Offensive Line/Run Game Coordinator Chris Foerster Press Conference

Offensive Line/Run Game Coordinator Chris Foerster

Press Conference – September 22, 2022

San Francisco 49ers

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Head coach Kyle Shanahan said he’s been pleased with how OL Aaron Banks has been playing, what have you seen from him in these first few weeks? It seemed a little challenging for him in the preseason?

“Yeah, we talked about it in the in the offseason, it’s a developmental process. So he’s got a couple games in and he’s made steps every game. There’s always stuff to work on., but he’s made some nice strides these first two weeks. That’s two weeks, 17 game schedule and hopefully a post season, so we have a long way to go, but he is developing. I was talking with him the other day and he actually commented on, I said, ‘how’s it feel getting game reps?’ And he said, ‘man, it’s different.’ As much as we practice, as much as we work on things, the speed of the game, they’ve got other things to look at, using the offense to your– whatever the things were, so he’s been benefiting from the game reps and he’s feeling the benefit and also feeling, oh boy, these problems are these things that I need to work on. I can see why I need to work on them, because they’re showing up. It’s been good for him. It’s been a good process.”

Obviously, QB Jimmy Garoppolo’s been around for a while, when you have an offensive line that has spent a whole offseason working with QB Trey Lance who’s a very specific style of quarterback could run and things like that. And you have Jimmy who maybe doesn’t do some of those things, are there teaching points that you have to kind of recalibrate with your group?

“There’s not much, it’s really just primarily in the running game and protection wise, it’s pretty much the same stuff. Kyle, the way he coaches the quarterbacks, the drop back pass and play action game is very consistent with the run game. And we try to build the run game, all of it, so that it all kind of marries anyway, even though we go zone read or other things with the quarterback, there’s some that’s unique, but all of it has carry over to parts of our base offense anyway. So some minor technique things that we won’t have to work on as much anymore that we probably won’t have a running quarterback, so that’s it. But as far as the rest of it, in the pocket, mobility, that stuff, it’s not much of a change at all.”

You were talking, was it last week or two weeks ago, about basically a catalog of plays that you guys have built? Is it just a matter of just taking different plays out of that catalog that suit Jimmy as opposed to Trey?

“Well, the pass game is obviously the passing game and obviously they’re going to do the things that work for both those guys, but the run game. Yeah, there’s just some of the plays in the catalog that are specific for quarterback runs, probably won’t be a part of our plan as much anymore. Although Jimmy did score against Chicago last year on a quarterback read play, and God, he scored twice. He scored on a play that should have gone to [WR] Deebo [Samuel] and then he scored on one that was a designed quarterback run play. So Jimmy has the ability to run a little bit, just obviously not as dynamic as Trey.”

How would you just kind of describe the running back core right now? You lose RB Elijah Mitchell the first week, you lose RB Ty Davis-Price last week, but you have RB Marlon Mack now, you have RB Tevin Coleman back.

“Yeah, I need a program and a depth chart to know who’s up for sure. So it’s been rough at that position for those guys. Unfortunately, they’ve suffered some injuries to some guys, they’ll all be back, but it’s been tough. So those guys all, I said it last week, with Ty last week, they work really, really hard, man. They come out there every week. They work to understand and they know with Kyle’s system, the yards are there for guys, if you’re willing to learn and to listen and to do what we’re supposed to do. All the guys are doing it, but yeah, Tevin’s back and he’s has familiarity with Kyle, both from Atlanta and here. And then Mack has been here and he’s obviously learning right now and going through that process.”

What did Jeff Wilson Jr. show you last game?

“Jeff’s awesome. Jeff’s one of my favorite guys on the football team. In fact, my son came to visit during training camp and immediately his favorite player was Jeff Wilson. You just can’t help it, and he’s in his twenties, he’s not like a 10-year old or something. Jeff’s just a wonderful guy. I remember at the end of 2020 and we played Arizona and they had everything to play for and we were really out of it. And Jeff Wilson just took that ball and pounded them. I love the way Jeff does it. Now Jeff’s thing has been, out of all of it, has been durability. He runs like a big back. He runs physically. He runs tough. Jeff Wilson comes to work, every day with a smile on his face, a real pro, a joy to be around and it’s just so great to have him back there. You just have to always be, with all of them, you just can’t wear them out. That’s why you have to have a couple guys back there that can tote the rock, even on the good running teams. When you look at Cleveland, who’s an excellent running team, they’ve got the two runners, you’ve got [RB Nick] Chubb and you’ve got [RB Kareem] Hunt, and traditionally [NFL Hall of Fame RB] LaDainian Tomlinson, there was another guy with LT. There’s traditionally, always a second guy, so it’s not going to be Jeff Wilson, just toting the mail every single snap.”

