Offensive Line Coach/Run Game Coordinator Chris Foerster Press Conference
Offensive Line Coach/Run Game Coordinator Chris Foerster
Press Conference – November 18, 2022
San Francisco 49ers
How has this experience been so far?
“It’s been great. The people at The Broadmoor, where we are staying is a great hotel. They’ve done a great job. They’ve made it very functional for us for meeting rooms. The technology, everything there is outstanding. They’ve been great. The Air Force Academy has been outstanding to open their doors for us and let us train. And yesterday, we were on the outdoor field. Today, the snow, we moved indoors. It was even a better practice today, so it was really outstanding.”
Any trepidation at all because it is turf as opposed to grass?
“No. I get it, everybody’s got a thing, but we’ve had guys go down in our practices on grass. We’ve had guys, knock on wood, we go out there, practice hard, everything’s fine. And I think the guys know how to take care of themselves, it’s so hard to put anything on and say so. Guys just know how to take care of themselves.”
This year it’s been noted that T Trent Williams’ outside foot has been a tip off for defensive players as to whether it’s a run or a pass. Is there anything to that? Have you kind of seen that at all?
“Yeah, I’ve worked with Trent since 2010, on and off in those years. And Trent is always conscious of it. Yeah, there are times when, not counting third downs and empty back fields where it’s obviously passing situations, we’re always monitoring to see where he is, and he was always working on it. Sometimes you just get in a situation where you start getting your stance, you realize what you need to do to get your job done, demands that you just say, yeah, whatever, I have to get my job done. And other times, there are times where he could be more conscious of it and so it’s a constant battle with every player. Every player, could give a tip. Whether it’s Trent with his foot, whether it’s [T] Mike [McGlinchey] with his this, or [OL] Spencer [Burford] with this or the center with this, when he is going to snap the ball, we’re always looking at it. We’re listening to the TV copy, we’re listening to everything. We’re trying to see what the other teams may or may not get on it. If they think it’s a tip, again, we’re working on it, Trent’s working on it, so that’s about all I can say.”
What are traditional, typical tips that offensive linemen often have? Just where they are in their stances?
“It can be anything. Some guys have nervous ticks, like they’re moving their hand and then just before the ball is snapped they stop it. Forget the tips of an offensive lineman, we had a formation tendency when I was in Baltimore once, where the tight end, if the tight end was off the ball, we had just gotten into a bad habit and every time he was off the ball, he was in protection. Every time he was on the ball, he was releasing on third down and a defensive coordinator, [former NFL defensive coordinator] Vic Fangio actually, every time the tight end was off the ball, they ran a three-man rush and dropped eight, we didn’t have enough guys out in the route and they gave his fits all day. Every time he was on the ball, he rushed more than we could block just because of where we lined up the tight end, so I think everybody’s got something. Sometimes it’s just as much as the stagger of the feet. It can be where he puts his hands. It can be how he holds his head. It can be the center the way– there’s a million things and that’s why you have to stay vigilant with it. That’s why to say that, oh wow, that’s a surprise. We were always conscious of trying to work through all those things with the guys. At the same time, a guy has to do his job. There’s that constant balance. And I’m always making the point, Hey, yeah, I got it for a player, this is good for you in this situation. It’s the same with fundamentals and techniques. This fundamental’s good, if all I have to do is block Jenn, I’m in great shape right here, but if all of a sudden this and this and this happens, I better be doing something different to make sure all those things are taken care of. It’s the same thing with this thing. It may be great for you to be able to block this guy, but with everything else that goes on, maybe it tips off that they change a coverage to know that it’s this, that, or the other thing, so it’s this constant balancing act. So it’s not as simple as you get in the same stance every play, here we go, four yards and a cloud of dust and throw the ball on third down. It’s not that simple. There’s more to it than that, but it’s also as simple as, hey, you have to make sure there’s balance to it. That’s a long answer, but there’s a lot of questions about it.”
Is it one of those things where he’s so good he can almost tell you what’s coming and it’s hard to beat him regardless of knowing what’s happening on offense?
“I think that’s a great way to look at it. I think he’s like, yeah, coach, but I ain’t going to give that guy anything on me by getting in a stance. And I’m like, I got you Trent, but it’s also, what about McGlinchey on the other side where one guy says to the other guy, Hey, it’s pass and all of a sudden there’s no run keys on the other side, so there’s that balancing act that goes on, but it happens everywhere. It’s not just Mike. It’s not just them. It could be receiver splits, it could be the way the receiver stands. There’s a million things the defenses are looking at trying to get a key.”
Can you look for those things when you’re on the sideline when you’re looking at the defensive line?
