Offensive Line Coach/Run Game Coordinator Chris Foerster Press Conference

Offensive Line Coach/Run Game Coordinator Chris Foerster

Press Conference – January 11, 2023

San Francisco 49ers

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Three young fathers in your group, three new kids in your group. How has it changed your younger guys, having their first children?

“I don’t know, right now. Obviously, this week [OL] Jake [Brendel] and his wife had a baby, and a great story with that, but it’s, I don’t know, I don’t notice anything. I really don’t see it and do they mature more? I don’t see it. All these guys are all pretty hardworking, good guys, so I don’t see much change in the guys. And obviously, we all know that it’s a huge change, a huge life change to have a baby and all that goes with it and their commitment to things they need to do, but I think these guys have been good all along with it.”

How was Jake throughout the game?

“Well, I didn’t even know until after the game. I’m sure you guys heard the story, but seriously, we found out he and his wife went early in the morning, went into labor, they went to the hospital, had the baby and he was back over here dressing for the game and nobody knew that they’d had a baby and pretty soon somebody said, Hey, ‘Brendel and his wife, they had a baby.’ And we’re like, well, what are we going to do for a center today?’ And he was like, ‘well, no, he’s in the locker room changing and so, he went, they did it and luckily everything went smoothly and she was able to deliver. He stayed there for about an hour or so, came over, suited up and played the game. I didn’t know the whole game. I would’ve never noticed and then after the game I heard the story and I’m like, ‘wow, this is pretty crazy,’ and he did a great job.”

How much do you have to consider the fact that it’s probably going to pour when you’re game planning?

“Yeah, the fortunate thing is we’ve had some rain here, obviously in Northern California lately, so we’ve practiced in it a lot. We had some rain games early, the first Seattle game had some rain, obviously not to the extent that we’re going to probably get this weekend. And then obviously the Chicago game, the first game was great until the end. It was fine, you could manage and everything was going along pretty smoothly until the end and then it just became an absolute, there was no way you could play in it. I think you just have to practice in it, which we’re doing, which is really fortunate and you just get used to dealing with a wet ball. I was noticing the quarterback-center exchanges today were good, knock on wood, and the guys, they do a good job with it. It’s really good to be able to practice in it. You get to deal with the weather and deal with the elements, the wind, things like that, so it was a good practice today that way.”

It doesn’t seem like the elements shake QB Brock Purdy either, does it seem like he’s just still even keeled throughout everything?

“Yeah, what they are called mudders? They’re good in the mud. You have running backs like [Miami Dolphins RB] Raheem Mostert was much more of the fast track, where [Miami Dolphins RB] Jeff Wilson [Jr.] was more of a guy that could sludge it out in the mud. I think Brock Purdy having played at Iowa State, we have to assume he played in bad weather there and so he has probably gotten used to it through the years. And it is an adjustment when you play in that weather. Having coached in Tampa and having coached in Miami, you go up into those cold weather games, no matter how hard you try, it’s hard to acclimate in that short period of time. Rain is the same thing, but fortunately we’ve had enough of it that I think our guys have had a chance.”

Four sacks allowed in this game, it seemed like uncharacteristically a struggle of a game for the offensive line. What’d you see from the breakdowns there?

“Yeah, the breakdown was, this is not pointing fingers, we didn’t execute our plan well enough. [Arizona Cardinals DL] J.J. [Watt]’s two sacks, we actually had the chance to double team them and we missed the opportunities. We didn’t quite do what we should do on it and he’s a good player and he made plays and his last game, if you’re going to say he got us on two, we still won the game. He got two sacks for his last game, good for him. We tried not to give it to him, but he still got us and it wasn’t the one-on-one matchups that he won. It was chances that we had to kind of neutralize him and we didn’t take advantage of them and he was still able to get to the quarterback. The other two sacks, one was just they ran a good stunt on it and then the other one, Brock scrambled backwards and probably could have thrown the ball away on that one where it didn’t need to. There were a bunch of games this year where I’ll bet you [QB] Jimmy [Garoppolo], Brock or even [QB] Trey [Lance], the first game, avoided some and then this one you think you’ve got it locked down and the next thing you give up four sacks and it’s the ebb and flow of the whole thing, so obviously it’s a big point of emphasis this week. You don’t want that to start being a factor because those sacks, they take you out of drives, especially first and second down sacks, so you have to be sure you can you can tighten up and make sure it was good. It was a good lesson for us to say, let’s get this detailed up. When we say this, it means this and we weren’t quite on the details and we missed those ops.”

