Head Coach Kyle Shanahan Press Conference

Head Coach Kyle Shanahan

Press Conference – May 24, 2022

San Francisco 49ers

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What is your first impression upon seeing QB Trey Lance back? How does he look? What did he do in that time away to change or improve?

“He’s been great. He went away for a while, along with almost everyone else. You can tell he got healthy while he was gone and he’s come back and he has gotten in four good weeks of work.”

In what way was he getting healthy?

“His whole body. Just getting back to feeling right.”

Are there things you’ve noticed, noticeable improvement and things that are obvious that he needs to work on?

“Yeah, he came back and has looked as good as he did last year. And we’ve had two practices and I think he’s done some good things in those two practices.”

Is his throwing motion at all different?

“No, I don’t think so.”

Is he a little bit more three quarters? I don’t recall that–?

“When? Is he more three quarters more than when?”

Maybe I’m remembering incorrectly.

“Arm angles change here and there, but no I see him about the same.”

Do you have a list of injuries?


You usually do this time of year.

“No, I answer questions. I know that’s your favorite thing to talk about injuries. What is it? May? And I’ve got a whole list right here, just in case you ask, but I don’t have to really talk about all of them, but you only get one question. Which one is it?”

LB Demetrius Flannigan-Fowles and LB Azeez Al-Shaair, are they injured?

“Yeah, Azeez had shoulder surgery at the end of the year and knee surgery. He’ll be preparing for training camp and Demetrius just has some knee tendonitis, so we’ll see how that goes throughout OTAs.”

Have you spoken with C Alex Mack?

“I’ve talked to him here and there. I’ve got a good idea. I’ve been in touch with him throughout the offseason, through his wedding, through his honeymoon. He’s in some other country right now, but I’ve got a pretty good idea of what he’s doing.

What’s that?

“Same as last time, I’m going to leave that up to Alex, but I’ve got a pretty good idea. I think you guys do too.”

What about the veterans who aren’t injured, FB Kyle Juszczyk, T Trent Williams and DL Nick Bosa?

“Yeah, Juice got here for OTA one, so he’s been here. Today he had a personal thing with his family, so he had to leave today, but he was here yesterday. Trent, I expect to be here towards the end, we’ll see. I know he’ll at least be here, from what he says, when it’s mandatory and same with Bosa and I’m expecting [WR] Deebo [Samuel] also.”

When is the last you spoke to Deebo?

“I remember from last time, I’m going to stop telling you guys when I’ve talked to guys and not talk to guys, because I don’t want to make that news. I have to keep up with that, but I talk to all our players.”

Do you feel like you’re at a point where you can get that relationship back to normal?

“Yeah, of course I do. And I felt that the last time I talked to you guys at draft time and I feel the same, if not stronger.”

Why do you feel that way?

“Yeah, same thing I said last time, nothing’s changed. It’s conversations we have with Deebo and maybe some more that will come out eventually, but now’s not the time.”

You had high praise for Deebo Samuel’s work ethic this time last offseason. Do you see similar things with WR Brandon Aiyuk this offseason performing out there?

“Yeah, I think each year guys have, you learn stuff from it and you learn how hard this league is and guys usually go one or two ways each year. They realize, man, I have to put more work in and prepare for that long haul or man that was exhausting and I’m going to avoid that as long as I can, until I have to come back again. And usually the ones who get better and better are the ones who figure out what they have to do during the season and in the offseason to prepare them for that. And I think Brandon’s done that each year. Deebo’s been awesome with that stuff each year. And that’s why usually veterans understand how to make it in this league a little bit better.”

When it comes to the quarterback situation, I know you addressed it at the owner’s meetings, but is there a chance that it’s fluid at all or are you still viewing it as Trey’s trending towards being ready and things haven’t necessarily changed on that front?

“Yeah, nothing’s changed since the surgery, we knew where we were at before that, and then he got the surgery, so everything went on hold. I expect him at some time, most likely to be traded, but who knows. It’s not a guarantee and it’s been exactly on hold when that happened. And when he is healthy, we’ll see what happens.”

What about OL Daniel Brunskill?

“Brunskill, same thing as Flan, some knee tendonitis. We’re holding him out. Maybe towards the end of OTAs, we’ll see how this goes, but he’ll be fine by training camp.”

What was the purpose of the helmet-less drill at the end of practice?

“Just because we’re not trying to go team quite yet and we’re trying to slow it down for just the O-Line and D-Line. And we were trying that out these last two days. We’ll try it out again on Friday and then we’ll reassess next week.”

You have a new wide receivers coach. How would you sort of compare the personalities and the styles going from Wes Welker to Leonard Hankerson?

