Head Coach Kyle Shanahan Press Conference

Head Coach Kyle Shanahan

Press Conference – December 1, 2021

San Francisco 49ers

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 Opening comments:

“[RB JaMycal] Hasty, ankle, limited. [DL] Maurice Hurst, calf, limited. [DL Nick] Bosa won’t practice, just a rest day. [LB] Fred Warner, hamstring, won’t practice. [RB] Elijah Mitchell, won’t practice, just a rest day. [RB] Trey Sermon, ankle, won’t practice. [LB Dre] Greenlaw, groin, won’t practice. [LB] Marcell [Harris] is in the protocol. [WR] Deebo [Samuel], groin, won’t practice. [C Alex] Mack, just a rest day, won’t practice and [T] Trent Williams, rest day.”

With Hasty and Hurst, is there a chance that they can play on Sunday?


Any WR Mohamed Sanu Sr. update?

“No, I don’t have one.”

As far as Fred, he’s so prominent out there at practice, before games as a sort of an energy guy and as a leader. This will be the first game he’s missed. Are you curious who’s going to kind of step up in those areas for your team?

“Yeah, I think it will be [LB] Azeez [Al-Shaair]. Fred’s a leader, but on game day it’s not like the big pump-up speeches or anything, it’s how he does his job on the field. And Fred’s the leader out there because he’s the quarterback of the defense. He gets the calls, he gets everyone lined up being the MIKE linebacker and this week that’ll be Azeez, who I think is more than ready for it.”

What do you make of the Seahawks struggles, offensively? It’s a team that you’ve played a lot of games with, but it looks like a very different version of them right now.

“I know it’s a matter of time with them, they’ve done it before. They’ve got a lot of good players there, some competitive guys. I know their coaching staff too is a good coaching staff. People go through it, especially when your quarterback misses some time. You have different guys in there, it takes a while to get that continuity. But even though they struggled on Monday night, just like typical Seattle fashion, you saw how they almost won the game too. It took stopping the two-point conversion, having an illegal formation on the onside kick, so it really doesn’t matter how they’ve been, you know it’s always going to come down to the wire.”

You’ve talked a lot about Bosa’s physical abilities and things he does in terms of getting himself in shape and all that stuff. On the mental side of things, how have you seen him grow, maybe just in terms of the way he attacks opposing offensive tackles?

“I think Nick’s one of the smarter players I’ve ever been around. He’s extremely talented. But just the detail, he looks into everything. If you ever sit and listen to him and Trent Williams just have a conversation about one pass rush move. I mean, I barely can see it all and then you hear them talk about 25 different things that happened in three seconds. And you see the technical stuff that he’s always on, so the more he goes against guys, the more he studies tape, not everyone’s like that, but he soaks in a lot and he applies to his game, which has been real impressive.”

When you have a guy like Deebo, do you have Deebo-specific plays or the carry over, say to this week, is it just like you guys have people who can do the same things, but maybe they play different positions or what have you?

“Yeah. It’s usually like that. You give plays to whoever can do them. However, which way. Whether, it works in the pass game and the run game that way, but some stuff you guys have seen Deebo do, [TE] George [Kittle] has done that before. Not as much, but we’ve had [WR Brandon] Aiyuk do it before. If you think it’s effective, then you do it.”

When you guys get on a win streak like this, how do you approach it in terms of keeping them humble, but also trying to appreciate and carry over the positive momentum?

“I think our guys are pretty humble. We’re not sitting here, we’re one game over .500. They don’t need me to tell them that. This league, it’s different each week. We don’t look at it as we just arrived. We look at it as we’ve done right three weeks in a row. We just look at it that way and we know where we have been at times this year, especially losing the amount in a row that we did. Whether it’s young guys, sometimes you can worry about that because you learn through your life experiences and sometimes people don’t get that until the NFL. I think our young guys learned how bad the NFL is when you lose. And I think some of them are seeing how much better life is coming to work and everything when you win. And it’s good that they can learn that and everyone else who has been here I think already knows that.”

