Head Coach Kyle Shanahan Press Conference

Head Coach Kyle Shanahan

Press Conference – December 20, 2021

San Francisco 49ers

Opening Comments:

“Alright guys, injuries from the game, [S Talanoa] Hufanga has a knee sprain and we will evaluate him as the week goes. Holding out hope for him. [S Jaquiski] Tartt has an ankle sprain. He’s day-to-day. [DL] Nick Bosa cleared protocol last night. We’ll check him again today when he comes in. That’s it from the game. Go ahead.”

Do you have any early sense on guys like LB Azeez Al-Shaair and RB Elijah Mitchell for Thursday?

“I mean, we’re holding out hope they’ll be ready to go. I know it’s a short turnaround here. They obviously weren’t ready to go yesterday, but I mean, we’re not going to have any full practices this week, but if they can go, we’ll definitely let them go. So we’ll have to probably take it all the way up to kickoff.”

What kind of sense do you have about CB Emmanuel Moseley and how long it’ll be before he can be back on the field?

“I think it’s still going to be some time. I think we’d be fortunate to get him by LA. Hopefully if he can’t do it then, we find a way to make sure we’re still playing after that game.”

Can you go over the decision to start CB Ambry Thomas and how you think he played in yesterday’s game?

“I mean, he just got the reps all week in practice. We thought he did some good things verse Cincinnati. By no means perfect, but definitely competed out there and had some good plays. And he did the best in practice all week. We got [CB] Dontae [Johnson] here late on Friday and so we went with him. Did some good things in the game but definitely gave him some plays also with his penalties and getting beat there at the end. Thought he had some decent coverage. He’s got do a better job of making a play on the ball and not giving up the catch.”

Looking back on the film, it looked like Jaquiski Tartt popped a few plays. Looked pretty well. The ankle injury anything too serious or does is it like he’s going to be all right?

“Yeah, no, I thought Tartt had a real good game. The only negative play he had, I thought, was that tackle on third-and-six. But he brought it on the guy just like he did verse Cincinnati. He just needs to wrap up a little bit better, but I thought he was everywhere and had one of his better games this year. And with his ankle, I know we’ve got him day-to-day, but he was able to come back in the game and finish. I would be surprised if he wasn’t good to go on Thursday.”

As far as the kickoffs, is it a fatigue factor for P Mitch Wishnowsky now that we’re in late December? Just running out of leg here now that we’re at the end of the season?

“I mean, that’s what it looks like. I think you would have to ask him exactly. Mitch, and we know he didn’t have a very good game kicking the ball on the kickoffs yesterday, and I think it does get harder as you get later in the year here. Hopefully we can get him his juice back and if not we’re definitely going have to mix Robbie in there to help him out.”

Offensively, it looks like the unit was really sharp yesterday. I mean, are they playing at an ultimate level right now that you like to see? Is this like the sharpest QB Jimmy Garoppolo’s been playing in years?

“Yeah, I think we’re getting better each week. I don’t think, Jimmy didn’t get to play very much last year and when he did, he didn’t get to play with the guys, everyone else also. So I feel like, kind of what I was trying to say last night a little bit, even though we have had some injuries, for the most part, the same group’s been out there. They’ve gotten a lot of reps together playing, and they’ve just gotten crisper at that. And we’ve got guys who always make plays. We’ve got a bunch of playmakers. I think we’ve just gotten better at not hurting ourselves and the less we hurt ourselves, think the more we produce in yards end points.”

Considering the injuries that you have at safety right now, where do things stand with S Tavon Wilson and with DB Tarvarius Moore? Any chance that either of those guys could reappear this season?

“Not real likely. Tarvarius Moore, no. We’re holding out hope for Tavon. But I have not been told a time that he could return yet.”

This is obviously pretty brutal for players, the Thursday Night kind of across the country. What do you do? Are there anything other things you do other than dialing back the practices to help them be able to function in the situation?

