Head Coach Kyle Shanahan Press Conference
Head Coach Kyle Shanahan
Press Conference – January 3, 2022
San Francisco 49ers
“Injuries from the game, [T] Trent Williams has an elbow sprain. We’ll manage him throughout the week. [LB] Marcell Harris [had a stinger]. Going on the reserve/COVID-19 list, we’ve got [CB] Dontae Johnson, [CB] K’Waun Williams and [RB] Raheem Mostert.”
All those guys are on that reserve/COVID-19 list?
I know you addressed this after the game, but where are you, have you got any more information today about how QB Jimmy Garoppolo feels and have your thoughts changed at all about just kind of the approach you’re going to take this week with him?
“No, just started getting on L.A. now. We just finished all the film work with the guys. We’re going to put together a gameplan for both and hopefully he’ll be able to practice on Wednesday.”
And there was some news over the weekend. Again, a national report that suggested that he was going to have to have offseason surgery on the thumb. Is that something that you’ve been made aware of as well?
“I’ve been made aware of that surgery is a possibility, but as of right now, he would not need it.”
Now finding out that the New Orleans Saints game will be played at the same time as the 49ers game, does that have any effect on you? Would you prefer it to be ahead of the Niners game or does it not matter?
“No, it doesn’t it matter. We wouldn’t change anything regardless. We feel like the playoffs started for us yesterday, even before that Houston game and it’ll be like that until this year is over.”
How do you still feel good that CB Emmanuel Mosley and LB Dre Greenlaw still have a chance to play on Sunday?
“I do. I’m really hoping so, obviously, but they definitely do have a chance to play.”
Do you consider CB Josh Norman to be the starter at corner or is that position kind of up in the air right now?
“I think it’s up in the air right now. Especially with Dontae going on COVID, hopefully all the protocols will go right and we can get him back here in five days. But Josh has held up throughout the year. Dontae went in and did a good job and I think [CB] Ambry’s [Thomas] been doing really good, once he got his opportunity. And we’ll see where Emmanuel’s at this week, so hopefully we’ll end up having four good options.”
The decision to pull him mid-game, was that yours?
And to keep him out the rest of the game also?
“Yeah, Dontae was going to end up starting after that Seattle game too. And so Dontae’s been playing well. Ambry’s come in and gotten better each week and Josh, I’ve known him a little bit, but all those guys do. There’s not a big jump between all those guys. So if we were struggling with P.I.s or anything like that, we were going to give Dontae a shot.”
Can you just clarify real quick, you said at the beginning, Marcell with the injury, you were talking about the stinger that he had? He’s not on the COVID list also right?
“No. Just Dontae, K’Waun, and Raheem.”
You’ve won five in a row over the Rams and I know you don’t want to get into too many details, but is there one general thing that you think kind of highlights why that’s happened?
“No, I don’t think there’s one general thing. Usually it comes down to the turnovers, us protecting the ball and getting it from them. I know we did a good job of that the last time we played. I’m not sure about the four ones before that, but usually it’s going to come down to that.”
When you had a chance to go back and watch Trey’s performance, did you see anything different than what you saw live? What was your evaluation after watching the tape?
“No, I thought it felt pretty similar watching the tape as it did live. I thought Trey did some really good things. He was thrown into a real tough situation in terms of just where our team was at, how big of a game that was, basically being a playoff game. I thought he went in there, handled the pressure real well. Got off to a slow start, him and the rest of the offense, which I thought put a little bit more pressure on him also. And to watch him just respond, especially after that pick, I thought he had a real successful day. Good to get his first win off his back.”
What’s your level of comfortability and familiarity in Trey’s abilities and where he’s at in his development in terms of pulling plays for him, creating a game plan, how comfortable do you feel just knowing him and his tendencies and what he likes to do?
“I’ve done it for two games here, but we talk about it all the time. He goes through all this stuff that we go through with Jimmy, but I feel real good with it, especially only doing that twice. That’s something that you always, player and coach, get more and more comfortable the more games you get.”
We hadn’t seen him for almost three months there. It seemed like his throwing motion had been shortened a bit. Am I just seeing something or is that the case that it’s not quite as looping as it was on October 10th?
“Yeah. It probably is, I’d have to go back and watch both of them to see how much better, but it’s something that he focuses on and works on a lot. He’s put the time in on it and I would say that is accurate.”
How did RB Elijah Mitchell come out in regards to his health and how did he look on film from what you saw?
“I thought Elijah looked real good, took him a little bit to get going. He missed the first run of the game and he doesn’t miss many. Which I think there were obvious reasons why, he hadn’t been out there in a month. But he got into the flow of it. He ran hard, broke tackles, like he always does. Really only missed that one. He had a real good game and from what I hear, he checked out fine. Sore as always as running backs are after games, but had no setbacks with his injuries. And hopefully he’ll have a good week this week and be even better next.”