Obviously, you don’t want your quarterback to take a 17-yard sack. Kyle said he probably knew exactly what happened when Brock hit the ground and head coach Kyle Shanahan was in his ear. What is Kyle like in the headset when he is talking to Brock after a play like that?

“This is PG here, right? This is a PG-13 audience. Yeah, Kyle, obviously we all get animated on game day. No, he’s great. He always will tell the guy what he should have done and he’s just very straightforward with guys. One thing about Kyle, he’s very honest with the players and straightforward and on game days there’s always a little bit of emotion behind it, but man, ‘you have to get rid of the ball.’ ‘Dude, we can’t take that kind of sack.’ That’s a lot of field position that we’re giving away that we possibly could back them up inside the five or 10-yard line and we lose those 17 yards on a third down sack, that’s really hard to overcome.”

How does Brock respond to that?

“I think he’s pretty good. You guys see Brock’s demeanor. He’s a pretty serious-minded guy, so sometimes you can’t really tell what he’s thinking. You can’t tell if he’s mad or if he’s happy or what he is, so he seems to take it well. I think he’s a pretty tough-minded kid and can handle tough coaching, but there’s a lot and no matter how tough you are, you’re going through a lot every single day at that position, you’re learning a lot, a lot falls on your shoulders, so sometimes it’s hard, but these are lessons he has to learn. And we’ve talked about it before, these are invaluable lessons when you go out on gameday and you get to experience these things.”

You’ve gameplanned a lot for Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll’s defense. What’s challenging or unique about game planning against him in particular?

“They’re just very sound and they’re well coached, so they’re going to be where they’re supposed to be and even when you know where they are and you go block them and you have a good play, you still have to block them. You still have to break a tackle or you have to finish them so they don’t come off and make a play. They’re well-coached, not just in the scheme itself, but in then playing their techniques and fundamentals and they’re very good at doing it. Through the years, Pete has always been, his defenses, I remember back when he was in New England, it’s always been sound. He and [former NFL head coach] Monte Kiffin, how they put the defense together has changed through the years as to what they’re running, but the base fundamentals of how you stop the run and the gap control and the fits and how they do things has been so consistent through the years. And it’s a challenge. It’s a real challenge. You have to be on point with how you block them. It’s not just enough to say, okay, we got a guy for him, it’s not just having a guy for him. It’s how you’re going to get him blocked, because they have some challenging guys with [Seattle Seahawks DL] Al Woods back. He wasn’t there the first game, they lost 90 [Seattle Seahawks DL Bryan Mone] in our game, but 97 [Seattle Seahawks DL Poona Ford] is back and playing well. 93 [Seattle Seahawks DL Shelby Harris], the inside linebacker [Seattle Seahawks LB Jordyn Brooks], they lost their leading tackler. Those other two guys are really good special teams players, they’re two inside linebackers now and they are good in space. They’re hard to block. They’re special teams, right? They’re in opens areas, they’re used to dealing with things and so you have to get on them and you have to finish or it might look like, oh, there’s a play that’s going to break out and it’s five yards, it’s four yards. And then when you get through it, the whole thing is 6 [Seattle Seahawks S Qaundre Diggs] at free safety. That guy makes sure that nothing gets through. The big run at the end of our last game 6 was blitzing and so they had a different guy in the middle of the field, so when our runner broke through [RB Jordan Mason] Mace, he was able to make that guy miss, where if it was 6, I don’t know if he would’ve or not. I hope he would’ve and we would’ve had a big run to ice to game, either way it was a first down, but it is, that’s what that defense is and so you can imagine, even though the style of defense has changed, imagine back when it was the legion of boom. Yeah, then you have all these great players at every single position. And so, they’ve gone through a little bit of transition, but these guys still play very sound. The fundamentals are there. Long answer, but I’m telling you, I have a ton of respect for Pete and the defenses that they’ve run through the years and it just really makes you lock down and say, guys, I’m telling you it’s not just a normal this block or that block. You better be on your details.”

