Head Coach Kyle Shanahan Press Conference

Head Coach Kyle Shanahan

Press Conference – September 28, 2020

San Francisco 49ers

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Opening comments:

“I’ll start with injuries first. [TE] Jordan Reed ended up having a knee sprain. He’ll be out a while. He’ll go on short term IR. [CB Emmanuel] Moseley is in the concussion protocol. [RB Jerick] McKinnon, rib contusion, day-to-day and [LB Mark] Nzeocha had a quad strain. He’ll most likely go on the short-term IR also. [CB] K’Waun [Williams] had some hip discomfort. We’re looking into it right now. We’ll see how he is on Wednesday. As far from the other guys who didn’t play: [DL] Dee Ford, no issues. I mean, nothing’s changed. Dealing with the same stuff there. Don’t expect to have him this week. [QB Jimmy] Garoppolo, same thing. We’ll see how he is on Wednesday. [LB Dre] Greenlaw, quad contusion. Still don’t plan on having him this week. [TE George] Kittle, we’ll see how he is on Wednesday. [RB Raheem] Mostert and [CB Ahkello] Witherspoon, also in the same boat. Go ahead.”

In addition to just what happened on the field, what did you guys gain from that week away? Do you feel like it brought your team together? What was some of the benefits of being away for that long?

‘Yeah, last year was the first time doing that for me personally and for our team since we’ve been here. I thought it was a similar feeling of last year. It’s nice to go to an away game. When it ends, you go to a hotel and you kind of get to hang out that night instead of everyone leaving the game and going home. Spent Monday and Tuesday together and kind of just got to stay in a hotel all week where I think it is good for comradery. Players get to spend a little more time together, especially with the shorter training camp, not having an offseason with the quarantine and everything. I thought it was even more important for us this year. Being at a place like we were at the Greenbrier, that was a great spot. Think it made it more fun for the players, too, and I think it’s helped us.”

You’ve had several players make contributions this year who didn’t play, QB Nick Mullens in this case, barely played at all last season. How unusual is that and what does it say about them to be able to do that, especially with the limited offseason, no exhibition games and all that?

“It’s something that’s, I mean, it happens every year in the NFL and that’s why your team changes throughout a year. It’s never the same at the end of the year as it is at the beginning. It’s usually different in the middle. It’s a very violent sport, so there’s always a lot of turnover. I do feel like we’ve had a little more than usual this year, but that’s also why a lot of those guys, like Nick and stuff, had had some playing time. They have been in there before. Guys like [TE] Ross Dwelley who got to play a lot. That’s how [OL Justin] Skule and [OL Daniel] Brunskill got their starts last year when, I think they had about four games, when we lost our tackles and stuff. That’s why [RB] Jeff Wilson [Jr.], it wasn’t his first time out there. So, I think we’ve been in that situation where guys have gotten some opportunities. I think we had a little bit of better luck last year than the year before, but it was good for those guys to get out there again and I thought, for the most part, they all played better.”

I know you said short-term IR for Jordan Reed. What was his disappointment level just kind of given all he’s been through to finally be back and then have this? Also, how do you think he played over the first few weeks?

“I think he played great. I was really happy with Jordan. Got a little late start with us and especially in a short offseason, eased him in there the first game, but did great in his 10 plays that he got. I thought he was one of the best players on the field in the second game and he was coming out strong in this game and he was going to be a huge part of that. Had an unfortunate injury, recovered from the ankle there in the end zone, but ended up spraining his MCL, I believe, when he came back for the catch that he hit where they got him a little bit low on. I know he’s disappointed, but not discouraged. I think he was really liking where he was at. It’s something that’s going to take some time, just what they say, probably six to eight weeks, which does take time. So, I know he’s disappointed in that, but nothing that’s going to affect him after that. He’ll hit his rehab hard and hopefully we can weather the storm while he’s gone and he’ll come back to a good team.”

Is WR Deebo Samuel going to be activated for Wednesday’s practice? If so, what is his mood and mindset been like during these last few weeks?

“Oh yeah, we should get him out there at practice Wednesday. I know he’s been chomping at the bit to get back. I know he’s really made a lot of progress here in these last 14 days, so I know he’s pumped to practice. I know he’s pumped to play. We’ll see how he is. I know he’s conditioned right. I know he’s healthy. I know he’s feeling good, but Wednesday will be his first time in a football practice since Super Bowl week of last year. So, we’ve got to take that into account also. We’ll see how he goes and how he does in these three days and then we’ll evaluate that at the end of the week.”

In the game, you used WR Brandon Aiyuk very similar to what you’ve done with Deebo Samuel. Did you see that from him? Is that kind of what you pictured doing with him before you drafted him?

