Offensive Line/Run Game Coordinator Chris Foerster

Offensive Line Coach/Run Game Coordinator Chris Foerster

Press Conference – October 27, 2022

San Francisco 49ers

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T Mike McGlinchey talked yesterday about how it wasn’t good enough on Sunday and he’s talked in the past about kind of getting in his own head. Do you talk to him or do you approach him differently, knowing his past and his background after a game like that?

“Yeah, I talked to him during the game, I spoke with him and it’s hard to watch him individually during the game because you’re trying to see defensive schematics, you’re trying to see everybody, so it’s hard to get him in-game other than to just try and say, ‘Hey look, just get back to your fundamentals,’ but yeah, definitely have addressed it afterwards. And he’s better than ever. This is, regardless of the result, the follow through afterwards, everything leading up to this has been much better than in the past. So yeah, there were some rough plays there at the end of the game for him. And not good enough by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s different than in past years. Definitely his approach, like I said, his approach since coming off the injury, his approach last year before getting hurt and then how he’s worked on himself throughout was much better. Was the result what we wanted, no. It was still not a good enough result and there’s no excuse for it, so we have to continue to work to fix that.”

When you say approach, you’re talking about just how he handles it mentally?

“Yeah, the approach to what? Okay, so a bad play occurs, one of Mike’s things has been preventing the next bad play. Sometimes it’s kind of one play has led to another and that happened a little bit on Sunday. How do I fix this? This happened, okay, what do I do? And a lot of people are just, hey, just get back to my fundamentals and realize it was just a bad play, so that’s been the approach. He’s been much better that way as far as not letting one bad play affect another, which happened, you saw early in the year. Early, one of the first pass plays of the season, we got a sack in Chicago, then settled down and had a really nice game. That’s been his mindset all the way through, so it was unfortunate. Not a good game, really good player in a game that got out of hand and we have to do a better job.”

With RB Christian McCaffrey, he didn’t have much time to get up to speed before playing the other day. He talked about how coaches and other people were helpful in helping him in that process. Can you just kind of shed light on what that’s like, if you were involved in that especially?

“Well, I would’ve had to wait in line because between [head coach] Kyle [Shanahan] and and Bobby Turner and [running backs coach] Anthony Lynn, he got plenty of tutoring from everybody. Last week was much more about getting him up to speed on the nuts and bolts of the offense. Cadence, snap count, formations, all those types of things and then his specific package for the game and how much we could get him involved in learning the package for the game. So there was much more just that one-on-one, very specific learning, so I was not involved much at all. I was encouraging and just saying, let me know when he is in there and we will try and block for him.”

So does that change this week? Have you been more involved?

“No, it’s actually now even more so with those guys because he’s more involved in all the gameplan and obviously, we’ve talked specifically about plays that are good for him and things like that, but it’s pretty much working with the running back coaches.”

How was T Trent Williams’ first game back?

“He was good. He was good. It was good. I said to him after the game, to be perfectly honest with you, he seemed a little calm, because Trent’s very competitive and he always gets wired during the games. He wants to compete and play hard and play well. And he did, he was more it was a long day. 80 plays for a guy that hasn’t played in a few weeks. He was making sure that he kept his wind the whole game and did all that, so he did a nice job. I think he’ll make another step this week.”

RB Jeff Wilson Jr. ran so well against Kansas City it almost looked like he was making a statement. How has he responded to the addition of Christian?

“Yeah, I think he’s worked really hard. Like I’ve said, you guys have heard me say before how much I respect Jeff and the job that he does and I think he’s handled it like a professional. Anybody that you bring another player in at the position, you’re thinking, Okay, is this guy here to take my job? I can’t speak for Jeff on that, so I think he’s risen to the occasion. He has competed to say, Look, I’m still here and I still do a great job. I think it’s great that we have more than one. I’ve said that before as well. I think you need more than one guy back there and when we get [RB] Elijah [Mitchell] back there, we’ll have three guys and then the young guys are coming along as well, so I really like the group that we have, and Jeff will continue to run hard, as will Christian as will the other guys.”

