Offensive Line/Run Game Coordinator Press Conference
Offensive Line/Run Game Coordinator Chris Foerster
Press Conference – September 28, 2023
San Francisco 49ers
When you watched the Week Two New York Giants game, you saw the second half and New York Giants defensive coordinator Don Martindale dialed up all those exotics, you pretty much knew you were getting the same thing. What did you communicate to C Jake Brendel on the short week about all the different exotic looks that you were probably going to see?
“Well, we looked at all of them leading up to as many as we could, and we can only practice so many of them with the short week. We get as many reps in as we can in a walkthrough setting with the short week. That’s all you could do, just keep going through it, review what they showed, know they’re going to show different things, make sure he understood and was seeing things right. And he did, for the most part, we did a good job.”
How challenging is that when a team is blitzing as much as they are in terms of everyone has to be on their Ps and Qs over and over?
“Yeah, it’s always challenging. They do a good job of making sure that they test all your rules. They make sure your rules are sound, make sure your guys are on point. And they did, they tested us and obviously there’s always going to be one or two where you miss but for the most part, the guys did a good job. The guy that puts pressure on is a lot of times because there weren’t enough blockers. And so, it puts pressure on [QB] Brock [Purdy] and the receiving corps to be able to answer by getting rid of the ball in certain instances and being able to make plays, which we were able to do just enough.”
Is it hard to go from that last week to this week, a team that doesn’t blitz or least does at the lowest rate in the league?
“Yeah, it’s a whole different game. That’s the challenge week to week, whether it be the personnel that you’re facing, whether it be the scheme that you’re facing, there’s a challenge every week. And that’s the cool part about the season. That’s the thing I love about the season is that you can only do so much against your defense. So, once you start going against these guys every week, the challenge is, how do you get guys prepped to play their individual one-on-one battles, schematic battles, then what the game plan that you’ve implemented throughout the week too. How they apply that to those players and to those schemes. It’s a challenge every week and it’s really a lot of fun.”
Is the Cardinals defense similar to what Philadelphia has been running the last few years?
“Yes. The Cardinals defense is similar from a base standpoint, and then there’s part of it. The hard thing this week is how far down the rabbit hole do you go looking at Eagle’s film and how much do you look at Arizona film? Obviously, same guys, same defense. Where are they in their progression? Do they put a lot more in this week? Do they leave it where it is? You don’t know, but you’re ready for everything. The key thing is, I think probably [Head Coach] Kyle [Shanahan] talked before about it, we oftentimes get a lot of unscouted looks that you don’t prepare for. So, you’re always building upon it. You’re always telling guys, ‘Hey, look, just because we’ve prepped you for this this week doesn’t mean that you might not see this or that as the week goes through.’ You have to go a little bit down that rabbit hole and the rest of it you just have to say, we have to just be prepared. Everything they’ve done, we’ve seen at some point just how much will we have prepped for?”
What have you seen from OL Colton McKivitz just since week one?
“Colton’s just continued to grind away. With the first week, obviously we left him alone a lot of times with [Pittsburgh Steelers LB T.J.] Watt and he had his ups and downs with him. Obviously, it was a battle that T.J. had some success on us, but we were able to get the win and able to come through it. Colton, the next two weeks has just stayed the course. It didn’t throw him off. Whatever happened Week One and Week Two and Week Three just continues to work on the things that need to get better. That’s the thing that we’ve always talked about with Colton. His mentality, his demeanor, how one bad play doesn’t lead to three bad plays, how he doesn’t let things pile up on him. And now even more so that he’s a starter and playing every week. I think that that’s, ‘Hey, you’re going to have a bad play every now and then. Now you have to come off that play, correct it and make it better’. And he has done that. But again, it’s a whole new week. We’ll see.”
The Cardinals grabbed a couple of your young offensive linemen right around cut down day last month. How frustrating is that for you to have a young player that you had started to develop, you probably had plans for, to have him get swiped by another team?
