Head Coach Kyle Shanahan Press Conference

Head Coach Kyle Shanahan

Press Conference – September 8, 2021

San Francisco 49ers

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Opening comments:

“Injuries for practice today. [DL] Kevin Givens hip, [WR Jalen] Hurd knee, [DT Javon] Kinlaw knee, [CB Emmanuel] Moseley knee. [QB] Trey Lance is limited and everyone else is full.”

What can Trey do? Can he take snaps yet? Can he throw the ball?

“I think so. Yeah, we’ll see out there today. But yeah, he should be able to do everything. We’ll see how he feels when he does it though.”

Are you expecting him to be available for Sunday?

“I’m not sure yet. We’ll see how practice goes today. We haven’t been able to do anything live yet. He can do it on air, but that’ll be decided off of Wednesday, Thursday, Friday.”

Is it day-to-day with Moseley?

“I’m hoping he can be available on Sunday, but he was not good enough to go today. So hopefully he’ll be better tomorrow, but I’m holding out hope for the game.”

Kinlaw and Hurd are those just flare ups of what they’ve been dealing with in the past?

“Yeah, it seems to be stuff they’ve been dealing with. I think Hurd’s is a little worse than Kinlaw’s. I expect Kinlaw to be out there tomorrow. I’m hoping he will be. I’m not sure about Hurd.”

If Moseley can’t go, what do you have to consider there to fill that cornerback spot?

Well, we got a couple of options on practice squad guys we could pull up. And I also think the five guys that we do have on our roster, they all should be healthy and available too. This will be [CB] Josh’s [Norman] second practice, so we’ll see how he goes throughout the week. Whether he feels comfortable with learning the stuff and where he is physically with just not being in camp very long. So, all those guys are a possibility though.”

How much of a challenge is it to bring him up to speed quickly to the point where he could play 65 snaps? Is that something where he has to learn a lot or is it more physical?

“I think it’s both. I think you’ve always got a chance with a veteran like Josh who has played in some similar systems, but not at all the same. So it is a huge challenge, but you don’t learn everything in one week, but you learn, with a vet like him, what you can do to get by and to not have busts. But also being in football shape is a big deal too. No matter how hard these guys work and come prepared, it takes some time to get in football shape to handle a whole game. He had a good day Monday and we’ll check him out the rest of this week.”

Is Jalen Hurd an IR possibility just to give him some more time?

“Yes, he is.”

I know you’ve said that you don’t have to name a quarterback until you have to, is QB Jimmy Garoppolo the starting quarterback Sunday?

“I’m not going to answer that because I feel like all you guys have to do is look how I’ve talked since July 27th, I think that was my opening day of press conference. I almost wish I wasn’t being hardheaded with it, but I feel like you guys are being a little hard headed to keep asking. I feel like I’ve already answered it, so we’ll keep it at that.”

You said earlier that you were kind of hoping there was more, I think maybe more competition or more movement. Has it been pretty status quo? 

“Yeah, I never said that they were competing. I’ll always said that when one guy we think gives us a better chance to win, we’ll never hesitate to make that decision. When you look at a rookie quarterback, I don’t think anything has been consistent. I think it’s been up and down, some good, some bad. And it’s also kind of exactly what you expect too.”

Is there any sense of relief to finally get this underway? We’ve been talking about this for months, now you’re finally going to play a game?

“Oh yeah definitely. It’s going to be a long how many ever days are left too. You wait all year for these games and only 17 of them are guaranteed, so it’s a little different. I feel like that’s what’s cool about football is you practice all the time, but there’s not 100 games. Each one is such a big deal and you put so much into it and it’s only three hours. So you’ve got a lot to work on, so much stuff you got to practice and only half of it comes up in the game. So there’s lots of things to go through and lots of anticipation. Anxiety can go with that, but all you’re hoping is you just prepare the best you can. And everyone can’t wait for kickoff because you want to shut off that mind and go and that’s real easy when you feel prepared.”

Have you named captains yet? 