“Yeah, what my experience, what I’ve been told, I think the best thing for recovery is sleep. So that’s why, I think we pushed back all the schedules later so they can sleep in more. That’s what we really stress about all the time when you get home. That’s why I was so adamant yesterday with just how to handle after the game. I almost wouldn’t have minded if we flew out there right away. It’s not the easiest with COVID and stuff, but just completely dedicate your mind and your body and everything to these four days because you’re still doing all the work mentally and everything and the game’s still going to be the same, but you’ve got to cram it all in. And the only way you do that is with extra sleep and rest.”

Do you know if your players adhered to the no party policy after the game?

“I do not know yet. I feel pretty confident they did. They played pretty hard. Those guys, they don’t have a ton of energy after games. I like that. I feel like we’ve got kind of a nerdy group when it comes to after games. They’ll make for it in the off season I’m sure.”

FB Kyle Juszczyk said the message that you had after the game was for just that you guys were not celebrating the victory. What was your intent there and then how do you feel about just playing Thursday Night games in general?

“I mean, my intent there is just, we don’t have enough time. Today is Monday, but it’s really Monday and Tuesday. So we’re cramming in 48 hours in the 24. And when the players come in on Tuesday, that’s a combination of Wednesday and Thursday all in a Tuesday. So there’s just too much to do. And then Wednesday’s a combination of Friday and Saturday. You put in all your red zone, you do your Friday stuff, but then you travel. So it’s just, it’s a whirlwind. You don’t have enough time to catch up on anything. So you don’t have enough time to waste time as soon as your game is over on Sunday. And I think Thursday’s are a challenge for everybody. There are some years when you have some bad luck on the Sunday before, and it just seems impossible to get your mind together that you can play that Thursday. But you find a way to do it. The thing that I’ve enjoyed the most, that I think players and coaches do like, no matter all the negative parts about out having to prepare for a game, it’s hard to get a weekend off in the NFL this time of year. You get your bi-week, which ours was a ways ago. The reward for what you go through these next four days is having three days off, but it’s only fun if you win it.”

Back to 2019, when you guys were suffering so many injuries along the defensive line in December and it was kind of leaking oil before you got healthy again in January. This year, it seems like just the opposite. That group is picking up steam. How rare has it been in your coaching career to see a defensive line get better as the wear and tear of a season goes along?

“I mean, if you can stay healthy and stuff, I do feel like guys, I mean, sometimes you can lose your juice a little bit and you hit some lulls in the season, but also your body kind of just gets used to the callous of the season and the callous of practicing. And you play at the top of your game. Sometimes guys aren’t always at the top of their game when it starts. I don’t think we have training camps the way we used to. We definitely didn’t have an off season the way we used to. There’s a fine line with that. And I think all our guys have been getting better throughout the year. And I think they’re playing well as a group. I think we’re coaching them better too. And I think all that stuff goes hand in hand as you go each week.”

What’s your early read on the Titans and were you able to do, I don’t know, any advance work on them?

“A lot of our coaches get ahead just so we have a lot of the busy work and stuff done. I don’t ever try to get ahead. It just hurts you and how you see things on three and a half hours on Sunday. I got started getting on them last night and catching up. You can see why the record is so good. They’ve got a hell of a team. All three phases. They’ve got the same mentality in all three phases with just how physical they play. I thought they almost complete dominated. They did, they dominated yesterday’s game. I mean, they held him to about 170 yards or something like that. They turned the ball over three times there in the fourth quarter and got three field goals out of it. So I know they lost a really tough game yesterday and know we’re going to have our work cut out for us here on Thursday Night.”

Jimmy obviously been really efficient over the last few weeks, but maybe one of the clear points of correction is some throws to where linebackers, sink back and he nearly throws interceptions. How do you correct that going forward?

“I mean, that’s something you always talk about. That’s something you’re looking for. And when you throw a lot of those balls that he does throw, like the ones in tight windows, that he got a huge play on that. A lot of guys can’t make that. That is the risk reward with it. And I think he’s been doing a better job at that. I mean, for us to still get explosive plays like that and want go for those all the time. But there is a, a chance when you take those shots that you can throw a pick. And I think he’s been getting a lot better at that. Seeing those when we didn’t have a chance at it. Thought he did a really good job yesterday when it wasn’t there, trying to find a check down which at times are tough to do.”