Offensive Line Coach/Run Game Coordinator Chris Foerster Press Conference

Offensive Line Coach/Run Game Coordinator Chris Foerster

Press Conference – December 1, 2022

San Francisco 49ers

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When you face those teams that put six men on the line of scrimmage, it’s pretty obvious, I guess what the challenges are to run against it, but is it possible to sustain success when you’re outnumbered like that? Or what are you trying to do? What’s your approach?

“Yeah, there are six on the line, but it’s still an eight-man box or seven-man box depending on what they decide to play coverage-wise, so you just attack it like you attack any other defense with the techniques, what they present, how they do it. We had it with the Chargers, we had it against Arizona. We’ve had it in numerous games, even the Saints did it to a degree, sort of five on the line of scrimmage, different than they’ve done, but every defense presents challenges. You’re looking at how you attack the front, how you attack the coverages, how you’re going to block support, how it ties in with your passing game, all those things, so it’s a little different, but we’ve still managed to find a way and as more teams do it to you, you see more teams trying different things. Everybody’s doing different things, so you find, oh, that’s a good idea and along those lines. Over the course of time, every front presents challenges. It could be just a straight four-down line, a five-down line, six-down, whatever it is, pressures, movements. There’s just always something that’s a challenge every week and so this week, the style of defense that they play, they play it very well and what you mentioned is a challenge.”

How close are you with Miami Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel and how proud are you of the success he’s had so far?

“Yeah, Mike, I was very fortunate. Mike and I worked together in 2010 without going through the whole history, but I was in his wedding actually when he got married. And I was one of his groomsmen. I was the oldest groomsmen for sure, but I was in the wedding and I think I acted the youngest at the time. It was fun, but yeah, Mike and I grew very close. It was a great to get to know him because he’s instrumental in [head coach] Kyle [Shanahan] and I’s relationship, because I think that in 2011 when he got there, he gravitated to the offensive line room, the story he’s been told before and so he listened and learned whatever he had to. He had some background in offense line play and run game, but he and I just learned together and we worked together closely, but what happened on gameplan days is that I would sit in my office and I’d be doing the game planning and doing the things for the offensive line, and Kyle would be in his office doing the thing for the passing game, and Mike would take the run list down to Kyle, so Mike was like a ping pong ball between me and Kyle. And half the time, if Kyle didn’t like the ideas I was going down there with, he’d yell at Mike for it. Then Mike would come back and say, ‘well, Kyle didn’t like it,’ so he kind of saved mine and Kyle’s relationship because we didn’t have to argue. I’d yell at him, ‘well, you go back and tell him,’ and back and forth like that. It wasn’t that bad, but that’s what Mike’s role was for us and he was able to work between the two of us and he learned in the process. I loved what Mike did too also in Washington, going back there, was that he would come in on Monday all fired up because he’d been working ahead. He’d been taking off all of the runs of the upcoming week’s team and going into non-breakdown games and games that we had talked about researching and he’d come in with 20 ideas. And I hadn’t even graded the tape from the previous game. I said, Mike, just shut up, man, just give me a minute to rest. And he said, ‘oh, you have to look at this. You have to try this. This is a really cool idea,’ and so on and so forth. We forged a really good relationship at that point. It was professional and it was personal as well and we’ve remained good friends.”

I take it you’re not surprised with how well he’s doing in Miami.

“I’m not surprised with what he’s done. No, Mike is, is a very talented guy and it’s only a matter of time before guys like that, with that much talent get an opportunity.”

How pleasing was it to when you went back and looked at it on the film the last 6:18? You didn’t give the ball back, they knew you were going to run, you ran it anyway. For an offensive line coach, that has to be Nirvana?

