Head Coach Kyle Shanahan Press Conference

Head Coach Kyle Shanahan

Press Conference – November 3, 2021

San Francisco 49ers

Listen to Audio I Media Center

Opening comments:

“Alright, the injuries for today. [DL] Mo [Maurice] Hurst, calf, won’t practice. [T] Trent Williams, ankle, won’t practice, [WR] Deebo [Samuel], calf, won’t practice. [DB] Jimmie Ward, quad, won’t practice. [RB] Elijah Mitchell, rib, won’t practice. Go ahead.”

Is TE George Kittle going to be back at practice today?

“Yes, he is. Yeah. Him and [RB] Jeff Wilson [Jr.].”

No K Robbie Gould?

“And Robbie. Yeah, don’t tell him I forgot.”

Is the hope that Elijah will be able to practice at some point during the week?

“Yes. Yeah, the hope is.”

What about LB Azeez Al-Shaair and DL Dee Ford?

“Yeah, they’re full go, they’re back. Yeah.”

Do you expect George to run and be ready to play right away?

“I’m not sure. I’m not counting on it a hundred percent. I’m waiting to see how he is today. We’re going to slow it down a little bit. Just been banged up the last couple of weeks. We’re going to go pretty slow today. But I think the real test will be for him tomorrow.”

How has it been preparing for Arizona not knowing Arizona Cardinals QB Kyler Murray’s status, just how big of a challenge is that?

“Not much, because we’re preparing like he’s going to play, so we’re not looking at it any differently. If he doesn’t, we’ll adjust to that.”

Is Deebo not practicing just out of precaution?

“No, he couldn’t go today. Hopefully he’ll be able to go tomorrow. I’d be surprised if he can’t go by Sunday, but he definitely can’t go today.”

How much has he meant to your offense this season? He obviously has a large chunk of percentage of the yards, but with everybody else just kind of getting back in the flow and losing George these last few weeks?

“I think he means a ton. I think he did last year too when he played, when you guys look at those games and whenever you can get a playmaker like that out there and guys got to worry about it, not only does it help him, but it helps other people around him. And I didn’t expect Deebo to have such a big game versus Chicago, but the way the guys around him stepped it up too I thought it made things a lot easier just to allow that to happen naturally. And it was good on everybody’s part.”

Did he reaggravate his calf or is it just sore?

“Reaggravated it. It was hurting him the week before and he played a lot and through a lot and it felt worse after.”

I think you said after the game that WR Brandon Aiyuk had a hamstring?


Yeah. Did you?

“No. Yeah, very wrong. I mentioned [TE] Charlie [Woerner] just being tighter throughout the year. I think that’s what I said, but I could be wrong too. I don’t remember the press conferences as well as you guys do.”

On the Deebo screen for 83 yards, obviously C Alex Mack and OL Daniel Brunskill got way down field, was that a key to that play?

“Oh yeah. That’s what gives you a chance to get a touchdown. That’s the stuff that you have to be good at to have a chance to get a first down in those situations. Usually, you do it perfect and it leads to fourth-and-two. So there was some really good effort on that play from everybody across the board and then Deebo just having the speed to almost get it down there.”

Was it specifically those two guys, the center and the right guard, or just whoever didn’t release?

“No, it’s everybody, but usually the backside tackle from the whole front side on. And Trent started it off. He overran [Chicago Bears LB Alec] Ogletree a little bit, which they always go there and back door him and for him to shut it down and stop it, which allowed it to go and hit. We ran a play to Aiyuk two plays before it, the exact same play, and we ended up getting a clipping on it, which put us in that longer yardage, but all those guys are coming out hard going against the grain and it’s hit or miss.”

 I also noticed after the bomb to Deebo that Mack was the first one down in position at the snap while most everybody else on the field was still running way behind him. Going back to Atlanta, has he always had that kind of awareness? And I guess that’s a showcase of his speed too.

