I thought we gave them too many opportunities. And that’s why we didn’t have enough to overcome it at the end.”

In each of these three games so far it seems like the defense in the fourth quarter, has made things a little tense, obviously. What do you want to see to get them playing maybe faster and more aggressive?

It’s a different answer on each play. You want to be able to finish the game. I know we struggled in the fourth quarter in two of those games. In this one, we had a couple of opportunities, but I think usually it comes down to third down and getting them off the field. We struggled a lot more, I thought, with that in the first half, giving up the two big ones on those two PIs. Happened once in the second half. But we’ve got to play more consistently and we had a number of guys going in and out in the secondary there, which I thought we settled down a little bit, but we’ve got to make sure those guys in the backup roles communicate with everyone and they’re prepared to play whatever position happens throughout that game.”

Is there anything in particular that you saw from the Green Bay Packers that stifled the run game or what happened in that first half?

“No, not really. We thought it went similar to how we thought it would go. They run the 3-4 defense or they have those stand-up backers on the outside. Sometimes having six guys on the line of scrimmage, it was a little tough sledding, similar to what we got last week. A little bit different style, the softer two-shell coverages. We thought it would be like that, especially in the first half. To me, we didn’t convert any third downs. So, we didn’t convert a third down until the big hit [WR] Deebo [Samuel] took over the middle was our first one when we were backed up. Went down and drove the ball pretty well for a while crossing the 50 until we got stopped on 3rd-n-1 in short yardage. But no, I think we’ve got to do a lot better on third down and then we will get more run opportunities. I know we were down some backs and that always does hurt. But we didn’t get the amount of opportunities we’d like to get.”

Did you consider going for that fourth down from the 3rd-n-1, you just talked about at the 49? And did that run dissuade you from potentially going for it?

“Yeah, definitely. That’s one I regret a ton. I knew the whole time that we had two downs there. Had that play called on the 3rd-n-1, and I knew I was going to the quarterback sneak you guys saw in the third quarter. I knew I was going to that on fourth down. But on the 3rd-n-1, I’m a little far away from him, watching him from behind and on the 3rd-n-1, they yelled something on the D-Line, which happens a ton. Going on the first sound, [C Alex] Mack snapped it before our quarterback snapped it based off the defensive call. So, he was the only one to move and no one was quite ready. I thought we lost a yard and a half on the play. So, I definitely didn’t want to call the call that I had on 4th-n-2, but I’ve been looking over and [RB] Trey Sermon did a good job of getting back to the line of scrimmage. And I should’ve stayed with my original feeling.”

As far as the cornerback situation, do you feel comfortable? Is CB Dre Kirkpatrick ready to play? Do you feel comfortable with CB Ambry Thomas playing as well? And then might you still might need to add a corner if K’Waun’s out for a bit?

“Yeah, that stuff we’ll discuss this afternoon. I really just finished with the players, but we have to be comfortable with whoever we have on the roster. And when you get there, whether it’s running back or whether it’s corner, it’s next man up. The good thing about Dre is he has been in this league for a while and he’s been a number of places and I’ve really enjoyed what I’ve seen from him these last two weeks since he’s been here. But losing K’Waun for a few weeks, possibly Josh Norman, I know that’s stuff [general manager] John [Lynch] and everyone upstairs is working on all day and we’ll discuss that later tonight.”

QB Jimmy Garoppolo spoke after the game about the balance between having the defense on their heels and then also kind of slowing the offense down on that final drive. Do you have any thoughts about that?

“Do you mean scoring with time on the clock?”

Yes. Like leaving them 37-ish seconds.

“Yeah, totally. That’s why we worked really hard to not use any time outs that entire drive. We wanted to run it down. No one wants to give it back to [Green Bay Packers QB] Aaron [Rodgers]. I’m also not going to tell Juice to not try and score. You try to dictate that with some play calling. I thought we had a choice route called, which is a five-yard in-route or out-route based off of leverage by [WR Mohamed] Sanu [Sr.]. And if he’s not open, you’re just going to go hit it to Juice on your checkdown. Usually check downs, at the best, are about a five-yard gain, but Juice ran a hell of a checkdown and then ran over two people to score. So we had three timeouts, so I’m not telling Jimmy to run it down yet. You want to get that under 30 seconds and inside the 10-yard line and then you can control it with your own three timeouts. But the only other option would have been to tell Juice not to score, which is something that you wouldn’t do. It took us seven plays in the second quarter to score from inside the 11. Five plays from the one to score. So, you want to make sure that you get those plays and everything, but we definitely weren’t expecting the score on that play.”

