Offensive Line/Run Game Coordinator Chris Foerster Press Conference
Offensive Line/Run Game Coordinator Chris Foerster
Press Conference – September 8, 2022
San Francisco 49ers
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What have you seen from the group, especially those interior guys, through the course of training camp and the preseason?
“It was a work in progress as always. The one thing about [OL] Aaron [Banks], [OL] Spencer [Burford], [OL] Jake [Brendel], all the guys we have working inside, they work really hard every day. They prepare well, they go out there, work really hard at getting better and you saw improvement every single day. They go out there, there’s the ups and downs. The preseason game, the work against Minnesota, things like that, but they all work through it and they’ve grown a lot in the process.”
How do you sort of balance, believing in some of those younger guys long-term and also knowing you need results in the immediate term?
“Well, now we’re going to start playing real games and we’ll start seeing the production and you always have to judge people for the production, coaches and players alike. We’re all judged for the job we do, whether we win or lose on Sundays. And so, there’s lots of factors that will come into it, but you’re always working on developing a player. Sometimes playing a player 65 snaps, a game, every play, every game is the right thing. Sometimes playing them less than that is the right thing. You just don’t know until you start playing and seeing where they are in their development. And you really don’t know until the bullets start flying on Sunday. I don’t like that analogy. Sorry, for the words, but you don’t know until it’s a game situation in a game setting, and then you really get to realize where this guy really is. And then you say, okay, well, yeah, development’s good, but we have to be productive. We’ll always put the best players on the field or the best combination of players on the field. And that’s something we’ll have to judge as we move forward.”
T Mike McGlinchey was obviously working on a couple things health wise, and then just lately he’s got a run up to a decent amount of practices. How does he look to you at this point?
“He looks the best he’s looked. Knock on wood that he holds in there. He fought through the rough injury coming back in the Green Bay game, got about eight plays in, and now he’s really done a nice job, man. These last few days, he’s looked like the Mike that we’ve all hoped he would look like. That’s been encouraging. And again, same thing, he’s got to string some games together here, and I hope that he goes out on Sunday and has a really nice outing.”
What was the process like of putting the run game together this offseason knowing you have an additional weapon at quarterback, but also with Miami Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel not being here, just kind of like logistically, how did you guys put that together?
“It was such a big catalog of place that [head coach] Kyle [Shanahan] and Mike have developed through the years. Starting back in Houston with Mike and Kyle and then at Washington, when we were all together, then they went to Cleveland, Atlanta, and then all those years, it’s a nice catalog. So to say that, and then you add the [WR] Deebo [Samuel] and then we had the quarterback runs in Washington. And now again, with Trey, you have some of those options available to you. So they’re all there. It’s a big library and so developing, it’s not really picking and choosing. And really, the great thing is we’re always just looking at what’s best against the team we’re playing. You try to maximize the abilities of your players against your opponent. What do they do? What do we do well? And then what are those plays that are going to work against them that are going be good? And we’ve got a lot of different ways to do a lot of the same things. A lot of the ways to present different things for the defense. Kyle’s created just so much diversity in what we can do. And the guys are so adept, it’s really cool that the motions, the shifts, the things that we’re able to do is just a real testament to the way that Kyle and all the coaches develop these guys and how they move and how they do things. So it’s a cool offense to work in. And what these guys have established through the years, it’s really kind of just walking in and saying, well, what do I want to use? What do you want to do? And that primarily comes from Kyle.”
Do you find that there’s enough time to put all that stuff in so that you can pick and choose when to use it throughout the season, just in terms of what the offseason program is like and all that?
“Yeah, it’s a challenge, but I think that’s the challenge that I hope we did a good job of trying to say, okay, we have to have a level of success against our defense in training camp and they present certain issues and problems, so there’s certain things you really don’t want to do against your defense. Then you hope when you go to Minnesota, that’s a different defense or each preseason game, it allows you to use more things. So you’re just looking at the big picture of what am I trying to establish? What blocks, what runs, how am I trying to expose all the different players to all these different facets of the offense so that when you get an opportunity to then say, okay, this game, we need to do these things. That’s how you kind of get it all covered.”
You work with the running backs and the quarterbacks for a portion of practice, have you ever done that in the past?
“No, I’ve been a line coach. That’s between Kyle, [offensive passing game coordinator] Bobby [Slowik]. There’s a ton of people that work with our quarterbacks, and then obviously [running backs coach] Anthony Lynn with the running backs and those things are pretty well covered in the meeting room and in individual. We’ll watch, I’ll watch, we all watch everybody’s individual periods. And so, if I see something or somebody sees something, obviously you can comment on it. Mostly Kyle, he oversees all of it as the coordinator and the head coach and then we all work really hard to stay on top of our details.”
QB Trey Lance’s ability to work under center, and also in the shotgun with the zone read stuff, is this the biggest catalog or menu of run plays that you’ve ever had to pick from?