Are you nervous because it’s Jeff Wilson and a lot comes, some question marks and you just said–?

“I’ve got a lot more to be worried about than who’s carrying the football. There’s a lot, you’ve got to block the two edge rushers and things like that. Obviously, there’s a learning curve for guys. I use that word a lot, but there is. Guys who haven’t been here have to learn, so you hope that they do well and I’m not nervous, but excited for them. They have an opportunity. I’m excited that they get a chance to show us what they can do, and then hopeful that they do the right things.”

Is RB Jordan Mason ready to be that number two guy if called upon?

“Like when I was asked in the offseason about the guards, you don’t know until they’re playing. So J.P. showed some promise, that’s why he made the football team. That’s why he is here. Shows good things in practice, saw some nice runs in the preseason, so now we’ll have to see when he gets in with live bullets. If it’s Sunday Night Football, bright lights, the whole nation watching, the whole league watching, let’s see what happens.”

Was Ty’s injury a surprise. It’s a fairly significant injury, he is going to miss a few weeks, but I don’t think he ever came out of the game because of the injury. Kyle even said, he didn’t know until like Monday.

“Yeah, we didn’t know, so it is surprising when they said the length of time and what the nature of the injury was, it was surprising, but it is what it is. Tough kid, played through it. And maybe if he hadn’t, it would’ve been better, I don’t know. But it’s too bad for him, but hopefully he comes back fast.”

What have you observed quarterbacks coach Brian Griese obviously has spent his life in football, so he knows the game, but he has never been officially a coach. What have you observed from him just as a coach?

“Brian’s been awesome. He really has been. I mean, I’m not going to stand up here and say, ‘oh, he’s a terrible coach. He should have stayed in the booth. I’m not going to say that.’ He’s done a really good job, honestly, he has, he’s embraced it. I’m sure there’s days where he wonders, what are we still doing here after 16, 17, 18 hours? I can’t speak for him, but I think there’s days where he probably wonders that. I see the look in his face, like, is it always this crazy? But he’s been great, man. He’s been great with the players. He adds a perspective. He’s all in. He’s very honest. He’s very professional. He’s got his opinions. He speaks them. There’s nothing better than to have a guy that’s willing, who has an opinion, right, wrong or indifferent, and he’s willing to speak it, because we do need everybody’s thoughts and opinions as Kyle’s trying to formulate how we go forward. And Brian’s not afraid to do that. And he gives a perspective both as a former player and now being close to these quarterbacks and having a connection because of that former player, it’s been really, really cool to watch he and [assistant quarterbacks coach] Klay Kubiak work with these guys and Brian’s done a great job.”

You mentioned the guards, they and the interior offensive line as a whole are going to have really their first true test of the season, up against Denver Broncos DL D.J. Jones on Sunday. How do you prepare them for a player of that caliber and how do you think they’re going to rise to that challenge?

“Okay. Well, first of all, I’m really excited we talk about guards so much. Secondly, you said first challenge of the year, all the first two games were great challenges as well because the last two guys, those guys were giants in there and they were a great challenge for our guards. Obviously, D.J.’s a great player. We have great respect for him as well as the other players on the interior of their defensive line, the challenges going on the road, the crowd noise, like I said, the bright lights all the attention, the focal point, Hey, the guys have played good the first couple games and all those things. And now it’s only two games and yes, it’s been against some quality opponents. The guys, it’s going to be a challenge for them. It’s always a challenge. It’ll be a challenge all year long, you go through a couple good games, then you have a bad game. I said it to Aaron in the offseason, particularly. I said, ‘Hey Banksy, at some point, you’re going to go through this process. You’re going to be playing well and all of a sudden, you’re going to hit the skids. All of a sudden, the wheels are going to feel like, oh my God, are the wheels coming off? Am I going to be able to survive it? It’s your first year playing full-time. And then all of a sudden, you’ll either come back from that or you’ll be standing next to me on the sideline. And that’s what’s going to determine this season for you.” And so far so good, but at some point, maybe it doesn’t ever wobble, but I coached [T] Trent Williams, his rookie year, it wobbles as a rookie, I promise you that.”

How is it to play at that elevation?

“I went to school at Colorado State and so I would say when I would come back, I lived in Arizona. What am I talking about, 40 years ago, but anyway, I think the altitude still was the same back then, when I came back, it was always, there was a couple days, you feel it, but it’s not like it stops you from doing anything. I don’t know, get on a treadmill when you go up there, you’ll see yourself. You just can’t quite feel like you’re catching a full breath, but it’s not like it’s debilitating that’s always been my experience with it.”