Was Arizona the best so far at kind of attacking Brock up the middle to chase him because he is a shorter quarterback and you want to take away that cleanness in the front of the pocket?

“They really didn’t. That’s what happened, but it was more that there were normal rushes. It wasn’t like they had a scheme to attack Brock a certain way because they weren’t doing a lot. It was just what came free, what we didn’t pick up, who got beat. It happened to be in that area, it wasn’t around the corner, it was up the middle, but it wasn’t like by design they were pouring three up the middle or all that. There wasn’t a lot of pressure actually. There were single backer dogs and a couple little things that they did in there that created some of it, but I don’t think it was trying to force him to do one way or the other. The pressures came every different ways.”

Have you seen much of that this season?

“No, because I think there’s a lot more right now with, I don’t know, I’m not on the other side of the ball with the defense, but I think there’s a lot more with who you have to cover. There’s not as much of that right now. I think they’re more concerned about, they run their five-man rushes. They do what they do to come free. When they pressure, it’s well thought out, hoping to get a guy free, but they have issues with covering our guys as well, so I think that’s a little bit harder to say, we’re going to sell out to make sure Purdy can’t step up in the pocket or do you think because he’s shorter he can’t see or whatever that might be. I think there’s more to it with the coverage of our players and making sure that it won’t matter what you’re doing up the middle if you can’t cover, the ball’s going to come out and a play’s going to be made, but it could be that we might see some of that at some point.”

So, he gets rid of the ball fast enough?

“Oh, he’s outstanding. He goes through his progressions really fast. He gets the ball out outstandingly and does a good job and like everybody, he could be a little better on some and some of these it’s amazing how he gets to ball out. That play he made against Miami to [TE George] Kittle in his first game when he came in for Jimmy, the hot throw was unbelievable. It really turned the game for us. It was one of the better throws of the season that we’ve had this year from any quarterback and he has that in him, but he’s still has to go through it. It’s still the same thing, maybe a little late to this one, little early. This one he didn’t see this, scrambles when he shouldn’t, all those things.

I don’t think RB Elijah Mitchell has played Seahawks yet this season, how nice is it to have him back for this game?

“Oh, I love Elijah. Elijah’s just such a physical runner. The touchdown run he had where he ran the guy over at the goal line or whatever it was, he just does a great job with running the football. He’s nice to have. He and [RB] Christian [McCaffrey], as we’ve talked about it here before, it’s always nice to have two backs. And then you have 24 as well to get in there. 32 [RB Ty Davis-Price] gets in there a little bit, so now there’s a rotation. You don’t have to wear a guy out. A guy doesn’t have to have 28 carries, now he might because he’s got the hot hand that day, but it’s nice to have guys to roll through there and it’s a different style. You’re gearing up to tackle Elijah then the next time it’s Christian through the hole and he is not going to attack you the same way as Elijah doe and they all have a different skillset, so it’s nice for us to be able to utilize them in different ways and also just in certain parts of the field, there’s a lot that goes into it, but it’s nice to have those two guys, really nice to have them back.”

How do those guys work together to sort of counteract the old saying of a running back needs a certain number of carries to kind of get in a rhythm, it seems like you’re able to put guys in and they are sharp right from the initial carry that they get, they’re not having to feel their way through the game?

“That’s pretty accurate. Yeah, I think that with our system, and again, Kyle has done such a great job through the years of how we coach the runners. Yes, there’s a little bit of a feel, but it is not a one game’s different than another game. Our run game is our run game and how we read it, how we key it and what we do, yeah, there might be a feel of how a defense is playing it that day a little bit, but for the most part they’ve seen that at some point during the year because everybody, even though the defensive structure may change, the techniques, how they play it, how they fit the runs, it’s kind of consistent or they’ve seen it somewhere. Miami does it like, Chicago does it like this team and then there’s another group of teams that kind of fit it the same way, so once you’ve seen it a few times, yeah, the backs may tell you that, I’m not a runner, hey, I need a rhythm. I need this and that, but at the end of the day, the way we coach them, I think the guy can kind of rotate through and kind of pick right up where they left off.”