“Yeah, we named them today. We’ve got seven; [LB] Fred Warner, Jimmy Garoppolo, [TE] George Kittle, [DB] Jimmie Ward, [T] Trent Williams, [DL] Arik Armstead and [RB] Raheem Mostert.”

You said last week it doesn’t get real until Wednesday. What is the hope for Trey in terms of number of plays you’re hopeful for Sunday in terms of the package? Do you have a specific number in mind right now?

Yeah, I hope he’s healthy enough to be in uniform. That’s my hope right now.”

The Lions look pretty different this year than they have in recent years, obviously not much that you’re able to look at other than preseason games with this particular personnel grouping but what do you see from them so far? 

“You can see the personality of their team. They’re playing hard in all three of those games. They didn’t play their starters much, just like a lot of teams didn’t, but whoever was out there, they were playing very tough. So, you know they’re a team that’s committed to playing the right way. I know they’ll be a huge challenge this week, but there’s always unknown in the first regular season game for everybody. Especially when you have a new staff, new coordinators, things like that and they do have a lot of turnover. So a lot of the players that you watch in the preseason, some of them aren’t on their teams still. And last year there’s a lot of turnover. So, you go off what you have and you have to be ready for everything and ready to adjust.”

With a player who receives medical clearance. Do you ever get the, ‘Yeah, you can suit him up, but don’t use him as much as you might ordinarily’ or as much as you would want to?

“Yeah. You get that. You get everything from the doctors, they tell you pretty black and white. With any player, ‘He’s full go. He can do everything. He’s not going to get hurt any worse, so he can do this stuff, but he’s going to struggle in this area.’ So you take that all into account and that’s what makes you decide on whether guys dress or not and also makes you decide on how you play guys too.”

How about you coach as you were headed to work today, do you mentally ramp up just a little bit more on installation day?

“A little bit. It was nice to be back in our normal team meeting room. We’ve been in an auditorium the last couple of years with all the distancing and how many people we had to fit in there. So, it was nice to be a little bit closer to where you could look people in the eye and see guys and I didn’t have to use a microphone, which was nice. So it had been two years since I had done that. So that was fun today. But anytime you go in and install and it’s Week 1, it’s definitely a lot different than installing in the preseason.”

How about you coach as you were headed to work today, do you mentally wrap up just a little bit more on installation day?

“A little bit. It was nice to be back in our, normal team meeting room. We’ve been in an auditorium the last couple of years with all the distance in and how many people we had to fit in there. So, it was nice to be a little bit closer to where you could look people in the eye and see guys and I didn’t have to use a microphone, which was nice. So it had been two years since I had done that. So that was fun today. But anytime you go in an install and it’s Week 1, it’s definitely a lot different than installing in the preseason.”

How about DL Nick Bosa and DL Dee Ford going into this week? How do they look? Will they be limited or on a pitch count so to speak?

“I don’t plan on having a pitch count with guys. You plan on guys, who you don’t play every single play and use them in packages, but there’s only so many people up on game day. So the numbers are never set in stone. You have goals with how many times you plan on being in personnel groupings and stuff like that, but it’s not like the preseason where you say this guy has eight plays and he’s out or this guy has 15. It’s whatever you have to do to win the game and what you have with your eligibles and packages. But those guys have been on pace to get to this game and play at a high level. And I love how they’ve looked in training camp. And hopefully they’ll continue, have three good days of practice, and have a good game on Sunday.”

When you made the commitment to Warner financially based on his standard of play, is he at a former 49ers LBs Patrick Willis or NaVorro Bowman level at this point? Do you think he’s ascending to that? Where do you see him right now?

“I wasn’t here with those guys. I played against them. I think they’re all different types of players, but Fred’s as good of a linebacker to me as all those guys you’re comparing. Those guys did it for a long time and Fred’s done it, to me, every year he’s been in the league and I think he continues to get better each year. Also when you’ve got a guy of Fred’s character and the way he works you’re paying him because he’s earned it, but you’re also paying for what you think he’s going to do going forward. And Fred’s a guy I see getting better all the time and having a hell of a career.”

