Head Coach Kyle Shanahan Press Conference

Head Coach Kyle Shanahan

Press Conference – December 27, 2021

San Francisco 49ers

Listen to Audio I Media Center

Opening Comments:

“Alright guys, injuries from the game. [LB] Azeez [Al-Shaair] has a knee sprain. He’ll be out, most likely these two weeks. [DL] D.J. Jones, ankle, he’ll be limited this week. [QB] Jimmy Garoppolo had a right thumb injury, we’ll see where he is at on Wednesday. And [P] Mitch Wishnowsky was placed on [the] Reserve/COVID [List] today. Go ahead.”

As far as Jimmy’s right thumb injury, was that a sort of follow through, pass type of injury where he struck something on a follow through?

“No, it was on his sack, I believe it was the end of the second quarter, when the guy drove him into the ground. Ended up hitting his thumb on the play.”

Is the thumb fractured. How’s it healing or what is it looking like?

“No, it’s a thumb sprain, so I think you guys know how those are. It didn’t feel great today. He wasn’t able to throw today and we’ll see how it is on Wednesday. Hopefully it’ll get better.”

What’s the plan at punter this week with Mitch going on the list and also is there concern about other guys potentially going on there now too?

“Yeah, all the guys that they pulled for close contacts, they were all good and passed. So, we have no concerns right now and I think it was good most of us weren’t around each other much in these last three days. So right now, we seem alright.”

Does this mean that Mitch will not be available for you on Sunday?

“No, those protocols to get back, have eased up a little bit. I’m not sure exactly how, but I still believe he has got to get two negative tests I believe. And it depends on where his symptoms are, so we’ll hold out hope that he’ll be able to punt for us on Sunday and kickoff and if not, we’ll have someone else in here.”

Did Jimmy Garoppolo’s injury affect how he played in the second half?

“I think it affected his throw, just talking to him, on first play of the third quarter. I would say that was the one play that it affected him on the most.”

When did you find out he was injured?

“We knew his thumb was hurting him. We knew he jammed it. We thought he had jammed it at some time in the game. He tells us right when he comes to the bench.”

Whether Jimmy can play or not, is there any thought that QB Trey Lance might get some more playing time?

“Obviously, definitely if Jimmy is not playing, but I don’t really decide that until I watch the Texans and we just finished with our guys, so I’m about to jump into them now, but there’s a chance.”

How has Trey come along, we haven’t seen him pass in about two months, so how ready is he to take over if Jimmy’s not able to?

“I think this last month of Trey has been his been consecutive four weeks of practice since we’ve had him. He’s had a number of good days and he’s had some bad days, like most guys do, but as far as his consistency, I feel this last month has been his best.”

What we’ve heard is very positive things about how out Trey is practicing. Does it come to a little bit of a gray area where if Jimmy is cleared to play, but he might not be as effective as if he’s a hundred percent, that you then have to make a decision on which quarterback gives you the better chance of winning?

“Yeah, if your starting quarterback can’t throw it as good as he normally does, that always is a factor. I feel like if that was the case at any time this year, if Jimmy was struggling to throw it his best, I think we would’ve gone with Trey. So it all depends on where he is at, but I felt good to do that throughout the year.”

When you say Trey’s had the best four weeks since he’s been here, is that all scout team? Has he had any other work other than scout team?

“No, that is all scout team. But that’s the same plays as us, but that just shows how consistently he’s throwing the ball, how he’s moving, his accuracy, his decisions, everything, and you have to do a lot of stuff. And try stuff you normally wouldn’t do, all the time, not on scout team. And I think if you talk to the defensive coaches, defensive players or myself watching it, I think we’d all feel the same.”

I’m sure you saw that General Manager John Lynch accidentally liked a tweet that wasn’t very complimentary of Jimmy. Has anyone discussed that? Is that anything that needs to be addressed with Jimmy? Has John addressed that with Jimmy?

“I don’t know if he did, but no, I don’t think that has to. I think everyone in this building knows John pretty well. And as you read a tweet like that, I don’t think one person who knows John thinks that he did that. They’re wondering how he messed that up. That’s why I don’t have things like that. I would probably do the same on accident.”