“Well, seeing that how it’s developed through the years, it probably could be just because you add in the zone read stuff. It’s stuff that we’ve done before with Trey, how much of it’s an element in this game plan or not, how much of it we’re going to use or not is still to be seen, but it is an element there, he’s done it when we’ve had him at the quarterback position before in these previous games. So it is an element to the offense, but yeah, there’s no question because the numbers of plays or ways we can do things, you add in the Deebo package, then you add in just the regular offense as it evolves through the years. And then you add the quarterback stuff, and there’s a lot of stuff, and deciding what’s good every week, but it’s a lot of stuff, but it’s really not. A lot of it’s just the same thing. It’s just a different name to do the same thing, the passing game’s kind of the same things because you put people in the same spots, but you have to call it something different because its different people doing it, but you’re really still attacking things a certain way. Same thing with the run game.”
FB Kyle Juszczyk’s talked about his cut blocking, and the fact that he’ll cut block in the hole, cut block on the play side and go back on power and it’s just stuff that generally, initially it was like, what are you doing? You’re a fullback. Why are you doing this? Then it was embraced, but certainly he does it and can do it well. Is it unusual for a fullback to block sometimes how he does?
“Everybody has a different skillset and guys do things different ways. That’s the great thing about coaching. It’s not just a cookie cutter deal, so yeah, a traditional fullback with the neck roll that’s going to hit a guy between the numbers or under the chin and bloody his nose and all that stuff. And there’s a lot of different ways to get a guy blocked. [T] Trent Williams is not traditional. What he does in the backside of plays, what he does in certain ways, it’s just not traditional. It’s not something I drill or coach, but it’s the way that Trent plays the game. Same thing with Kyle. Every player has some unique things and it’s always up to us to bring them back down and say, ‘Hey, that’s good, but here’s why I’d say you can’t do that on that play.’ But other times if it works and that’s in the skillset, if the guy doesn’t make the tackle, the guy doesn’t make the tackle. And that’s all I’m worried about.”
Have you found that cut blocking often is effective?
“It can be, yeah, when it’s legal. They’ve eliminated so much of it and so there’s such a limited area where you can do it and you have to be careful when you choose to do it, because sometimes you and the player, you cut and end up in the hole, but Kyle’s really smart about that and knows.”
How would you categorize Aaron Banks’ development up to this point?
“Aaron’s development has been good. He’s worked really hard. He’s maintained his physical conditioning. He trains really hard. He works really hard. It’s just going to have to see when he gets in, it’s been up and down for both he and Spencer, I’d say of the three interior players, he and Spencer have been, a little more up and down. Now they’ve also had more reps in the preseason, so they’ve had more chances to be up and down. Jake’s had more limited reps in the preseason and has done maybe, I would say, a little bit better up to this point, but all the guys have worked hard and really, it’s preseason. We’ll see when Sunday rolls around, we could be singing a different song on Monday and saying who’s done what and how they’ve been doing. But I’d say Aaron has done a really a good job to this point. But I think Aaron would say, and I’m telling you this and you guys focus on the inside three, every guy has something they can work on. And every guy and yeah, it’s a given, but every guy has an area to improve in. We got a long season and every guy has something to work on, to improve on, to get better at and we have to see it every single day. Because if you’re not getting better, you’re getting worse. These guys, we’ve got to keep them working to look to see how can we get better? We’re by no means gelled and arrived as a line. And it’s not just because of the inside three. It’s just everything, we’ve got to keep working and this game builds on the next game builds on the next game. What you want to do is go out this week, perform to the best of your ability, have a great day, a great game. And hopefully we end up with a win, and then you can build on that. And that’s what we’re trying to do each week with this group and in the process, develop these younger guys behind him as well, because I’ve always said this to everybody, anybody who’s in that room on opening day, I’ve been on too many teams and too many lines where I hope it doesn’t happen here, but every guy in that room ends up playing. From the practice squad guys to the second team tackle. You hope you play your starting five for 17 weeks and the playoffs and the Super Bowl. But you also know that you might have to get through with shoot [Former 49ers OL] Justin [Skule] in 2019, who isn’t on our team right now, started five games at left tackle and we went 5-0 with him at left tackle as a rookie. [OL] Dan Brunskill started at I think guard and tackle that year. The center went down, [Former 49ers OL] Weston [Richburg] goes down in New Orleans and then [Former 49ers OL] Ben Garland comes in and finishes the season and had an excellent year. So you just don’t know which guys it’s going to be. The guys we’re talking about today, we may not be talking about in five weeks. I hope we are. I hope they’re all playing, developing and doing great. So again, that’s a long answer to an easy question.”
The Deebo package in the run game, without getting into specifics, how much has that grown and evolved in the last 12 months?
“Well, the Deebo package is the Deebo package. Deebo is Deebo, man. It’s how much we use it, how much we do of it. Each week it’s different. It could be zero. Who knows and how much we’re able to do it based on what the defense presents and what we decide to do on offense. Kyle is always looking. We’re always looking to evolve and develop and not just be stagnant and stale on what we do and whether that’s a Deebo package, whether there’s stuff for other players in our offense as well. You just don’t know how that plays out.”