Head Coach Kyle Shanahan Press Conference

Head Coach Kyle Shanahan

Press Conference – January 28, 2022

San Francisco 49ers

Listen to Audio I Media Center

Opening comments:

“Alright guys injuries, we’ve got [RB] Jeff Wilson [Jr.], questionable. [T] Trent Williams did not practice, he’s questionable. Go ahead.”

It seems kind of unique that you guys are leaving on a Friday for such a short trip. What’s the thinking behind that and do you guys kind of feel like this whole traveling routine is coming second nature to you at this point?

“Yeah, I don’t like to change up what we normally do. It just feels like we normally leave on Fridays because it seems like we’ve had so many road trips recently. But a number of players hit me up Sunday, right after the Rams won, they hit me up Sunday and asked if we could go on Friday and I was pumped they asked because I like going on Fridays more now. You get more time to focus and get right to the game. And so that’s what we’re doing. We’re still going to try to land there like we would like we’re going to the east coast, which usually around like 10:30, 11, so right when we get there we go to bed. So we just finished up here. We’ll probably go home, spend a few hours with our families and come back here and get on the bus around eight.”

We saw Trent Williams walking off the field in the jersey and shorts and he didn’t have a boot on. So I take that as an encouraging sign. Is there a genuine sense of optimism that he’s going to be able to play or is this going to come down to like it was three weeks ago where it could change right before kickoff?

“It’s going to be like it was three weeks ago. I feel the same way as I did at the beginning of the week. He came out for walk-through today and Trent is adamant that he’s going and he was last time too, which, I believe Trent when he says that he’s going to do everything that he can to play. And so I’ll be surprised if he doesn’t, but I was surprised last time. I was also surprised he was able to finish the game versus Green Bay. So hopefully his mindset will be how his body reacts on Sunday. We know it’ll help us a lot, but if not, we’ll deal with it.”

With WR Mohamed Sanu Sr. being back, how does he look? Is there a chance for him to be involved Sunday?

“There is a chance. I’d love to get Mo up. That’s why we activated him to have a chance to, this week or hopefully next week, but it all kind of plays off of our situations on special teams and which direction we want to go. Still kind of working through that, but we’ll see on Sunday.”

You’ve worked a lot of years with running backs coach Robert Turner Jr. What is it about him that allows him to always seem to get the best out of whoever was in that running back room?

“Because he leaves no stone unturned. That guy coaches running backs as hard as you could possibly do it. And some guys can’t handle it. They might think he over coaches it, not over coaches it but, is on them so much because he demands every little detail that sometimes it can wear on the running backs. Sometimes they want to be like, ‘Hey man, this just let me relax for a little bit,’ but Bobby’s not going to. He’s going to prepare them for every moment. And it takes some time to get used to, but that’s why they all love him so much because they get in these type of situations and we have a rookie who’s been helping us out throughout the year and I personally think he feels prepared for everything because Bobby’s been doing it since OTA one. He is the only coach who probably has 200 and something questions for his tests where most people have like 20. He’s going to leave nothing unturned and that’s our threat to [WR] Deebo [Samuel] that if he does anything wrong, we’re going to make him have to do Bobby Turner’s test because he’s a running back also. So, there’s so much respect for Bobby between the coaches and players around here because you know that his intent is to make the best for his guys.”

Earlier in the week you said you wouldn’t know until the end of the week, whether Trent Williams ankle injury was a low ankle injury or a high ankle sprain. Did you get a verdict on that?

“Yeah, I did.”

Will you share it with us?

“No. Good question though, but no.”

 You talk so much about being physical and this team is founded on a physical running game. It’s not a quantifiable thing, so I guess, how do you wait and just determine whether you’re being physical enough?

“That’s just how you do things. You don’t try to turn it up or turn it down, it’s just how you play football. I don’t think you should pick and choose when to be physical in football. You get more than five fouls or six, I guess in the NBA. But you want guys to play the game right. And I think it starts with practice in that way, which is a very fine line. You can’t do that all the time and keep guys healthy. That’s why it’s a tough sport to practice. It’s a tough sport to do year-round, but that is what the sport is. It’s the physicality, it’s about running, it’s about hitting, it’s about blocking, it’s about tackling and you have to train guys to do that. And then you just cut them loos in the game.”

Yesterday, DL Jordan Willis spoke to us about why he didn’t talk to us after the game on Saturday. Just his selflessness and his humble attitude, can share what you know about him kind of personally, and then just speak to the selflessness of all the players on your roster?

“Jordan’s unique in that way. Jordan’s one of the shyer guys that’ve been around, it has taken us some time to get to know him because he doesn’t talk much. He lays real low. But when he does talk or if you hear him talk, he’s a very thoughtful person who’s a pretty deep guy. He sends [DL Nick] Bosa a number of motivational things that I know Bosa’s into. When he made that play for our team, just how he was after the game, how he was to you, that’s how he is to us all the time. And it’s rare to see someone that humble. But he’s a special dude that our team has really embraced. It’s taken us some time to get to know him, him coming here in the middle of last year. But he is definitely one of us and the guys love him here. And I feel that’s how our whole team is, guys care about each other a lot. And obviously everyone wants their own individual success. That’s always important for you and your family, but I think everyone on our team knows that in this sport you can’t reach your own individual goals without the people around you. Everybody needs someone else in this sport. And I think it helps a lot when you respect each other and I think for the most part we all like each other too.”

You had shared earlier that you were pretty surprised about CB Ambry Thomas’ late season development. Could you say, in general, the same thing just about your cornerback core? After losing CB Jason Verrett in Week 1, it looked kind of bleak because it seemed like the depth there was not wonderful?

“No, yeah. We knew going into this year. That and running back, we had some guys who had played at a high level and that we were dependent on, but also some guys that had gotten hurt before and we knew we didn’t have much depth behind them. And to start the season out, where both of those issues were where we were a little thin at. With losing Jeff Wilson in the locker room in OTAs and losing Verrett and in Week 1 and losing [CB Emmanuel] Moseley very fast. We got down there, but that’s why we knew we had to get some draft picks. And you don’t know when those guys were going to be ready. Especially some later around guys, [DB Deommodore Lenoir] D-Mo had to help us out a lot at the beginning. We got Elijah right away. [RB] Trey Sermon had to come in for a few games and help us and just really all those guys being able to weather the storm. And we had to bring in some vets right away with [CB] Josh Norman who was huge for us. [CB] Dre Kirkpatrick who helped us in a number of games. But all those guys were crucial. You talk about Josh Norman and for him to do what he did to get us this far and to still allow us the time to be patient with Ambry until it was his turn to go, that was huge. And we wouldn’t be here without all those guys, so it’s been a grind, but that’s also why I feel our guys have all gotten better too, because they had to. And I’m just very thankful for some of the guys that allowed us to bide that time and get us to the position we’re at.”