Offensive Line/Run Game Coordinator Chris Foerster Press Conference
Offensive Line Coach/Run Game Coordinator Chris Foerster
Press Conference – October 6, 2022
San Francisco 49ers
What was the decision behind rotating OL Daniel Brunskill and OL Spencer Burford Monday Night?
“With Dan Brunskill coming back we needed to get him some reps to get him some work back in there. He didn’t have a lot during training camp, he got hurt the first preseason game – I think it was the first preseason game. He had gotten like two plays in or he got hurt on a field goal or extra point, I can’t remember. But yeah, so it was just to get him some reps back in there and get him working. I mean, Spencer’s been doing a nice job, but Dan deserves an opportunity to get in there as well, so we wanted to rep both guys and kind of do it by committee and see how it went. My plan was to give Dan a series a quarter, which I hope was working out to about 25 to 30 plays, which was his pitch count and then we only had 50 plays in the game, and so it turned out being where they played about even.”
Do you feel like OL Jake Brendel has done a good enough job at center that you’re not going to touch that?
“Yeah, right now Dan is the backup center. Dan’s been repping both guards and center. He’ll be the next center in. We had [OL] Blake Hance working at center as our backup previous weeks. Now that Dan’s back, he’ll be the backup and be the inside swing between three inside guys.”
Will you continue to alternate moving forward?
“I think it’s a week to week decision. I really do. I think that we’ll look at each week and see, always if you have a player, we’ve always believed if we have guys that are kind of playing close to the same, you let them play and see if one guy kind of rises above or not. And we’ll see where it ends up, but right now, Dan deserves an opportunity to get in there and play a little bit. Plus, we’re not just doing Dan a favor. It was good for Spencer, especially being his first game against number 99 [Los Angeles Rams DT Aaron Donald]. It was a good chance for Dan to get in there and have an opportunity, who’s played against him and maybe give Spencer a chance to have a blow.”
After the game, Spencer was very complimentary of Dan and how during the course of the week Dan sat down with him and made sure that he was ready to play Aaron Donald. Can you talk a little bit about how much Dan has meant even while he’s been hurt to some of those younger guys in the room?
“Yeah. Dan Brunskill is tremendous in his preparation. He just does a great job. We do this thing that started before I took over the line here. We assign each player a defensive lineman to break down and then on Saturday night we get together and we talk about it, so [T] Trent [Williams] will read one guy and you get the idea. And to hear Trent and Dan’s reports are really astonishing. They do a great job and Dan is just a student of the game. He just really studies it. His detail, his points of emphasis are outstanding and so he was able to pass on to everybody. He gave a clinic to the whole room his opinion on how to play 99. Now it’s just how do you die a slow death? It’s not how you block him, it’s just how you die a slow death. I’m just not going to die right away. Dan, we all know that 99 is going to win and it’s what he does. He’s one of the best defensive lineman ever to ever play the game. But Dan has got the approach and Dan’s approach is one that everybody sees on film. The difference when Dan says that Dan’s actually going out and executing it. It’s one thing when you can watch guys do something, but then to go out and actually do it with the bright lights on Monday Night Football and there’s the guy right in front of you and the first time he hits you, you go, Oh my gosh, this guy is really strong and really fast and really good. Do I trust my technique enough to keep doing it? Dan’s had those reps and so he was able to help the other guys in the room.”
How did Dan come out of the game? Did he have a little rust when he first went in?
“He was fine. He was good. And I think that’s why playing just a handful of snaps does get him going again. That’s why we have training camp and I guess we’re still having preseason games. That’s why we do those things is so that guys can get themselves ready to go and play. And so Dan’s able to get those reps and get himself back in playing shape and condition. Plus, like I said it was a good game for him to get in on.”
He got hurt fairly early in training camp so Burford didn’t really have anybody pushing him. Do you like that element? Especially with a rookie that, okay, you need to continue at that pace that you were on throughout the season or else this starting job could go elsewhere?
“Yeah, I don’t think there’s ever a complacency, although I think it could happen if there’s just no way. But I think just the level of competition each week is so great and the challenge for these guys is so great. Just having enough guys to play, as you can see already, we’re on our third starting left tackle. We’ve been down the road with the different positions all through this season, so we have to get ourselves ready and have everybody ready to go. If a guy’s good enough to play or ready to play, unless the other guy’s clearly better. There is a point to that. I’m not saying it’s incorrect as far as pushing Spencer, there’s plenty to push Spencer. He’s got a ton of things to work on to continue to improve on, and it gets hard. Week in and week out, we talked about it I think up here before where just over the course of a season, as you start showing your game on film, people start seeing what you do well and what you don’t and they start to take advantage of it and they push you to fix it or not. And that’s why it’s nice to have a change of pace.”
With those injuries to Trent and OL Colton McKivitz, do you consider moving Brunskill to left tackle or has OL Jaylon Moore more shown you enough?