“Going back to Cleveland, he’s always been that same way. That’s why I used to call him, I still do, I call him our golden retriever because he does that in practice every play. He’s always running down the field, chasing the, I say, the tennis ball wherever you throw it. And he enjoys playing football and he never stops and that’s exactly how he is in practice every play.”

We saw the video of you after the game and there seemed to be some words that maybe were silent that maybe it looks like your mouth was moving, but there was nothing on the audio. Is that just kind of like when you have that postgame address to the team, like, what’s going through your mind? Are you just, is it just stream of consciousness?

“Yes, you don’t have time to do anything else, so you just talk and I haven’t seen it, but I can imagine. I don’t have the best vocabulary. I probably know a total of like 80 words, so I have to use those words sometimes to express myself and that’s why I do a lot better in meetings and stuff where I’m allowed to do that as opposed to stuff like this.”

With Kittle, you or general manager John Lynch or both you in the past have talked in the past about you’re trying to lessen his workload in 2018. That’s why you keep four tight ends to start the season. I understand why you wouldn’t want to take George Kittle off the field much, but his workload hasn’t been lessened and asking in light of the injuries he sustained, really throughout his career, and then these last couple of seasons are injuries that you can’t play through. Do you have to look at that at some point?

“Yeah, I think when you talk about workload for tight ends, it’s about training camp, it’s about practice, it’s about stuff like that. When a guy’s not healthy, you’ve always got to do that. But I haven’t heard of people managing a tight end, especially one like Kittle. Tight ends go. They play every play usually. Lots of them, you have different personnel groupings, but most tight ends are over 80-percent of the game. But Kittle is always going to play through stuff and go out there when he isn’t a hundred percent. And when he’s not a hundred percent, that’s when you’ve definitely got to do that. But I’ve never done that with a tight end before though.”

Is there any concern at all that the qualities that make him such a special player and an inspirational player in terms of aggression and contact could also be things that could limit him in terms of the recurring injuries?

“Yeah, I think it depends on the injury. I think we’re dealing with an Achilles, calf thing and that’s also because of how explosive he is too. That happens with explosive players who are especially not in the 170s. I think we deal that with Deebo. When you have the size of him and you’re as explosive as you are, things do happen. I used to have it with [Tennessee Titans WR] Julio [Jones]. Not many people who are 230 can run 4.3, so the impact of that power and size putting it into the ground every play, there’s always a higher risk of that type of stuff. So yeah, you have to be concerned with that, but Kittle does take care of himself. I think he got off to a rough start this year and tried to play through some stuff and it’s been lingering. Hopefully this break helped him and hopefully we’ll have some better luck getting back.”

The fourth down tries throughout the league are way up. How has your philosophy on fourth down changed? Has it changed at all since you’ve been a head coach or is the same way?

“I’m the same way. I go for it when I think it’s the right decision to go for it, not just because of what analytics say. I do listen to analytics a ton, and I think it makes a lot of sense, but when it comes down to fourth-and-one, I think I explained this a few weeks ago, but it’s about how you feel in the moment. Where you’re at on the field? What’s the call that you have? What are the fronts that they played? Do you think you can block their guys? How good is the quarterback on the other side? What’s the moment in the game? What’s the weather? There’s a lot of variables that go into that. And I know a lot of people have upped it in the NFL. Especially on their own side of the 50, which is somewhat surprising, but I think guys have had some success with it, which has helped them win games. And I think guys haven’t, which has helped them lose games, so there’s never a right or wrong answer until after the play.”

Do you worry knowing coaches that go for it a lot because it gives them an extra down, so when you’re going against that, is that something that you’re aware of that this guy might really go for a lot of fourth downs?

“You’re aware of it to prepare, you understand a lot of people go for it that might make their third down call a little bit different than what you’re used to. It might be more like a second down call knowing that they have two tries to get it. When you’re expecting that a lot, you don’t always have to be as risky on third down, so I think it changes maybe a little bit how you play. But just because someone’s going to do it doesn’t mean you’re going to play it differently on offense. If it’s working and they’re getting more points than you and you’re having trouble stopping them, then you’ve got to adjust and you’ve got to go, but you always wait to play out the game however it’s unfolding.”