Did you see things in Jimmy’s performance that might have been better than we might have thought, might have been worse than we might have thought, just initially?

“Yeah, just overall. I thought the first drive was great. I think that the last drive, going 96 yards with five minutes left, down seven points on the road when things haven’t been perfect, when you have a long drive like where you got a chance to go to overtime, I thought that was one of the bigger moments of our year, if we could have came through with it and finished there in the end. But we didn’t, they were able to go down there and kick that field goal. And I thought the interception in the end zone, it was the right decision by Jimmy, that’s where the ball is supposed to go. We got the one-on-one with [TE] George [Kittle], but obviously the corner had played it so well that I didn’t think it was that hard to see, so Jimmy needed to throw it away. Instead he tried to give it to George and obviously the corner had played it way too well, he should have thrown it away, he had nothing else. The first throw in the third quarter was not a good one. He knows that you, but I know Jimmy gets a lot of the blame for the game with the two turnovers, which I think other people had responsibility also, always with that. You take those two away and I know he had that one questionable one over the middle, their linebacker dropped, but he played a pretty game without those plays. Those are ones we definitely couldn’t afford to make because of how the game went.”

What’s been the reason that Trey Lance has been making the progress, you talk about Jimmy going to the right spots with the ball, is that what Trey’s been doing? Has he been better in the pocket? What type of improvements have you seen from him over this past month?

“Throwing the ball better, making the right decisions better, I think he’s gotten healthier too. Just coming out of the preseason, coming out of his first game, I think his body’s been doing better, so all of the above. Each play is different. You don’t just say, ‘Hey, one guy made good decisions. The other guy didn’t,’ you’d have to watch practice and you’d have to talk about the practice, which I’m not going to totally evaluate each player over the phone.”

Do you have any updates on RB Elijah Mitchell and CB Emmanuel Moseley health?

“Yeah, I think Elijah does have a chance this week. I don’t think E-man does, we’re hoping E-man has a chance next week. Elijah’s made more progress, he had a decent day yesterday. Still not totally out of the woods yet, but I’m hoping that he can go this week and I know he’s got a chance.”

What about LB Dre Greenlaw given what you said about Azeez?

“Yeah, Greenlaw’s been in the same boat where we’re really trying to get this pain to go away. We’re not going to rule out this week yet, but I have more hope for next week.”

Trey Lance, hasn’t talked to a reporter since October 10th when he played against the Cardinals. Is that in any way some sort of organizational decision to just have him focus on doing his job on eliminating quarterback talk or are you just like, what are you talking about?

“No, I just try to do things that I feel like is fair and the way that you guys normally would do stuff and the way we would normally do stuff. And when you guys are requesting him a bunch, I just ask how many times does the number two quarterback talk to the media during the week, and I was told none. So then I just said, ‘well, just keep it that way.’ We don’t need to make stuff up. I think it’s hard when you get guys out there, especially a young guy, and you’re asking him questions. And I get that you guys are asking him questions, but he’s just working, going through practice. If you ask him what he is doing good, what he is doing bad, guys are just making up stuff now just trying to be polite and answer questions. And when you don’t have a guy in that situation ever, in the past, or I wouldn’t want a backup in the future doing that stuff because that’s just not how you do it. You just set guys up for no reason. I don’t think that’s necessarily right for them to put them, they need to get ready for an NFL game, an NFL week. And when stuff in the media happens, like it does when they normally play, I’m all for that. I just don’t think it’s right to do just because of the draft status, if he’s not playing.”

Trey Lance injured his finger in the preseason, did that injury linger into the season at all? Did it affect him at all when he played earlier in the year?

“Yeah, I think so. I think anytime you have a broken bone in your finger, it’s always going to affect how you throw, so it doesn’t mean you can’t do it, but it definitely is a challenge. And I think as the year has gone and it’s healed up more, I think it’s helped him.”

You guys were looking, obviously, to get one of the top quarterbacks in the draft, but I was curious how much you evaluated Texans QB Davis Mills and what you thought of him?

“Yeah, we evaluated him a good amount, especially being a local guy. And we were very impressed with him. Very good football player, can throw the ball well. I knew he had battled number of injuries coming out, gotten his opportunity this year and he looks the part. He’s done a hell of a job for them.”