Head Coach Kyle Shanahan Press Conference

Head Coach Kyle Shanahan

Press Conference – December 10, 2021

San Francisco 49ers

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Opening comments:

“[DL Maurice] Mo Hurst will be out. [RB] Trenton Cannon, out. [LB Dre] Greenlaw, out. [RB] Elijah Mitchell is out. [CB Emmanuel] Moseley is out. [CB] Dontae Johnson’s questionable, not injury related, personal matter. [WR] Deebo [Samuel]’s questionable. Go ahead.”

What was Deebo able to do today?

“He was able to do everything. Yeah, we don’t go full speed though, so it was pretty easy.”

I guess I can ask, not that you’re going to say anything, but Dontae, would he be starting if he’s available for this game?

“Yeah, if he’s available he will be starting. He’ll most likely be starting if he’s available.”

How did the rookie cornerbacks look in practice?

“I thought they had a good week. Yeah. They’ve been competing hard.”

Would you try to work them into the mix, whether they’re starting or not?

“We’ll see.”

I feel like if Dontae can’t play, obviously I’m not sure what your other options are, they would have to correct?

“Yeah, we’d have three outside guys left and we’d probably bring up someone from practice squad too.”

These are the guys you have, but is it a little concerning going against that offense, that quarterback and those wide receivers to be down a couple of cornerbacks?

“Yeah, we are all ready. You’re always concerned for any cornerbacks going against those real good skill players and quarterback like that, but it happens. We played Arizona earlier this year, they had two guys go out, they had to play two practice squad guys and those guys did their job the whole game, but they weren’t affected at all because the other nine did their job real well. You’d rather it be a different scenario, but we still can overcome that.”

How’s RB Jeff Wilson Jr. looking?

“I thought he had a real good week. I think stuff that was acting up on him last week was not a factor this week and he had three good days.”

I noticed that QB Trey Lance had the scout team player of the week. Can you talk about his week, what did he do so well?

“He just had a real good week the defensive coaches, they all vote on it, the guys who put the scout team together. We’re usually hard on the quarterback. We don’t try to give it to him all the time, since they’re the ones not running around quite as much as all the other guys, but he definitely had the best week. He was sharp throwing the ball. Did a really good job emulating their offense, doing what we asked and where you go with the ball to try to do what [Cincinnati Bengals QB Joe] Burrow does. But when it wasn’t there, he did a good job making his own plays.”

Do you kind of keep tabs on just how he’s improving behind the scenes, whether it’s mentally, physically, just so the reps he gets count, the film study counts and everything counts?

“Oh, everything. Yeah. It’s a grind throughout the year. It’s always up and down with everybody in that situation, not just a quarterback, but the quarterback’s always harder because you’re usually not going to get that opportunity to start unless there is an injury. And it’s easy for a few weeks, but I would think they would say it’s hard to prepare the like a starter week in and week out. And that’s the key, you have to do it week in and week out for that stuff to count. If not, you’re kind of just going through the motions and it’d be nice for more time. But the key is you can get the best out of your reps, if you’re completely deliberate in everything you do. You have to have that anxiety about learning everything. And if you do it that way, which I think he’s done a real good job of doing it, especially for a rookie, it can help a lot.”

Have you seen it both ways in your time in the league where, a young backup wastes his time and doesn’t improve and a young backup puts in the work and you can see the results at the other end?

“Oh definitely, not just quarterbacks. I see it every single year. Sometimes, you want to say it’s not their fault. They just don’t know. But people get sick of going through the scout team. Some guys on practice squad, you’re not paid as much. You work three days a week because you’re not in uniform on Sunday and guys start to get frustrated that it’s kind of a red shirt year and you just, but you’re not really involved in the meetings. Meetings can sometimes be boring, so the reason people listen is because your job is on the line every Sunday and you want to perform. And some people don’t think they’re going to play and then someone gets sick Saturday night and they’re playing and then they panic and they go in and play like a person who just try to cram everything in and they never get that opportunity again and their career is over. So that happens all the time. With higher draft picks, you might get another chance, but that’s the things that you want to keep hitting people with and scaring people with, so they can learn that way instead of the hard way.”

Does Trey have to sit in on some of those defensive meetings so he knows what they want out of him on scout team?

“No, we show him the style of play, which I think most people know the style of play of most of these quarterbacks before you even watch them. So he has got an idea and we just circle where they go with the ball, but it’s nice because I can talk to all the quarterbacks in their helmets throughout practice, so I call the plays when they’re up. But when he he’s going, I sit in the back and watch the card and he gets the line I usually try to put it in our terms, what we would call to play and you can see where they want him to go with it. But if it’s not there, then I want to see what Trey does next. And it’s cool how you can kind of coach him up on all that stuff.”

Minnesota Vikings QB Kirk Cousins to Seattle Seahawks QB Russell Wilson to Joe Burrow, how challenging is that? How different is it week-to-week for that scout team quarterback?

“Yeah you’re being those guys, but you’re also, you’re doing their offense. So sometimes it’s can be cool just how the plays look and people getting open and it’s fun to work through the pocket and try to make those plays. And sometimes you’re in a situation where guys aren’t open, but you know if it’s someone who can make some off-schedule plays then it’s a different week where the guy can break the pocket and try a bunch off-schedule stuff. But it doesn’t mean you’re not going throw to them if they’re not open, but you’ll script some more plays where people aren’t open because you know you have to prepare the defense for a run-around guy. So I think it’s good for him to do all of it, because he’s capable of doing all of it. So it’s nice that he gets to practice all that stuff.”

Are you finding that you’re learning things about what he’s able to do because he’s kind of being pushed to do things that aren’t in your playbook?

“Everything’s all good when it’s synchronized and you know what to expect before, during, and while the plays going on. But that’s like 5% of football, everything else is reacting and it’s neat to watch someone react when they’re not expecting stuff and you get to see off balance throws, what they’re consistent at, what they struggle at and not only is it good for me, it’s really good for him. Because sometimes you don’t know where you’re struggling until stuff is happening a lot and then you get the film together and then it sets up your plan to fix it.”

The Bengals offense, does it look familiar to you? As far as, is it based on what you’ve been doing for all these years?

“I think all of it’s similar. I think it’s closer to the Rams, but we’re all similar, but they don’t use a fullback as much, which changes some stuff up and they’re a lot more one back, three receivers. But concepts and stuff, the drop back plays and things like that all have a very similar carryover.”

Is what you saw from Deebo running on the side pretty encouraging that he should be ready to go?

“Yesterday or today?”

Yeah, I guess all week.

“Well yeah, I mean if Deebo hadn’t done anything all week, it wouldn’t be an option. You don’t just rest a guy with a muscle strain and just say rest it until Sunday because that’s how you’ll re-pull it. So you have to push it every day to know if he can push it on Sunday. You want to have it pushed in a controlled environment when you’re pushing it, going against someone competing, it’s just such a higher chance of pulling it. So, we’ve been pushing him on the side, we just haven’t been having him going against guys and hopefully that’ll get him the best chance to be up. I’ll find out tomorrow. How they tell me where they think he’s at. And if they think he’s good and don’t feel like he’ll reinjure it, then he’ll be up on Sunday.

Is Mitchell out due to the concussion or due to the knee?

“I didn’t even ask today whether he was still in the protocol or not. I think it was a little bit of both. I know yesterday would’ve been both. Once we saw it was going in that direction, we kind of just decided yesterday.”