Kyle talked yesterday about how the process of building his gameplan for a game has changed just a little bit because it’s all different personnel on the coaching staff on the offensive side. How have you seen it because you’ve been around for quite a bit with him?

“It’s all different. We talk about it often. I don’t think there’s anybody on the staff that’s doing the exact same job that they did a year ago. Even though I was the offensive line coach, I didn’t have the duties of run game coordinator and I think every single person you could point to on the offense is in a different role. It’s the same, but it is different. It’s just to all of us, how Kyle uses each one of us, how we all have to supplement helping him formulate a gameplan. It’s just different. He had [Miami Dolphins head coach] Mike [McDaniel] for so many years, who knew what Kyle needed and could go around the staff to get what Kyle needed and help Kyle with all those things. And so now it’s more and it’s a process of realizing, okay, this is what Chris is going to be able to do in this role and still be able to coach the offensive line. This is what [offensive passing game coordinator] Bobby Slowik is going to bring the table. This is what [tight ends coach] Brian Fleury is going to bring to the table and then you see people’s strengths and weaknesses. It’s like during the season you realize, hey, [OL] Aaron Banks pulls better, he’s a better puller than [OL] Spencer Burford, so if we’re going to pull somebody, we’re probably going to pull Aaron a little bit more. Not that Spencer can’t do it or if the play calls for it, but same with coaches. This coach is a little bit better at this, this coach a little bit better at that. My strength isn’t making sure that the Excel spreadsheet is set up properly with exclamation points, parentheses, and all of a sudden who knows what the game plan would look like, so somebody else is going to do that. McDaniel was really good at working the Excel spreadsheet or whatever it might be, so that’s a random example, but you get my point.”

Let me know when McCaffrey’s ready to go and we’ll we get him blocked, what kind of overlap is there for how you would block Christian versus WR Deebo Samuel?

“I meant that more like, whatever Christian’s in for, we’re going to block for anybody who’s in there, but no, there isn’t much difference, I’d say between any of the guys. It’s just the style of play and I think with Christian, he really does everything. There’s some Deebo plays, obviously, but it’s not like you say, hey guys, we got the Deebo package going in. Or hey guys, we got Christian coming in. It is going to be whoever’s up for the carries and we’re going to be ready to block whatever it is. And we’re more preparing for what we think is going to be good against the defense. And then if there’s something that we say, Hey, boy, we’d really love to get, we think this play’s going to be good and this would be a good play for Christian, or this would be a good play for Jeff, then let’s put him in for that play.”

One of the few teams that, maybe one of the only teams that, where Los Angeles Rams DL Aaron Donald is concerned, he’s formidable, but he doesn’t totally wreck the game against you. Like he has with so many other teams. How many people does it take to do that?