I’m not sure if you mentioned RB Elijah Mitchell, but where is he in his recovery?

“He’s just continuing to rehab. I know he couldn’t go this week. I’m hoping that it’s better signs this week.”

Was there anything that you were looking more for from the running backs that you picked up? RB Kerryon Johnson? The guys that didn’t have any carries yesterday? Is there something that you’re more looking forward to see from them?

“No, they didn’t get a chance in the game. We didn’t have a ton of runs in the game, which doesn’t have to do with them not running it, it has to do with, we didn’t get a lot of runs called. We had a lot of RPOs that we threw instead of run plays. We didn’t do that great on third down in the first half, which eliminates some of your runs. We never got going long enough to where our starting running back was tired or anything and had to come out. So that’s really how the game would have played out if anybody was in. If [RB] Raheem [Mostert] was in, he would have gotten the majority of the caries. If Elijah was in, he would’ve gotten it. Trey was in and he did get the majority, which I think was 10. But we didn’t run the ball as much as we usually do. And we’re also not trying to bring in every single new person to feature them. You do that when you need to.”

And then looking at Trey Sermon, how can you assess his performance after taking a look at the film?

“I thought it was good for him in terms of I think it was really his first NFL game. His first play was versus Philly and we know what happened on that. So that was a tough one. So him being able to get back in there, really have his first game. Did some good, some bad. I thought his best run of the game was that 2nd-n-3 where we had an unblocked guy in the backfield. It was the opening drive of our third quarter. We missed the nose guard on 2nd-n-3 and should’ve been about 3rd-n-6, 3rd-n-7 and he got it back to 3rd-n-1, which allowed us to run the quarterback sneak the next play which led us on a drive to get it back to 17-14. Thought that was a hell of a run. But each game that he plays, the more he goes and I expect him to continue to get better and better.”

Green Bay Packers LB Preston Smith laid a pretty big hit on Jimmy. Was that on T Trent Williams or was that supposed to be a free rusher?

“No, yeah that was on Trent. He got confused with where the center was going and the center was going to that side. So, he ended up squeezing a play he shouldn’t of squeezed. Left 91 unblocked.”

I’m not trying to create a WR Trent Sherfield snap count controversy, but you had talked about how one of the reasons WR Brandon Aiyuk wasn’t playing as much was due to Sherfield’s performance. Why did he just play two snaps on offense last night?

“I didn’t think we had that many long drives. And when we did, we went with single receiver, sometimes being in 22 and 13 personnel. I thought he would play a lot more. I tell guys what to do before the game, but I don’t keep up with the rotation. I wanted to make sure to keep Aiyuk fresh. And [wide receivers coach] Wes [Welker] thought Aiyuk was fresh enough without being out there on too many long drives so he didn’t put Trent in as much. And he did a hell of a job on special teams for us too.”

Are you expecting DL Maurice Hurst back to practice this week?

“Yeah, we are, we’re expecting him back. Hope to get him Wednesday and hope to get [CB] Davonte Harris on Wednesday also.”

In terms of a pass rush, DL Nick Bosa talked about getting chipped by the running backs and tight ends a lot. What’s going on the other side, when that’s taking place? Are you guys not getting that pass rush from the other people as well?

“It depends on the play. If we wanted to see more pass rush, I think we’ve got to get them to hold onto the ball a little bit longer. I think the way to do that is to have them in a lot more 3rd-n-longs. And I thought they got way too much leaky yardage in the game to where I thought we had a run held for two yards, but they found a way to get four or five. Some of the RPOs that they hit on the side, I thought we had a way to stop them for one to two and they ended up getting about six. You get some of that stuff and they’re not going to hold on to the ball very long. And when guys don’t hold on to the ball very long, the pass rush is pretty ineffective. And when they did, they did get some chips, some were on Bosa. Some were on both sides, but that’s really a group effort that all the guys have got to do better and so does the coverage.”