“I mean, they’re both their own person. It was awesome that they were in the room together last year. So Hank got to watch how Wes did it, so he knows exactly what that room’s expecting. I got to coach Hank for I think five years as a player, so he has a lot of experience doing that stuff. Their personalities, I think are somewhat similar. You can ask Hank when you talk to him what the difference is, but they’re both their own man. And I think the players respect them a bunch.”

Have you been seeing quarterbacks coach Brian Griese and assistant quarterbacks coach Klay Kubiak work together and what have been your first impressions of that sort of dynamic?

“Yeah, they’ve been great. We had them here about four or five weeks before the players got here, so we got to go through a whole process of what we do. We got to study college guys together, so you got to go through all the stuff and really learn what each other is about. And they’ve been working with the quarterbacks the last month, which they do an awesome job at. They really dive into the detail of every little aspect of it. I think they’ve been great getting along with all three of our quarterbacks and they’ve been good on the field here these last two days. Rookie mini-camp was good, but finally getting out there with these with our guys today and yesterday, is really when it starts going, because you get to coach out there, then you get to come in and watch film. You get to review the film as coaches, so you all get on the same page and then usually the next day they review with the players.”

Do you see a big difference between what Trey Lance looks like now on the practice field compared to a year ago at this time?

“No, it was the second day of OTAs, so I don’t really look at anyone that way. This is just the start of guys going out, getting a little bit of football in and we’ve got nine of these and then we get away and then we start training camp, which is the real deal.”

It might be too early to tell, but DB Tarvarius Moore, can you kind of gauge if he’s back to full speed after that injury?

“He is back to full speed in health, so he is out there going. Again, it’s been two days and today was the first day we did a two-shell defense, so it’s been good that he is healthy enough to get out there, start working back in to get in football shape and give himself a chance to compete for a job here when training camp comes.

Was there any reason why TE Charlie Woerner and TE George Kittle didn’t practice today? Was it injury related or just a rest day?

“Both of them have some similar issues, so we’re being smart with them. They could go, but there’s not much need for them to go right now. We’ll see if they go towards the end of OTAs, but there’s a good chance we’ll hold them out until training camp.”

What are those issues?

“Lower half.”

Oh, hockey.

“Yeah, not enough for me to really look into it that hard. It’s not that interesting to me, they’ll be all right.”

What about CB Ambry Thomas?

“Ambry was sick today. He was here yesterday, but we sent him home this morning. He came in with some symptoms.”

It looked like OL Justin Skule wasn’t wearing any brace. Is he all the way back?

“Yeah, he’s cleared to go and healthy. When guys are all the way back, it means they’re healed, but it takes a while to get all the way back playing football. And that’s why he’s fortunate to have OTAs to hopefully build a base before you go to training camp and it’s real football.”

Do you think T Mike McGlinchey and DL Javon Kinlaw will be ready by camp?

“Yeah, I do. Those guys have been great. We didn’t expect to have them until training camp, but just looking at them out there and how they’re moving. We consider them ahead of schedule and it’s been very positive on both of those guys.”

How about now?

“No, I bet they could if they wanted to, but it’s not worth it.”

Has Kinlaw lost weight?

“Yeah, he has.”

Does that impact his role at all?

“No, I don’t think so. The lightest Kinlaw has been was the end of his rookie year when he got hurt at that Dallas game and he was playing at the top of his level then, and he’s a pretty strong, massive guy. So the way he’s been working, the way he’s been eating, he’s going to be the right size, whatever that weight is, because he’s in pretty good shape.”

What do you want to see from OL Aaron Banks over these nine practices?

“Hopefully he can stay healthy through this and get work in nine days. With us not going against each other as much right now, it’s so important on the drills they set up to go against each other because we’re trying to simulate football the best we can. Hopefully we’ll be able to do that a little bit more as we get going, but just to be able to have no setbacks, go through it healthy and when he leaves here to be in a great position to come back in 40 days and try to get a starting job.”

Do your eyes more naturally track the wide receivers rather than like whatever new cornerbacks you’re trying out right now when you’re in person and then study them more on film?

“In person, because I know where the ball’s going when I watch the receivers, I can see the coverage, I know where the ball’s supposed to go, so you know where to watch. And when I’m on film, I go through it a bunch of times because I try to find the time to watch all the guys out there.”

How do you think CB Charvarius Ward has been coming along?

“I think he’s been great, just having him here for the month of phase one and phase two, just having him here with the guys, going into drills where we haven’t been doing a ton of football against each other, but just all footwork drills and stuff like that. He’s as talented of a dude as we’ve had here. He’s a great guy, loves to work. Doesn’t say a lot, just goes out and gets his job done and it seems like he fits in very well.”

Is CB Jason Verrett likely to just come back in camp?

“Yeah, that’s what we’re hoping for. We were pumped to get Jason back and we know it’s been a hard recovery for him like he’s gone through a number of times. But I know when he got back here and everyone saw him, everyone’s pumped to have that guy back and we’re all pulling that he can get healthy for training camp.”

With Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel no longer involved in the run game, does that change your process at all?

“Not much. Him and [offensive line coach/run game coordinator] Chris [Foerster] would work together most of the time and me and [passing game coordinator] Bobby [Slowik] worked together most of the time in the pass game and then we’d always meet in the middle and change stuff up as a group. We just have one less guy there, so there’s certain parts that I’ll always miss with Mike. Mike had been around me for a long time. There was lots of stuff that he could do for me, which was awesome. It kind of sucks not having him now because sometimes I have to do it and not always do I want to. And you ask someone else to do it and they do a great job, but then you realize, oh he wasn’t here seven years ago when we learned not to do it because of that or 12 years ago when we did it. So there’s a process with that stuff. But that’s what’s good for the offseason. That’s what’s good for OTA, so you can ask guys to do stuff, you expect it a certain way and then you come in and you learn what that guy doesn’t know and he learns what you want. And hopefully you get that stuff right for the season, so it’s smooth throughout the year.”

How do you come up with a play? Not to compare you to a songwriter, but there are some guys that sit at a bar and write stuff out on a napkin. How does an origin of a play start?

“What I see in the defense. There are not these secret plays that we carry, I always say, around in that notebook in Water Boy, that someone’s going to steal someday and then we’re screwed. We all run the same plays. It’s how you tie them together, how you design, them, how you put certain guys in certain positions, they have answers versus not the perfect look, but all the looks. And that’s really what it comes down to timing and preparation and understanding what works against defenses and understanding what works against defenses and what your players can do versus those defenses.”

How much of your time up to this point has been just doing that, looking at teams maybe you didn’t play last year, but will be playing this year or just looking around the league at defensive trends and what works and what doesn’t and where you think the next evolution will be?

“That’s what I do more when I’m bored. In my own time, I like to just turn on teams and watch stuff, whatever it is, but usually at that time, there’s a month dedicated getting ready for the draft and when it’s not that it’s usually coaching coaches. Whether you have a new staff or not, it’s watching film with them. Saying how you want it, hearing how they see it, telling them how you see it, just trying to get everyone on the same page. Everyone wants to be on the same page, but there’s also things that you want done that they haven’t done. So you try to train them in that area and then it gets better through the experience of it. And then you try to hear aspects from them that they’ve done it differently that you don’t know, which sometimes will have me change something up, but at this time of year, before the players come in we’re mainly coaching coaches.”

When you brought CB Darqueze Dennard in late last year, I’m sure that was like you needed somebody and he was available. Has he shown you more than you expected either from last year or this offseason?

“Yeah, he showed me more last year than I expected. Anytime you bring someone in that late there’s not a ton of choices at that time. And to have someone like him who has had the career he’s had and done some things like he has, I knew the name. But for him to come in and to throw him at that nickel position, which he was a little new to him, we could just tell. We had a number of guys get sick, when it was [Denver Broncos CB] K’Waun [Williams] with COVID, our whole secondary with COVID for the Rams game. Just watching him take those reps all week, we were ready to go with him if those guys didn’t come back. I think it ended up being [CB] Dontae [Johnson] who came back the day before, but we were excited last year and to have him here throughout the whole offseason, not just the end of last year, being able to work with him in phase one and phase two and the two practices today, he’s shown he’s got a chance.”

What are your initial impressions of TE Ross Dwelley? I saw him make good catches with Trey Lance?

“Ross is Ross. He’s going to catch everything. He’s got as good of hands as anyone on our team. He’s always in shape. He’s always improving to get better. He usually puts on some size at this time going to Kittleland where they just lift weights and get bigger, I guess. And then they come back here and we get them running and get them more into football. And Ross is always ready to go.”

Football coaches talk a lot about creating schemes that fit their player skillsets, obviously. And I’m curious what your process is like with Trey given there’s been such a limited sample size and how you sort of go about creating an offense for a guy that hasn’t played a whole lot?

“Yeah, there’s certain principles to what you think a quarterback has to do. For everybody, you’d love them to be able to do the drop back game, the play action game. You’d love to move them out on boot legs. You’d love to have big throws, short throws, screens, everything. And there’s a time in every game that you usually need one of those, so you try them in everything and almost every quarterback at this level is capable of doing everything. But you find out how consistent they are. And there’s going to be certain areas that are strengths and certain areas that are weaknesses, just like every other quarterback I’ve coached. And you put them through all of that and you don’t try to hide it. You try to understand it. There’s usually nothing that you can’t do, but you find out what’s hard on a person. So you do that if you absolutely have to. And you always try to find avenues to where you put them in an advantageous situation where they’re confident, because they know this is automatic. You know they can do that. And eventually people take that away and you have to go to the next thing and you have to get good at that so you can bring the other thing back. And I think that’s kind of the story at every position.”