“You don’t take guys just to hand the ball off to them. The same thing with Deebo, but when they are physical runners, when they have the speed to do it and they compete while doing it, it’s always a good bonus. Deebo’s someone who is as good as I’ve been around at doing that last year. Aiyuk showed that a lot in his college tape, whether it was just catching the ball and running after the catch or getting some handoffs. He’s been really good in practice with us so far too. It’s good to have a few guys out there you can choose to do it and do it with, and I think we have more than just those two also.”

LS Kyle Nelson had probably the worst game of his career. Did you get a chance to talk to him and what’s the situation with him after Sunday?

“Oh yeah. I got a chance to talk to him a little bit today. I know how down Kyle is. I knew how down he was. He just came up to me today and just apologized and stuff. It was an unfortunate game for him. Kyle’s had an unbelievable career. He’s been a great 49er. He’s been a great teammate. I’ve loved Kyle in these three years that I’ve gotten to know him and he’s been great for us. So, I know it was a really bad day. I just told him that, you know, fortunately it didn’t cost us anything. It wasn’t an issue in the game because of how the rest of the game went. We were able to still get a W, but he understands this business. He understands how the league works and we’re going to bring in some guys tomorrow, work them out. We’ll see how they look and then we’ll decide what’s the best for us going forward.”

A day later, going through the game film, looking at what Nick was able to accomplish, how did he do? To the naked eye, it looked pretty darn good, but how did it look when you kind of dove into it?

“I think pretty much how it looked to you guys. He was very efficient and made all the plays that were there and then made a number of plays that weren’t there. Extended a few, had a few big third downs, a few big second and longs. He kept us on the field for a while and played tough and I was very impressed with him. Each time I watch it, I feel stronger about that.”

Do you have any sort of an update on Dee Ford? I know last week you had indicated he probably wasn’t going to play this week.

“Yeah, no, same issue. He’s not going to play this week and we should decide in the next few days whether to put him on short-term IR or not, but we haven’t decided yet. We’ll see how that goes here in the next few days.”

When people see an O-Lineman like Skule come in and handle the long snapping, they ask, ‘Why can’t he just do that regularly and save a roster spot?’ Is there a big difference in velocity between a long snapper and somebody who’s doing it in an emergency basis like Skule?

“No, I know that would help a lot. For one, he did a great job on his snap. That isn’t my area of expertise, but I don’t think he’s one of the top 32 long snappers in the world, which you need to be in order to have that job. Also, it’s tough when your long snapper’s there, if he is playing O-Line and everything. O-Linemen have a much higher chance of getting hurt and everything. It’s tough enough to lose an O-Lineman, you don’t want to lose an O-Lineman and a long snapper. So, you try to keep those guys just at those positions because it’s very hard to function when you do lose those guys. I would guess that’s the reason.”

Two questions, one following up on Ford. Do league rules allow you to retroactively put guys on IR if they miss games? So, they only have to miss one going forward, I guess, if they’ve already missed two? Something like that?

“No, once you decide, it’s three from there. Yeah, so it wouldn’t count for Dee Ford so far, if that’s what you’re asking.”

My initial question is what was Jimmy’s capacity last week at practice? He didn’t practice, obviously, but what was his rehab like?

“I think he had a good week. We thought maybe he had a slight chance at the end of the week to come out there and see how he could do on Friday and we didn’t get to that point. We’ll see how it is this week. I know he’s doing a lot better now than he did last week, but I’m still not sure about Wednesday. I know he needs these two days to keep rehabbing and we’ll evaluate it then.”

Asking you to look ahead, while looking back a little bit. The last time you played the Eagles in 2017 was a rough game. A lot of injuries, not too dissimilar from that Jets game, other than the result, of course. What do you remember about that game and how much did that game and the way you reacted to it maybe kind of shape the way you handle these types of situations you’re going through now?

“That was a game I’ve tried to forget. That was a very miserable game. We lost a ton of people in there. I think we were having guards play tackle at the end of that game. I think we lost [former San Francisco 49ers WR] Pierre [Garçon] to IR. I think he broke his neck that game. It was a rough game, not a very fun one. I do remember the next morning, I believe, was the day we traded for Jimmy. I think, if I remember correctly. But, what I know is when you think back to that game, is how much work we’ve done since then. I think we’re a much different team now. I think we’ve improved a lot. I think a lot of guys who did play that day and stuff are guys who also help us now too. I mean, not all of them, but there are a number of guys from the original group that are still around here helping us in some way. So, I think that’s just part of the journey that we had to get to where we’re at.”

You had mentioned, I think last week, that RB Tevin Coleman might be out four weeks with his knee sprain. Is that still the rough prognosis for him?

“Yes, it is.”