Head Coach Kyle Shanahan Press Conference
Head Coach Kyle Shanahan
Press Conference – November 5, 2021
San Francisco 49ers
“So, this week Mo [DL Maurice] Hurst will be out. [DB] Jimmie Ward, out. [RB] Elijah Mitchell, questionable. [WR] Deebo [Samuel], questionable. [DL] Dee Ford, questionable. Go ahead.”
What about RB Jeff Wilson Jr.? A little surprised to hear general manager John Lynch this morning saying that he had a chance to be up for this game. Is that still a possibility?
“Yes, yes, it is.”
Will TE George Kittle and K Robbie Gould probably be activated tomorrow?
“Yeah, Kittle will be up and Robbie. Yep.”
He said, I forget when you said it, but you had put a late November date on Jeff Wilson. Has the rehab worked a lot better than what you expected?
“Originally, I was told early October. And then he had a little bit of a setback. And so that’s when I think you guys asked me, it went to late November after that. I think we were being pretty safe with it, but he’s kind of taken off in these last few weeks and got back to our original guess.”
Does his availability have any– alright, let’s just put it this way. Wilson and Mitchell. Are they related in any way?
“Yes, it does. One, it had to do with how he looked this week, he had a great week. But that is only three practices in, but he looked as good and ready as he could be. So from a health standpoint and everything there was no question on that. Ideally in the perfect world, I’d like to give him a couple more practices too. But with Elijah being questionable and the way he looked this week, that’s why it’s an option.”
Is Dee Ford’s back issue related to what kept him out last year?
“Yes, that’s never fully gone away. That’s something he’ll deal with most likely forever. So something that’s on again off again, it had the reasons mentioned for the first time. We think it came up with this concussion. Some of the symptoms presented as a concussion last week with the hit he took, but it acted up some stuff in the back that has been bothering him this week.”
Deebo wasn’t listed on the injury report last week at this time, is he little worse off?
“Yes. He’s worse this week. Yep.”
How was he in practice?
“He was able to go out there today, which he wasn’t yesterday. But today was a half-speed day, so I think if we went full speed, it would have been probably tough for him.”
He doesn’t seem like a guy that wants– he doesn’t look like he is ready to sit out this week.
“No, Deebo never is. Deebo is a guy that if it’s possible for him to play, he will. That’s why you got to communicate with him a lot and understand his personality, what he wants. And he also understands what it means if he does play and you can’t last through it or has to go out after two series or something, so I’m glad we got two more days to decide that though.”
Our eye test tells us that T Trent Williams is really good. And there are certain metrics that people who grade film say that he’s good, very good. What can you tell us, like how do you judge an offensive lineman? Is there anything you can kind of put into perspective or give us some context on what kind of year that Trent Williams is having?
“Yeah, I think he’s been great so far. I thought he was great last year. Trent always, to me, every year you can make the best highlight tape on him, probably over any o-linemen in football. And I guess that’s been the case probably since his rookie year, because that’s how talented he is. But his consistency this year, he’s had very few bad plays, which that takes him to a complete whole other level. I’ve been fortunate where I’ve always had some pretty good left tackles in this league. From my first time as a coordinator with [Seattle Seahawks T] Duane Brown to my first year in Washington again with Trent to go into Cleveland, having [Former Cleveland Browns T] Joe Thomas, having [Atlanta Falcons T Jake] Matthews in Atlanta, then having [Former 49ers T Joe] Staley here. So that’s the position I’ve been very fortunate with and I’m not going to get into offending anybody on ranking those guys, but I think they all know that Trent’s the most athletic and just a little bit different when it comes to his talent level.”
Because of that and it seems like sometimes he’s inventing new ways to put people on the ground and it’s almost like doing double pass sets. Is it hard to even like use his tape to show other guys because as in like it’s not really easy to replicate what he does?
“Yeah. It’s similar to showing a bunch of wideouts, [Tennessee Titans] Julio Jones tape, saying, ‘hey, just do this. I coached him to do this, so why can’t you.’ I’m just joking, I would never say that, but there’s just certain things that certain people can do that players respect and just watch.”
I have a couple of questions about pre-snap motion. At what point in your career did that become such a focal point for you? Like how has it kind of grown over the years?