Azeez has come through with big plays, like the last two games. Has his ascent been a gradual one in your eyes or has something just clicked in lately or how would you describe it?

“Azeez in college or even when he got here, I thought Azeez was always a kind of a splash player. Anybody who runs without hesitation and is very physical and is running through people and doesn’t hesitate, those guys make plays. Now, sometimes they mess up plays too, because they’re out of control. So I always think Azeez has made some plays for us, but I think the more reps he’s gotten in these few years, taking a starter role. I think him making mistakes, he’s got a lot less and the more that happens, the more confidence you get, and that’s why he’s playing at his best when he is doing those things.”

George talked about just how Deebo has been everything for this offense and the mismatches he creates just by defenses not knowing what you’re going to do. Given how effective he’s been as a runner and just creating those mismatches, do you feel like you have to find a new recipe to create that?

“Yeah, usually you have to find a new recipe almost every week, but regardless of what you do, people are usually going to be able to stop it. And Deebo was still able to break a few big runs here three weeks in a row. But regardless of who breaks it, whether it’s Deebo, it’s not some real trick. It’s real good blocking and having a good runner who’s got a chance to break a tackle and make an explosive, not just six-yard gain. I think Elijah has done a pretty good job of that. And I think we’ve got some guys who are capable and the more big plays you get, the easier it is to win.”

Does the MIKE always wear the green dot?

“On our team, he does.”

So, regardless of who it is and what’s the purpose behind that?

“It has to be someone who doesn’t come off the field. People who play with a lot of DBs they usually give it to a safety, but it has to be a guy doesn’t come off the field.”

It seems like LB Demetrius Flannigan-Fowles could have a big role on Sunday too. What’d you guys like about him coming out and as far as converting him from safety to linebacker, what were you kind of seeing in him?

“When you’re looking at a draft, you have to see where you can get guys. And he was a guy who was a later round safety. And he didn’t go, he wasn’t drafted, we got him as a free agent. It was [New York Jets head coach Robert] Saleh and [defensive coordinator] DeMeco [Ryans] just looked at him as they thought he had the capability to play linebacker. The style he played at, knew it would take him a couple of years, so we tried to beef him up a little bit, teach him the ropes at linebacker. And we put a lot of time into him, just from a coaching standpoint and he’s been great here. He’s had some setbacks with some injuries, especially in 2019, I believe it was his biggest one. But he knows how to run the defense inside and out. He’s been good in his pass game and as he’s gotten bigger, he’s learned how to play inside the box.”

I feel like there’s almost a morphing of safeties and like SAM linebackers, it feels like a lot of those guys have some of the similar responsibilities and some of those guys switch positions. Do you feel like that’s happened over the last few years in the NFL?

“Yeah. It’s all cyclical, 3-4 defenses are very interchangeable. If you go back and watch old games of some of these defenses and you see it’s not much different than now. Especially with some of the 3-4 teams and the stuff they’re doing. I think when you have four-down lines, it’s harder to change stuff up, but you see less of those. You need a lot of different packages and the more packages offensive guys do, the more packages defensive guys do. Some years more than others.”

What’s your confidence level with your cornerbacks, CB Josh Norman and CB Emmanuel Moseley going against Seattle Seahawks WRs D.K. Metcalf and Tyler Lockett this week?

“I know it’s a huge challenge. Those are two really good receivers and you’ve just got to make sure it’s not just those two versus each other. Most corners, if you just go out and it’s one-on-one all day, I don’t care what the receiver is, they should eventually get you. So he’s got to make sure that they compete, go hard against them. We have a good pass rush. We mix it up in coverage and try to confuse the quarterback a little bit, not give him the time when he has the good looks and when he does have the good look, you have to make sure you come down with a few.”

You mentioned when your dad was the offensive coordinator here, he sat and watched all the Hall of Fame head coach Bill Walsh installation tapes. Have you done that?


How long did that take?

“I think it took him like the first three months in the hotel building. I did it, things have changed a little bit. It’s not the exact same thing, but I just did it for entertainment and it was pretty cool to watch.”