Offensive Coordinator Mike McDaniel Press Conference

Offensive Coordinator Mike McDaniel

Press Conference – September 16, 2021

San Francisco 49ers

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With WR Brandon Aiyuk, obviously all these guys are competitive and want to have large roles. How has he maybe responded this week? Just the past couple of days after maybe not having as big a role as he’s used to.

“B.A. has done an outstanding job this week answering the bell. I know since he had his little setback with his hamstring, [WR] Trent’s [Sherfield] got more opportunities and has done an outstanding job and deserves to get the opportunities he gets. What’s been cool is watching a young guy who’s always been so talented at every level, who’s probably always been the default starter, regardless, because he’s better than everyone, handle a small obstacle in his career. Now, he had the same amount of reps, the way the game went, in-house with the 49ers it’s not like he’s in the doghouse at all or anything. But responding this week, he’s been running his routes hard, crisp and it’s gotten better with practice so it’s been very encouraging.”

When you look at the practice participation report and it says full practice for him last week and yesterday, are they legitimate full practices for him or is he still sort of limited in a way? I know the snaps probably aren’t, but is he is fully back from his injury?

“Now he is. We try to progressively take our time with that. You’re right about that, you make sure you don’t overload him right when he gets back. But he’s been full participation as normal as all the other receivers that are on the active roster where we’re splitting reps and trying to give guys looks for the game as best we can.”

What impressed you the most how QB Jimmy Garoppolo played and when you’re reviewing the film how well did he do on finding the open guy compared to the last two years?

“It was really awesome to watch Jimmy play this past game. The coolest part was Jimmy is a player that plays his best in game situations tight pockets. And historically, I think he would say this himself, the first game of the season, he’s a little amped up and you’re just not used to getting hit. This game was by far the best that he’s had in those terms. He was awesome with the ball, protected it. Saw the field. It was very encouraging how he played and we were all pumped and I think the numbers speak for that.”

 How do you feel the offensive line played?

“What I can say is they blocked well. I think teams will find moving forward that Detroit presents some problems up front. But you wouldn’t know that from the stat sheet and when you watched the film because of how they really attacked the defenders in the run and pass game. I think they are in a groove right now and got some confidence doing what they like to do best. And I think I’m really excited for this week because it is a tremendous challenge the Philadelphia Eagles present, their D-Line. I’m not sure how it’s been advertised, but on the tape, it is as good as you see out there. So, our group is feeling confident, but knows the challenge ahead. So, they’re excited to see where their game is at which we’ll find out on Sunday.”

 Philadelphia’s defensive line last year gave the team a challenge, 5.5 sacks. Do they look the same from their game film this year?

“They’ve done some schematic changes. They play some 3-4 looks now, but they also have, they did it all preseason, they have all their four-down stuff. I’m sure they have a couple packages waiting for us. So schematically, they’re doing some different stuff and asking their players to do some stuff. And it’s been very impressive that those guys that have been playing one technique for so long have the ability to still play that technique, which they do in nickel and when they’re in their four-man base defense. So, it’s very much like last year, but then there’s an added layer where they’ve learned to play some two-gap stuff. And so, it’s been really impressive to watch. The coaching staff, I don’t know them over there, but I have a tremendous respect for them off the tape because to be able to get that done in a short period of time has been very impressive.”

You obviously look for a specific type of running back for your offense. What are the qualities RB Elijah Mitchell possess where you’re like in the sixth round you look at him and say ‘Okay, that’s a guy that we want’?

“Yeah, I like that question because what you could see on college film you saw last Sunday. He has very good vision and he has a natural feel for negotiating with blockers. There’s a lot of running backs out there that they see space and they just cut right to it. It’s important in our offense to press the line of scrimmage and press blockers and he did that very well. He had speed. He ran violently and got yards after contact. So that’s kind of the common denominator with all the running backs that we’re really looking for. You saw the same type of stuff that last Sunday on his Louisiana-Lafayette tape. It was just a little grainier tape.”

What do mean press the blockers and press the line of scrimmage?

“After getting the handoff just going ahead and maintaining your track as long as you can. Whatever angle you’re on, when you get the handoff, you take that handoff and as long as the offensive linemen give you the line of scrimmage and continue to block, you should continue on that track. Instead of making cuts in the backfield, he would really be in concert with his blockers, I guess is the best way to put it.”

Is cutting back something you see a lot from younger backs? Do they just get impatient with a play?

“Yeah, it’s hard and there’s a lot of defenders trying to tackle you and you’re trying to avoid that. And sometimes there’s just a different type of runner out there that is very comfortable in those high-intensity situations. And I think there’s a composure and vision thing that he possesses that’s very good. And he doesn’t go down on contact easy. He’s trying to break all the tackles and he’s, tough-minded that way. And it comes off in his tape. And it’s what you guys saw on Sunday.”

What’s your assessment of, I know it was just a few snaps, with QB Trey Lance? The running plays in particular, with him and kind of where you’re at in getting that part of it integrated?

“No, plays are plays in football. So, if you could predict the outcome, everyone would do those plays. I think in assessing him, in his opportunities, he did right by what we presented him. There was a couple of situations that I, as the offense coordinator, and I know [head coach] Kyle [Shanahan] looks at it this way and [offensive passing game specialist] Bobby Slowik looks at this way and everyone looks at it like, ‘Hey, it’s my fault. We didn’t put him in the right position,’ but he had nothing that that came up in that game that we’re like, ‘you should get better at this or that.’ His second play, first pass in the NFL was a touchdown. We were pretty happy about that. And then there were a couple of run looks that weren’t the best that we kind of put him at a disadvantage, which we’re okay with, he’s okay with, and we’re moving forward with it.”

 How did RB Trey Sermon handle not being active for the game?

“I didn’t talk to him about it. But I can tell you that the best way I know how he felt is by how he practiced this week. There was a deliberate intent and an extra focus to him, an extra aggressiveness that I think his teammates felt. So, what that told me is, ‘Hey I didn’t like not dressing. I want to play football. So how do I do that? I don’t go and talk to people. I show people.’ That’s kind of the common denominator. Kyle always says to the players and coaches don’t tell me, show me. And he showed I think all of us that he really wants an opportunity, which he’ll get this Sunday.”