You explained one of the reasons you weren’t getting Trey in there for a couple plays at the time when Jimmy was playing was maybe got you a little out of sequence against the defense. You weren’t seeing things you wanted to see. Has that maybe evolved a little now that you’ve seen Trey play a little bit more?
“No, having Trey in the whole game allowed us to get a feel for how Houston was defending him. When you put on a gameplan to how a defense plays a quarterbacks, they’re always going to play quarterbacks somewhat similarly, until you get to a quarterback run and guys always have to adjust a little bit for the different types of plays that come with the threat of a running quarterback. And those are adjustments you want to see. How much does shotgun affect the defense, pistol? When they are accounting for them, what type of defenses does that get you? And it definitely got us some different defenses versus Houston than what we had seen on tape than what we were anticipating. But, when he is going be in there the whole game, then you start to get a feel for it and see how they want to stop Trey. And that’s what was so hard when we were bringing him in for a play or too earlier in the year.”
Trey spoke after the game about how great Jimmy Garoppolo has been in supporting him, what have you seen between the relationship between your two quarterbacks?
“Really, I think the most important thing is that neither of them have to try to do anything. They’re both themselves to each other. I think it helps that, I think, they both genuinely like each other and respect each other. And they’re two good guys, so neither of them is trying to hate on each other or do anything shady to one another. We spend a lot of time together. I knew Jimmy before I knew Trey and Jimmy has been the same guy all along since he’s been here and he still continues to be. And Trey’s handled it very well too.”
We like to pretend that it’s all about the QB, but it seems like whenever you guys are rolling, no matter who’s under center, it because of the people around him who picked the QB up and that includes you. First of all, do you agree with that and how would you assess how Trey’s supporting cast did yesterday?
“I agree with the supporting cast, in terms of quarterbacks are always the most important person on the field. Everything goes through the quarterback, but a quarterback cannot be successful without everyone around them and everyone around them can’t be successful without a quarterback. So I think that’s one of the coolest things about football. It is such a team sport. And I thought, the supporting cast, we all started off a little bit slow. I thought we had a couple big drops at the end and I think it was the third quarter, [WR] Deebo [Samuel] on that second-and-eight. And a couple penalties, and we were getting rolling, then they caught us and we had to go back. I didn’t make some good calls, I think, in some of those shot yardage situations that made those two tough. So it took us a while to get going, but I think some guys stepped it up, made some plays and I think the defense and the special teams did too. The way they were playing, it made it easier for the offense not to press. We weren’t getting the points that we wanted, but we didn’t have to scrap the plan. We just stuck with it and everyone was patient and eventually, it took care of itself.”
With the time that Jimmy is getting without throwing, is any part of the equation for him a lessening of pain. A week ago was it so painful and perhaps now– is that a factor at all or is it more about the stability of the joint?
“I think pain is a huge deal, but I think Jimmy will be alright with that when the time comes to have to go through it. I think the more days you can take off, the more you give it a chance to stay healthy and kind of relatch and not to make it worse. And that’s the fine line of knowing how far you can get with it. And at the same time, also trying to give it just a little extra time to get a little stickier.”
Considering what he’s making this year, I imagine you guys are pretty happy with the production you’ve gotten from DL Arden Key. It seems like he’s just come on really strong in the second half. He’s a free agent this upcoming off season and assuming that you guys kind of probably want to talk and try to keep him around. At 25, how do you decide for whether it’s like a one-year wonder type of breakout season or he’s a guy that’s going to sustain the success and he’s finally in the scheme that fits him?
“Arden’s had some injuries, he’s been in a different scheme, but he’s battled through all year for us. We’ve really enjoyed the person, loved having him around as a guy. I think he’s gotten better as the year has gone and I think he’s done a decent job of taking care of his body this year. So that’s always a risk with everybody looking into that stuff, but I’ve really enjoyed the year with Arden and I think he’s playing better football as it goes. And hopefully that’ll continue here over this week and hopefully into the playoffs because he’s been a big part of helping our defense get to where it’s at.”
You mentioned you saw some different defensive looks out of the Texans, were they not crowding the line as much or what generally was different about it?
“No, they actually crowded the line more, because you need middle third players and you need quarter safeties to go tackle that quarterback if you want to play your fronts the same way. You’ve got to have an extra guy go do it. And their safety, [Justin] Reid did a real good job of playing some of that stuff. And when they weren’t accounting for Trey and he pulled it. He was able to meet him about three yards past the line of scrimmage, which means he’s got to get up there pretty tight to do that.”
Trent Williams’ elbow is that related to what he had to go through last year? And then of the IR guys, are WR Mohamed Sanu Sr. and DL Maurice Hurst possibly coming off anytime soon?
“Yeah, with Trent, it is similar. But no, he didn’t tear it, which I think that’s what he did on his UCL, I think that was, last year when we were in Arizona. But no, it’s not as bad as that one. Yes, I expect to bring them both off and get them back into practice on Wednesday. Same with E-Man and same with [S] Tavon [Wilson].”