“I think Aaron Donald’s a great player and has had great games against us. I think it’s a group effort. I think whether it’s the protection plan, whether it’s the quarterback getting the ball out and how we design the passing game, whether it’s the types of runs we run and where we run them. I will say that he is a focal point for us on every single play. There isn’t a play that we don’t run where Aaron Donald isn’t considered. And I’ve been real fortunate in my career when I started with [former] Minnesota Vikings [DL] John Randle was the three technique, and [former Tampa Bay Buccaneers DL] Warren Sapp was in the division in the three technique in Tampa. Then I went to Tampa and went against John Randle and I would always talk to my friends when they’d go against us at both places. And in the olden days before the spreadsheets and the computerized blocking sheets and everything else, you did them by hand, but every single time you would circle there’s where John Randle is, there’s where Warren Sapp is, there’s where Warren Sapp is and then there’s where [NFL HOF DL] Reggie White is and you better know where those guys are. And Aaron Donald is just one of those players and it happens weekly. Shoot the guy with Atlanta last week [Atlanta Falcons DL Grady Jarrett], the guy from Kansas City [Kansas Chiefs DL Chris Jones]. These guys are exceptional players and they will tear your game up if you’re not aware of where they are. And I think that that’s something that you really have to do. And Aaron Donald obviously is, I’ve said it before, you’re dying a slow death. You’re doing the best that you can to make sure that you try and do it. And there’s things that they can do to make sure that he gets his 1-on-1 matchups and has a chance to wreck the game and do things to you. And even when you’ve set everything up right, he still does things. And I think of the last play the Super Bowl, the Cincinnati Bengals slid to him, the Cincinnati Bengals were doing everything they could to protect, and he beat the guy in the area that should be the most protected. He still won the battle and got to the quarterback and wrecked the last play of the Super Bowl. And they had everything set up right. And there you go. Primetime, great players. I can’t tell you how many times I kept saying, I think Reggie White’s finally slowed down. I think Reggie’s finally okay, we don’t have to worry. And then next thing you know, man, you better have the whole plan set up or Reggie’s famous hump move and I can’t tell you how many offensive tackles I coached that went flying across Lambeau Field as Reggie did one of his famous hump moves on a guy when I thought Reggie had finally been done. And it’s the same thing here, man. It just doesn’t end. It’s a challenge every week and whether we’ve done good or bad, it’s a team effort, but I’ll just say he is considered on every single play.”

When you talk about that last play of the Super Bowl, does that remind you a bit of the last play of the NFC Championship game as well?

“A little different, I think that our last play, he did a great job. I’m not taking anything away. There was another problem going on in the play, which then led to the breakdown of the protection and then he was able to make the play in a critical time of the game. It wasn’t as much as that one where legitimately we had X, Y or Z going on with him, and then all of a sudden he broke through all that. It was more of something else was going on that, that led to him being able to make a good play, but again, you’re not going to block him for long, so if something else breaks down, he’ll take full advantage of it.”

You’ve been through a lot of NFL seasons and this season is odd because you guys have a lot of talent. There have been injuries, but you’re 3-4, why do you think it hasn’t all come together?

“That’s a gigantic question for people that aren’t Chris Foerster, but it’s always a challenge. You heard me last week, I got excited last week talking about a few things that I really believe that every season is a challenge. And when you look at it, I was looking at it the other day, I was looking at how many teams, I think there’s four teams in the AFC and four teams in the NFC that are outside of that .500 or below range. And there’s only one team this week in the NFC I was counting, I was looking at it too. There’s only one team that can set themselves apart from that again this week and that’s Seattle. Everybody else, if everybody else wins, except for Seattle, we’ll still all be around 500. And that’s just kind of where we are right now. And I don’t think we’re not living up to expectations. Yeah, we want to play better and so do all those other teams that have talent and have good players and are around .500 right now. And that’s what the season’s about. I really think it’s a product of, not necessarily this team, I just think the two years of COVID, the lack of offseason, the lack of training camp, I think it’s done great things for player safety. Players aren’t getting hurt in training camp. Players barely play in the preseason not getting hurt there, but then one coach was talking, I won’t mention names, but said, I was talking to a guy the other day that said when something’s broke, like we’re not good in a third-and-one. Well, you don’t go out in full pads for three days and have short-yardage scrimmages or goal-line scrimmages, you just don’t, you just have to fix it within the process of playing games. So it’s not an excuse. It is what it is. You just have to continue. I think it’s an explanation to you develop during the season and so the more available you have your players, the more they’re available to play every Sunday, the more you’re able to practice every week, you start to stack one game on top of the other. And with the availability, with the health of the players and with the reps, you hopefully get better. So now is the time you separate, between now and Thanksgiving, we’re going to find out, who stays at .500, who starts to creep above that, or who falls below that. And that’s what, as I said, that’s the challenge of the season with whoever the next man up is. And that’s where the challenge becomes even greater.”