What are you guys getting with DL Charles Omenihu?

“One, we’d been banged up there at our D-Line, outside and inside. Especially here in the last couple of weeks, so we thought it could be important to add some depth to us. Also looking into everything, the fact that getting him this year, a guy that does have another year on his contract. We don’t want to do anything that, we’d love to do something that can help us this year, but you don’t want it to be at the expense of next year. So that made total sense to us. And we just got him in here today and we’ll get him out to practice here this week and I think he’ll fit in.”

Did you follow his career at Texas?

“We studied him coming out, so I’m aware of him coming out, but no I didn’t study him here. That’s what the guys upstairs have been doing. They gave us a tape, our coaches think that he could fit in and I’m excited to have him here.”

You mentioned the other day that LB Dre Greenlaw still had some tests to pass to get his window opened. Is that still possible this week or are you looking at next week?

“No, we’re looking at next week. Yeah, he didn’t quite get to where we want, scared of just re-injury and rushing back a little too early, so we’re going to have to put it off another week.”

With Former Las Vegas Raiders WR Henry Ruggs III situation, obviously it’s terrible and common-sense stuff, but do you have to address anything like that? Or just, how do you talk to your team about situations like that?

“I didn’t address it as a team. I talked to guys individually, just because it’s such a big deal and it’s such a tragedy and it’s such a sad thing to see. We went through the draft process with him a year ago and I think a lot of guys do know him, but just anytime you see something like that, I think we had the same reaction that probably everyone else on the planet has, it makes you sick to your stomach on both sides and something that happens too much in this world and something that everyone cannot see enough lessons on that and why it can end very fast.”

Did Trent’s ankle injury influence what you asked him to do on Sunday?


You mentioned GPS when asked about Aiyuk, not specific to Aiyuk, but how closely do you look at those numbers? Does someone bring them up to you and go, ‘look at this’ or do you look at these numbers yourself?

“No, we get a print up on everyone every day after practice and then on Mondays after the game. So, it’s something that I’ve just gotten more into each year. Early on, I didn’t always think they were that accurate, especially when I’d see [former NFL WR] Miles [Austin] throwing his pads around and showing that he could throw his pads 30 miles per hour and I know he couldn’t run 30 miles per hour. But, you watch so much as coaches and you’re like, ‘man, the guys seemed dead today. Man, they seemed fast.’ And you’re always doing it with your eyes and it’s really nice to match it up with some facts and that stuff really helps.”

Does it really kind of equal some things you see?

“Yeah, you have to take everything with a grain of salt. Like one guy might be the fastest guy on the field that day, but he’s the only guy that got a go route and the DB didn’t cover him, so he finished it for the next 40 yards and was really able to open it up. Where everyone else was running some shorter stuff and couldn’t open it up so it can be deceiving. And you’ve got to look in all of it, just because someone has the fastest time doesn’t mean they were the fastest. They might have the best opportunity. Sometimes, some guys who can’t run get the fastest time and I started trying to figure out how they were doing that. And then I noticed after our stretch, Juice [FB Kyle Juszczyk] and [QB Nate] Sudfeld were all sprinting to the next drill as fast as they could and so they were the only guys who really got like a track time on that day and they weren’t–.”

So the fastest times is what you get?

“No, I get everyone’s time. Yeah, I get everyone’s time.”

But do you get like their fastest time?

“It’ll say their max speed, their average speed.”

Do the players get the print outs too?

“I don’t know if they do, but we definitely bring it up to them. Yeah. Something that I am so glad they didn’t have when I played.”

You mentioned Friday, I think you said you’d have an announcement about DT Javon Kinlaw and his surgery?

“Yeah, not me. Someone who can explain it a lot better. Have they not done that? Yeah, the doctor who did it will it write it up for you guys and get it out and explain it all. So, I’ll try to get on that.”

Will you translate?

“No, I won’t. I’ll re-read it for you guys if you want.”