Offensive Coordinator Mike McDaniel Press Conference

Offensive Coordinator Mike McDaniel

Press Conference – September 23, 2021

San Francisco 49ers

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You have such a new group of running backs that you’re working with. With this new guy RB Jacques Patrick does he come in already fairly well versed in the offense? How much getting up to speed does he need?

“There’s a lot of offense and a lot of plays, so there’s a lot of get up to speed in the process. There was some carry over with the scheme that they do in Cincinnati in terms of the run play specifically. So, it hasn’t been starting from square one, but again, it’s learning a new language. The good thing about our offensive is that you can kind of compartmentalize portions of it, learn what you need to learn. And there’s no shortcut. There’s been a lot of hours worked by [running backs] coach [Robert] Bobby Turner [Jr.] and him putting in. We’ve got a couple of new guys and that’s kind of been the case for everybody. So, it’s been fun and it’s just opportunities to coach.”

Have you been encouraged by what you’ve seen from RB Trey Sermon in these two practices with what he could do limited wise?

“I’ve been encouraged in terms of talking to him and he feels good, but again it’s a protocol. So, as a coach, have to prepare, you can’t be like, ‘oh, well, we thought he was going play.’ So, you’re encouraged by it, but you approach it like he’s not going to play because that’s the worst-case scenario and then move on from there.”

Did you spend extra time this week sort of formulating a plan depending on which running backs are available? Do you have different plays for different guys?

“Yeah, there is a part of just preparing what you can call and what you cannot call with certain people. Because again, it’s a short time span from when they got in the building. So, you want them to operate full-speed and be fair to them and let them play fast. So, you think through it, make sure that schematically you don’t do anything that challenges their brain too much because their job is to carry a football and not get tackled. And it’s hard to do that when you’re thinking too much.”

With all this talk about the running backs, it makes it sound like the offense is hamstrung, but you have WR Deebo Samuel, you have WR Brandon Aiyuk, T Trent Williams. Those three guys weren’t around the last time the Packers came. So, do you feel that you can dial up almost anything you want?

“No. The biggest thing is that we have a group of men, 10 other players, including the quarterback that are also responsible for running the football as well. So, you make sure that everything’s tight and that everyone’s comfortable doing what they do. And you don’t really approach it like, ‘Hey, we can’t.’ No, we’re a professional football team and we have an organization with a great personnel department that gives us talented players. And our job is to use running backs to run and that’s really all we really look at.”

Kyle said there was no thought that RB Trenton Cannon was going to play on offense, obviously he did like a snap. Can you just talk about what was going on in the fourth quarter when all the running backs were getting injured?

“Yeah. It’s not fun. It’s not fun at all. But again, it’s also challenging and that’s part of our job and responsibility to the 49ers’ organization and the fan base. So, you were prepared for the worst-case scenario, but you’re not super pumped up for the worst-case scenario. Not because we have a ton of confidence in that player and that’s why he’s on our team, but more that you don’t want to put someone in a position to fail. So, you want to do stuff that your players are comfortable with. So, it was wild and not the best-case scenario by any means. But that’s one of the things that we preach.  One thing that [Head] coach [Kyle] Shanahan preaches all the time is that doesn’t matter. There’s going to be turmoil each and every game. It’s how do players respond? Okay. If a player doesn’t know what to do, it’d be great if the fullback or tight end told them what to do. You put it on the collective and he’s just in one week, far ahead of where he was last.”

I think his first practice was Thursday, what percent of the offense did he know Sunday?
“I don’t know. You’d have to ask him. It’s funny because in those situations you don’t get reps. But we don’t totally know all of what he knows. You’re hoping that he’s observing the other players do stuff, but you kind of have to ask during the game, ‘are you comfortable with X, Y, or Z,’ because you truly don’t know because we haven’t had the opportunity to get him the reps to do it. But that’s something that is important in player-coach communication that you have to be comfortable with just being honest and saying, ‘yeah, coach, I don’t know what that is.’ And fortunately, Kyle called a play that he was familiar with and we just kept it moving.”

Deebo Samuel on the radio said yesterday that on his big gainer, he lined up on the wrong side. Did you notice that immediately?