“Well, right now it’s Jaylon. Obviously, Dan hasn’t had any work, even last week, Dan, if you asked him, he was rusty when I said, are you ready to go at left guard? And he really didn’t feel comfortable. He didn’t have enough time back and he’s played all five spots on our offensive line since he’s been here, I think. He didn’t feel comfortable going to the left side. So Blake would’ve gone in at left if something would’ve happened to [OL] Aaron [Banks] and then Dan was going to go in at right or center. So, tackle is not even in the equation I would say right now. Dan would be our fourth tackle going into this game. Blake, who’s played tackle before and started some games at tackle in Cleveland, he would be the swing tackle going into the game. He is all five like Dan. He was Cleveland’s version of Brunskill.”
How did Jaylon fair this past weekend?
“Oh, this was better for him. The previous game when Trent got hurt in Denver, that was not a good outing for Jaylon at all. And he worked really hard last week, got refocused and hadn’t been called on to play for a while. So, him going in there this week, it was a much better game for him and we were happy with how he played.”
Where would you say he is in his development right now?
“Well, he goes in as a rookie and he does a nice job and you’re all, wow, this is great. The kid, he did a good job. But then it’s like, have you taken the next step? I think that there was a level of, when you play behind Trent Williams and [T] Mike McGlinchey and you’re kind of like, I’m the swing tackle. I think that was a good wake up call for him in Denver and I think he’s worked really hard and progressed, but just when he got out there, it just wasn’t there. So, that Denver game, unfortunately for us, he didn’t play real well and got our quarterback hit a couple times and whatever happened, happened. But I think that was good, it shook him up a little bit too. He refocused last week and it’s one game. He has to start stringing some together for us. Now we need him.”
Is there a push pull maybe with you and Kyle or other coaches on TE George Kittle’s usage, like, hey, it’d be great to have him on these five run plays and maybe somebody else about getting him into the pass process a little bit more. Is there any kind of conversation about that?
“No, not with George. The personnel groupings are so dictated. There’s so many things that go into who’s in on what personnel grouping. It’s not random. Sometimes it’s how many plays has a guy gone in a row, he’s just run four straight go-routes and we have to put somebody else in at tight end, there’s just so much more to it. There’s certain plays, yeah, where we might focus that this guy needs to be in for that, or we’d love to have these two guys in on this, or we’d prefer that [TE] Ross Dwelley not be here but be here. Those kinds of things. But that’s kind of predetermined and it isn’t really a push-pull, it’s trying to get everybody involved and yet do what’s best for the play and best for the team.”
If you need Kittle on pass protection, is that still just personnel groups?
“Yeah, we know by personnel grouping who’s going to be in and if we see it and think, oh wow, this is something that we need to have somebody else in on, we could do that. But it’s not a push-pull. But yes, there’s specific and there is game planning to it and sometimes it just happens, you call a play boom and you’re like, oh, well Ross is in at tight end and he’s going do it or [TE] Charlie [Woerner] is in at tight end, he’s going to do it. But a lot of times we do try to be specific and make sure that it’s on the plan. It’s not push-pull, we kind of just game plan it up.”
You have been understandably hesitant to make any grand proclamations about Aaron Banks. I’m sure four games it’s not time, but I don’t think he’s had a penalty or allowed a sack and he’s been really impressive. Is he surprising you at all?
“No. We talked about the skillset and the ability all offseason. It was there and he’s applying it and yet it’s still rough around the edges. The production is good and he’s finding a way to get it done, which there’s a lot to be said for that. And in a lot of it he is cleaning things up and they are getting a little bit better. It’s so much better than it was in camp. But at the same time, there’s still more to do. He still can have his moments where it’s like, golly, we have to be better than that. And you got the job done, but heck, it has to be better than that. And that’s where he’s still got those moments, but yet he works really hard and he’s getting better. We’ve said it again, those game reps are just so critical. And when you get them in the game and you’re doing them well in the game, those count double, three times what they count when you get a good rep in practice. And he’s starting to bank some of those, no pun intended, but he’s doing a good job.”
At running back, is RB Jeff Wilson Jr. settling in as your workhorse or because of the short week, do you consider mixing more guys in there now?
“Jeff’s doing a good job. We talked last week about [RB] Tevin [Coleman] and we only had 50 plays. We scored on a couple big plays with the long run and then the long [WR] Deebo [Samuel] pass reception and run after the catch. And then we had a pretty quick drive, the one that we went down and ended up not scoring the one where Kittle was out of bounds on the third down throw. We had some faster drives and not as many plays, and they controlled the ball a little bit from the standpoint of the time of possession. So, without that many carries, Jeff got his fair share. I think if there’s more carries, there’s probably more guys to rotate in. We talked about Tevin last week. We’ve talked about the younger backs as well. They’re very comfortable in the offense right now, but Jeff’s always that workhorse. But I do think you have to be careful with Jeff. I think we’ve talked, he runs like a big back. He is a physical hard nose, tough running back, and if you give him too much, it’s eventually going to be wear and tear and we’ll be down to the next back. So there’s always going to be a balance. We’re very fortunate though with the carries last week and how the game played out that he was able to be the quote unquote workhorse.”