When you got OL Laken Tomlinson, obviously it wasn’t a great start for him in Detroit, it’s why he was traded. Did you initially meet him and say, ‘wow this guy’s actually pretty good this is why he was drafted in the first round or has it been more of a steady improvement since he’s been here?

“I think it’s been a real good improvement since he’s gotten here. Laken, I remember evaluating him hard coming out of college and I think everyone had a pretty good idea he was going to go in the first or second round because he was such a talented player. You can ask him about Detroit and the situation, but just some of the stuff that he was doing there he didn’t seem as good of a player as he is here. And I don’t know if it was a scheme fit or what or if he’s just got more confidence here. I remember we made that trade about six days or seven days before our Week 1 start and I think he was starting by Week 2. He’s played a lot of games for us. He’s been able to stay healthy and I think he’s gotten better each year too, so we’ve been very fortunate to have him.”

 Last year there was piped in crowd noise, now you’re going to have a full season back to normal. How much do you enjoy that and do the guys feed off that and silencing a road crowd when you guys do well? 

“It’s a lot more fun. You can feel the energy, you don’t have to have as much fake energy. On the road, I don’t mind it being silent to tell you the truth. But we have to earn that, we can’t go in expecting it like we had last year.”

Going back to CB Josh Norman, what did you see from him that made you think he’d be a good fit? 

“Just played against him a bunch. So I’ve got a ton of respect for how talented he is, but I’ve got a ton of respect for how he plays the game. He’s a guy who has never shied away from tackling. He has no problem going up there and jamming guys. He’s a smart player who’s hard to get the big play on. And just the way he’s competed wherever he’s been. Started in Carolina to Washington, I was watching him a lot of tape on him at Buffalo last year and I’m pumped to have him here.”

Some of your players and even your coaches have mentioned how often optimistic or how good they feel this offseason/training camp. I know you’re the head coach, you don’t want to get too far ahead of yourself, but how do you feel about this team building?
“I feel great about our team. I felt really good about our team the last three years going in each season. And you have different results every year. I feel great about our team. I think that’s all you can ask the chance for. How you work in the offseason, what your organization does for the team, putting the team together that you just have a chance to compete. And you’ve got a chance to compete and I don’t think every team can say that. There’s a number of teams that do. But that’s what I’m grateful for this year. And I also know that it means nothing though, just you can feel confident, you can feel great, but you know what NFL seasons are like and that changes every single day. And you know how long of a grind it is. So you try not to get too excited or too high on something or too low on something because all that’s going to matter is Sunday for three hours. And I know there’s a lot of talk and a lot of things that go into all the time in between, but that’s why it’s our job to really not get caught up in that because however you feel doesn’t mean anything. It’s what you put on tape on Sunday.”

How do you look at Jimmy Garoppolo’s confidence going into this opener as compared to the past few years?

“I think I said it at the beginning, from OTAs to training camp and I feel that’s continued. Jimmy has had as sharp of an offseason as he’s had since I’ve been around him. And I feel that, he feels that, I think our team feels that. And so, I feel he’s in as good of a spot as he has been going into a season.”

What do you tell him as far as if you were to rotate Jimmy out and bring Trey in? What’s your advice to him just as far as to stay really engaged? Some quarterbacks say they can get out of rhythm, is it just study the defense?

“That’s something that I’d like to tell him how to handle it, but I’ve personally never been in that position and handled it. He’s the one who’s got to go through it. So I just try to be as honest with him with everything so he’s never surprised or caught off-guard by anything. I think if I ever surprised him with stuff, the last thing I’d want to do is rattle him in a game or make him surprised on something that could get him out of his element to compete and do everything he’s supposed to do. So, just having the relationship with him where we can be honest about everything and he always understands at least where I’m coming from I think goes a long way.”

As far as Hurd, it seemed like he came out of that Las Vegas Raiders game well. Was it tendonitis that started to build up in the knee during the week?

“Yeah, we felt pretty good going out of the Raiders game with just how long he was able to play and get through it. But, it was hurting him three days later when we tried to practice again and gave him the weekend off and it was hurting again Monday and just coming in here today just realizing that we’ve got to re-evaluate this and shut him down for a little bit.”