“I really think since I was, a receiver coach. I started in Tampa with [Former NFL head coach] Jon Gruden who did shifts all the time. We would do shifts so much so, I got to see all that and why he liked it. I liked starting out with motions because I thought it’d help get receivers open, so I saw it from that standpoint. Just back in the day, you just had to motion and you didn’t get bumped. Those days are over because they’re used to people motioning. But then you start to learn more about defenses, where they play coverage to slot, but then when you go back to pro they play a different coverage. When you go back to slot, they got to go back to the third coverage. And when you watch 11 guys communicate to each other three different times that makes defenses slow down. And there’s also tells you can give the quarterback, so there’s just a lot of advantages to it.”
Do you find yourself thinking, dreaming up these motions at random times? Like how do some of these come to you?
“Yes, when football is on your mind, which is pretty much all the time, except for a few weeks in the summer. That’s what we do. It’s what we think of, so I’m not very good at thinking of stocks and investments. I’m thinking of different ways to draw plays, but I think it’s all based off of how you see defenses. There’s only so many ways you can move five guys, so you don’t just do it to do it, you do it for a reason. You do it to help one of your players or you do it because you see something that you think will affect the defense.”
Can you think of a time that maybe you were like at dinner or something and something just popped into your head? Anything like that?
“Oh yeah. A lot. Yup. When I’m driving a lot. I have autopilot, so I do that real quick.”
So, you let the car drive itself?
“I mean, I never take my hand off the wheel or anything. But dinner, in bed at night. I have pen and paper by my bed. I always have stuff, carry my iPad around everywhere. My daughter had a birthday party at the movies last Friday and it was awesome because I got to just sit there with my iPad for two hours and do that type of stuff. So it’s hard to leave your job and I guess I enjoy thinking about football.”
Is there much you can draw from your offense versus their defense from that game five weeks ago because your offense and what you ask of your quarterback is going to be completely different, I would assume this game than what it was last game and their defense I’m sure is going to be different, so is there much that you can take from that?
“Yeah, I think you always can. It’s the order of what they do is different, but it’s not like they do something you’ve never seen. They do as much as anyone in this league and they’re doing an unbelievable job at. I’ll add I think their defense is ranked third and I believe they’re underrated. They’re one of the– they’re playing as high of level as anyone in this league right now, especially on third down. But they throw so much at you and you go in and we played them a number of years in a row and especially with [Arizona Cardinals defensive coordinator] Vance [Joseph] from 2019 to 2020 to 2021. And if you look at percentages of everything in all those years, they all contradict each other. Everything’s different, so whether we had a different quarterback playing or it was a different year, every time you play the Cardinals you don’t know what you’re going to get, so you have to be ready for everything. And let the game unfold.”
“Oh, I’m talking about just fronts, coverages, blitzes. It’s not like, ‘hey, you just get these when [QB] Jimmy [Garoppolo] is in. And then we got all of these when [QB] Trey [Lance] was in. Every time Jimmy was in, it’s different and when Trey was in it was different too. And so, it’s a rolodex of stuff on defense and that’s with that, with the scheme and with their talent. That’s why they’re so hard to prepare for.”
What would your interest level in Former Cleveland Browns Wide Receiver Odell Beckham Jr. be?
“Has he been let go yet? Because I’m not allowed to talk about him if he hasn’t.”
It’s not official, I haven’t seen it on the wire yet.
“You’re trying to set me up, get me in trouble (laughing).”
We saw the announcement by the Browns.
“Yeah, everyone’s big fans of his. I don’t know anyone who’s not.”
Did you get a chance to watch any of the New York Jets game last night? Just seen [Former 49ers and New York Jets QB] Josh Johnson. I know you talked last year about how you guys wanted to give him a chance to play. Did you get to see that last night?
“I actually saw the end of it. I saw the score of it. I thought it was pretty out of hand. We were sitting here doing some stuff and then I got away from it and thought it was going to be over so I just flipped it on. I saw the last drive and so he must’ve done a hell of a job because they had a legit chance getting back in that game. I remember asking one of the coaches in the office in the third quarter like, ‘hey should they take [Indianapolis Colts QB Carson] Wentz out?’ And they’re like, ‘hell yeah, they should.’ And I was like, ‘that’s not 41-17 with two minutes ago.’ That’s what we did verse Detroit and we almost lost. And I go, ‘so you never know, but that can never happen again.’ And then I turn it on later and Josh was, I think he was going in to make it a one-score game with like two minutes left. It was something like that. And I saw how frustrated he was when they got that, I think it was a pick. But Josh is a competitor, I was real happy for him, just that he got in and got the opportunity that he gave him a chance to come back and win and just watching him on how crushed he was on that turnover at the end. Just shows you the type of competitor he is.”