“Yeah, in a lot of ways it’s a compliment. It means that they played well in the preseason, you just didn’t have a place on your roster for them and other people covet them and want them. You have a chance to develop some guys, [Arizona Cardinals OL] Keith [Ismael] we’d had a little bit longer than [Arizona Cardinals OL] Ilm [Manning], but both those guys did really well for us in training camp and it’s tough to lose them. But that’s the National Football League. There are opportunities for guys somewhere else and more than anything else, I’m happy for the guys, if they have an opportunity to go somewhere else, get on a 53, make some money, not be on a practice squad, that’s good for them and I’m happy for them.”
As far as your own young guys, OL Leroy Watson, I imagine he’s going up against DL Nick Bosa a lot in practice. Do you see the benefit of that? Have you seen him take strides at the Tackle spot?
“Yeah, I do. They’re small because they get really two good practice days – Wednesday and Thursday. Friday’s more of a walkthrough then Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday they don’t do a lot, whereas the other guys play in a game on Sunday. And so it’s hard to progress in these times. But we do work with them individually after practice, we work with them over the weekend a little bit. They get a little workout in prior to the game with some time with the coaches. So, there’s a little bit of time that we’re able to get some work done with them. And there is progression, but it’s slow and it’s without playing in the games. The games are what they miss and that’s where preseason games have huge value for those guys when it gets back to camp next year. And so this time is valuable. They have to make the most of it. It’s just in a practice setting, it’s hard to get huge jumps. They’re little, tiny steps.”
What has a veteran like OL Jon Feliciano added to your room? Has he helped some of the younger interior players along so far?
“A hundred percent. He does a great job working not only with the younger players and just giving a veteran presence and leadership from that standpoint. He also does a great job working with Jake and having played the position and working with the other interior guys with [OL] Spencer [Burford] and with [OL Aaron] Banks just together talking about what he’s done when he’s played certain players. Last week he was a big help for us against the Giants understanding because he’d been there the last year or two, so he knew those guys and so he’s just been a help all around from an experience standpoint, from helping young guys, working with the veterans, just communicating and learning our system, doing everything that he needs to be a part of this team. He just blended in really well and we all work together to get this thing accomplished and he’s become a big part of that.”
Jake Brendel and QB Brock Purdy have had a couple of fumbled exchanges. Anything you can put your finger on?
“Both times it was miscommunication on the snap count. Somebody either snapped the ball early or the quarterback wasn’t expecting the ball. Something that was just a miscommunication on when the ball was going to be snapped.”
Thirty points a game in the last three games is nothing to scoff at, but obviously Brock Purdy missed a few. There’s huge potential for more. Does that leave you kind of excited for what the potential could be?
“Yeah, it always does. You see plays that are available both run and pass. There’s been some run opportunities that we’ve missed over these few weeks that we’ve just been off on some combination blocks and things. Everybody can see, the wide-open pass that, might be missed or overthrown and who knows why that is, whether it’s receiver, the quarterback, the line, the protection, a hundred different reasons for it, but it does lead to hope. You say, ‘Yeah man, well we hit a couple of these, you’re not going to hit them all.’ But if you hit one or two more, well what happens? You hit one or two of these runs, what happens? So there’s always room for improvement. That’s the good thing. You can look at it and say, ‘Hey guys, these are things we need to improve on’. There are definite, clear things to work on.”
How is Brock Purdy at the line of scrimmage setting protections? He made that anticipatory touchdown pass to WR Ronnie Bell and Bell hadn’t even gotten out of his break yet and the ball was in the air. How good is he at setting protections and being an anticipatory thrower?
“Yeah, he’s awesome. He does a great job. We talk about this and that and you say, yeah, well, he finally was the starting quarterback all of training camp and he finally was the starting quarterback through preseason. And last year he took over midseason with zero reps as the third quarterback and then played through the year and has had success. So, it’s all ahead of him. He just continues to grow and get better and you couldn’t be happier with the way he does things. Most of our protections are pretty well taken care of by Kyle, by the center. The quarterbacks don’t do as much with it, but he understands completely where the free guys are. He moves away from pressure and does an excellent job with that, understands his problems. He’s a real student of the game, understands it and has the athleticism and the ability to make plays and make throws. The anticipatory throws have been, to me and I’m not a pass guy as much as I am a line coach, but they seem really cool how he does that.”