“Oh yeah. No, it’s one of those fun rollercoasters where you’re like, ‘what is he doing? Oh, no. Oh yes!’ One of those things. What was cool about it was that Deebo and [WR] Trent [Sherfield] understood the issue, still looked at the clock, had awareness. And then [QB] Jimmy [Garoppolo] specifically knew exactly what was going on, knew his issue, adjusted his technique to compensate for the formation bust and didn’t blink and threw an unbelievable ball between two hook players. So, it was a roller coaster of emotion, especially when he’s threading the needle through two tight defenders and then Deebo spits out across the field.”

That play seemed to be sort of a turning point for the way Jimmy was playing. Was there a sense that maybe some of that chaos and just sort of how it happened might’ve helped Jimmy lock in in a different way? Maybe think a little bit less about everything else that was so frenetic in the first half?

“Oh, for sure. With football, the quarterback position, there’s a lot of similarities to every other sports and you find a rhythm and you get a little more comfortable and you’re thinking less and you’re just reacting because of all your training. It is tough on players, offensive and defensive players, when you’re going three and out because you don’t get in that rhythm and you have all this time between series to think about what you didn’t do and what’s coming next, etc, etc. So, it was nice, that drive in particular, just getting a couple of first downs and him making a play to actually get us in position to make that play on the pass play and the consequential touchdown to [WR] Jauan Jennings.”

I’m wondering if there’s any more nuance to a quarterback sneak than we’re seeing meets the eye. Is it good to have a veteran center there when you’re having those crucial sneak calls at then?

“Yeah. It’s center, guards, the entire offensive line, you can’t have penetration on the edges. I think one of Jimmy’s quarterback sneaks that he had last week, he got hit in the A-gap and then came back out and we don’t get the first down if Juice [FB Kyle Juszczyk] isn’t blocking the edge and Trent isn’t sealing it down. So, yes, a veteran center helps, but it’s the quarterback, he’s a football player that’s fearless. He’s had success on sneaks before and every once in a while, when the game situation allows it, when his number’s called, he’s usually good at it.”

 What was the difference in terms of TE George Kittle of getting 15 catches on 15 targets last year playing the Eagles and why he only had four catches for 17 yards on Sunday?

“It’s a different defense for sure. Like their front, they ended up playing us in a manner that was pretty similar to last year, but the backend and coverages dictate a lot of those things. You’re trying to have an efficient offense and utilize all your skill players. But when you’re getting doubled on third down or if you just have spot drop zone, it just affects things. So, the way the game played out, the way our defense was playing, dictated how Kyle was calling it. And how he was calling it was we started to build some momentum on the line of scrimmage and he didn’t want to steer away from that. I think it was one of the better blocking games that I’ve seen and that’s saying a lot from George. He had a lot of great finishes, really impacted the game as he always does whether he touches the ball or not.”

We’ve seen a lot of like the viral blocks of Trent Williams where he’s throwing somebody around. So obviously, he’s big and strong and fast for his size, but are there little things that he’s doing that maybe we don’t see or that maybe show up on the film that allows him to be as productive as he is?

“Trent’s rare in that he is a freak athlete at the position. Has been a freak athlete at the position for over a decade. But what people don’t realize is how much Trent loves football. So, he continues to get better at little nuances. How to cut a defender off, how to set in pass pro. There’s a lot of things that and his working relationship with [offensive line coach] Chris Foerster, I think all of that is leading him to play some of his best football he’s ever played.”

Kyle mentioned there was a few missed chances towards the boundary, do you feel like as an offense you need to become more efficient at taking advantage of those chances?

“For sure. No, that’s the whole deal. Week in, week out, you’re building towards the end. So, you don’t really ever say, ‘alright, finished product.’ Because right there, you just lost your edge and whether you’re getting exposed now or in a couple of weeks, the end is coming. So, Kyle does a good job of trying to build that culture. I think everyone buys into it where you’re always building to be your best self and our best team and that’s progressing through the year. We may have a great game. We might have a terrible game. That means nothing to the next week. So, I think it’s awesome to get a win when you have a lot of yards and plays left on the field. So that’s the silver lining to it, but whether you win or lose, you’re trying to look at it that same way so that you can try to be your best football team in the home stretch when you’re trying to get a playoff berth or you’re trying to win home field or, whatever your team and your performance has allowed you to do the whole season.”