“We look at it when we’re watching the tape. On gameday, I’m a little bit busier than that, but yeah, you do look at the tape. Sometimes the Surface does, you can see things sometimes on the pictures that say, hey, the defensive end, notice he’s a little bit deeper here. They ran that stunt, so maybe next time they might do the same. Little things like that sometimes show up.”
What’s the number one concern facing the Cardinals defense?
“I’ll tell you what every week is a great challenge. It’s coach talk, but they are a talented group, man, and they play really hard and really fast. [Arizona Cardinals defensive coordinator] Vance Joseph does a great job with that defense. He always has. He uses those guys, maximizes their ability, how they use #9 [Cardinals LB Isaiah Simmons], how they use #25 [Cardinals LB Zaven Collins], #99 [Cardinals DL J.J. Watt] is still playing at a high level. I don’t want to leave anybody out, 3# [Cardinals S Budda Baker] is one of the best players in the NFL right now. They just maximize and Vance does a great job. Matt Burke is their new defensive line coach, I think this year is his first year doing the D-line there. I worked with Matt before. He’s an outstanding D-line coach. He has those guys playing harder than ever, so for an offensive line and a protection and from an offensive standpoint, man, that front seven, eight, if you include the safety’s, both those safeties, they’re greatplayers. This is a talented, talented defense and they present a great challenge both in the run game because they are very physical and they play a physical brand of football and we have to be ready to match it.”
Does your history going up against Vance Joseph help you a little bit in preparation?
“It does, but everybody tweaks things every year. They’ve tweaked something, they’ve taken some pages from the Fangio ‘fan book’, with some of the things they’re doing that’s not traditional for them, so even though you’ve worked with Vance, there’s certain things that I’ve heard advanced in the hallways before talking about, Hey, this situation, this has always been my philosophy. It always will be my philosophy. And so, you realize, hey, I think he’s probably still and you watch the tape and go, he’s still doing that. And that doesn’t give you a huge advantage, except it gives you a little bit of an idea to what might happen.”
Having both RB Elijah Mitchell and RB Christian McCaffrey back there, that tandem, do you like that concept where maybe one back is burned out, they’re a little fresher?
“I love it. In fact, we’ve spoken in here before about the needing… some of the best running backs have had the second back with them. Some of the best running attacks in the history of the NFL have been two backs. You go back to the Green Bay days, [HOF RBs] Paul Horning and Jim Taylor and I always think of [HOF RB] LaDainian Tomlinson and [former NFL RB Michael] Turner was his name, but having that other guy, the two guys in Green Bay [Packers RBs Aaron Jones and A.J. Dillon] work great in tandem together, so it’s awesome. Yeah, if you, if you have a game that you’re going to carry 30, 40 times, that’s a lot of carries. And then if those guys are playing on third down, that’s a lot of snaps. And that’s the one position when you have the ball in your hands, unless you’re the quarterback, that’s where guys are getting really punished. That part of the game is still one of the most physical parts of the game. The way a runner gets hit when he has the football or a receiver gets hit when he has the football, short of taking a shot to a head, it’s all bets are off when you’re running with the ball in the open field. And those guys do it every play, they’ve got to be some of the toughest hombres out there, man, not hombres, sorry, we’re going to Mexico, I didn’t mean that, but they have to be tough guys out there to be able to handle that stuff and to take that beating and so that’s why having two guys tto answer your question is really good. And, I’ll jump one step ahead, it’s not like one guy’s any better at anything. They both kind of have the same skill set. I think Elijah runs with a certain style once they get somewhere, but the great thing about both these guys is they’ve both got great vision, so whatever we block it for, they’re going to find the hole. And whatever they can do past then is on their natural abilities, but very rarely do they miss something. Very rarely are they not getting what’s designed and that’s what’s really nice, you don’t feel a drop off when the other guy goes in and then you feel whatever their skillset is. One may do this a little bit more, that a little bit more, but nothing drops off. You don’t have to tailor plays or anything. You just say, okay, it’s time to give the guy a couple a couple snaps off.”
With a guy like WR Brandon Aiyuk, we can see the progress as a pass catcher, it’s maybe not as obvious or quantifiable in the run game or as a pass blocker, but how has he grown in that aspect?
“B.A.’s a tough guy now. B.A. catches the ball, puts it away, does what he’s supposed to do with it in the pass game, runs his routes, does all that stuff, but in a blocking game, man, he never turns it down. He likes to block. Like all receivers, man, it’s a balancing act between getting him catches and doing everything like that and then blocking. They’re not all going to be trained killers 24/7, but B.A. does an outstanding job of blocking. [WR] Deebo [Samuel] does a great job. [WR Jauan] Jennings does a great job. All our guys, I don’t want to leave anybody out. They all do it. They put their bodies in there, they go after it, they block, they do what they’re supposed to do. And Brandon’s really developed because that’s something in college oftentimes that they’re not expected to do so it’s a learned thing when they get to the NFL.”