“We didn’t give up the sacks, but [QB] Jimmy [Garoppolo] got hit too much on Sunday, so there was a lot of reasons to be upset, but that last 6:18 wiped it all away from me. You just take that ball and they kind of know what’s coming. It’s not bragging, I don’t ever want to come across as that guy saying, ‘oh, hooray for us’, but it is nice to be able to accomplish something like that. You just don’t want your defense to have to go back on the field. You want to be able to ice a game, we call it four-minute offense. You like to get that ball with four minutes left, get a couple first downs, get it to the two-minute warning, and if they’ve used their timeouts, you can kneel it out, so the four-minute offense is a big part of it. To do it with six minutes left is really good. I always laughed when I coached in Tampa and those great defenses in the years in Tampa with [HOF NFL head coach] Tony Dungy and [former NFL coach] Monte Kiffin running the Defense, and obviously [Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike] Tomlin and all those guys were there. The classic was that we always would say we started four-minute offense if we had a three-point lead, so it might be the middle of the third quarter, we’d be running the ball every single down, just running it out, because we knew they weren’t going to score on the defense. [Former NFL head coach] Brian Billick did that when he was in Baltimore when he had that great defense the year they won the Super Bowl. Man, they’d get a three-point lead, you’re grinding it out, it’s always fun to be able to do that. It’s a lot of satisfaction in a game where we really hadn’t run the ball very well, hadn’t protected, it was a battle, it was a grind. It was a tough, hard-fought game between two really physical football teams and so to be able to do that at the end was pretty cool.”

We’ve asked you about RB Jordan Mason in the past and you said we have to make sure he’s ready for the bright lights and the big moment. Did he answer some of those questions at the end?

“He did a great job. I think Kyle mentioned it, the only worry is you put him in there and hold onto the football. You’ve been sitting on the sideline all day and then all of a sudden, you’re out there, but they practice ball security all the time, Coach [Bobby] Turner, [assistant head coach/running backs] coach [Anthony] Lynn do a great job with that and I said it before, these guys have worked really hard. The one about thing about Mace is, man, he’s busted his butt all year long, done a great job, been prepared for an opportunity. When he gets the opportunities, he’s making the most of it, so I’m really excited for him and he did a nice job in that moment. It was nice to be able to get [RB] Christian [McCaffrey] out, have a guy in there that was able to handle it and do the running and pound it out in those last six minutes.”

I’m sure both him and RB Ty Davis-Price are in the mix this week to get some carries. How does that decision-making process go among you and Anthony and Bobby and Kyle about which young guy gets the most opportunities on offense?

“Well, that’s a decision that we all.. we were in there talking today and we’re watching the tape and you see him make a run and you ask a question, how’s this guy doing? How does he seem in the meeting room this week? How’s he doing with the gameplan? And it kind of levels itself off. You say this guy’s running better, it really is kind of a collaborative effort. We just talk it out and then during the game it’s like, Hey, somebody seems to have a hot hand or somebody doesn’t. He’s missed a hole or he tweaked something on special teams, you just don’t know. There’s a lot of variables, so we’ll just see how it goes, how it plays out.”

The block that TE Tyler Kroft had on WR Deebo Samuel’s touchdown run against the Cardinals where he moves around and has the skate technique. How long have you coached that or how long has that kind of been around as far you know?

“I don’t know. I hesitate to ever say somebody, especially if I’m around it, invented anything because it was probably done before for sure, but that technique and whatever was done, I’ve seen it in various forms and shapes and that play, I remember seeing it back. I think it’s when [former NFL head coach Gary] Kubiak was in Houston, I don’t know how long they’ve been doing it and I don’t know if they originated it, but yeah, it’s a cool technique. It’s a nice way teams have done it before where you start one way, come back the other way, setting up a play. It’s a play off of a play and you’re trying to give a little fake like you’re doing one thing and get them to play it, then you come back and do something else, so it’s a cool technique. It’s a cool play when it works.”

It’s worked quite a bit.

“Yeah, it’s been a good play for us and so much of some plays in football are predicated on the look and sometimes you wait, I remember we a similar play against the Rams a couple year ago. We must have called three plays, trying to get that play run, but we could only run it against a certain look and so we kept running these other plays, chasing, trying to get that play run. And we never did get it run because the look never presented. You’re like, wait, we can’t keep calling these other plays. We’re trying to get that play called, but we need this look and we’re not getting it, so we have to get away from it, so a lot goes into it, it’s a cool play, it’s a cool technique when it works. It’s a good deal.”

How would you describe everyone’s energy out in the rain today?

“Oh, it was great. Sometimes the little change, the cold weather, rain, as long as you’re not doing it every day. It’s kind of a little adversity, the guys were great. It was a very energetic practice today. Luckily for us, the fields were in really good shape, so even though it’d been raining, that’s always the concern. The rain is one thing in dealing with a wet ball and sloppy, but it’s the field and if the field gets unmanageable, then you start worrying about injury and things like that. Fortunately, we came out of it in pretty good shape and it was great energy today. Really good energy.”