Offensive LineRun Game Coordinator Chris Foerster Press Conference
Offensive Line Coach/Run Game Coordinator Chris Foerster
Press Conference – January 19, 2023
San Francisco 49ers
Are there similarities to the team you faced in training camp every day in practice as far as the aggressiveness of that defensive line?
“Yeah, very similar. They play very hard. They’re very quick, like our defensive line is. They’re very physical. They’ve got good edge rushers, they’ve got good interior players. They’re very well coached. They have good scheme. Dallas is a very good football team, very well coached and talented front group of guys to deal with and they’ve been a challenge for everybody all season. And there’ll be a challenge for us for sure on Sunday.”
What’s stands out about Dallas Cowboys LB Micah Parsons?
“Oh, great athlete. There are these guys that when you go to block them, [Cleveland Browns DL] Myles Garrett is another one that comes to mind, even 90 [Dallas Cowboys DE DeMarcus Lawrence] on their team is the same way, but they’re coming at you and the next thing you know, they make one move and they move further when they go inside, they go from here to way over there a lot faster. They move, two, three yards at a time, when they sidestep and swipe you, they’re just gone. And some guys do the same move and they kind of go like me, I’d go from right here to right here and somebody’d still be blocking me, but when it’s them, it’s bam. Like [DL Nick] Bosa and you think you have them, and then all of a sudden, they’re gone. And that’s what it is. He’s got this great elusiveness, he still has some power with it. What he’s really good at too is when he gets into your body for a guy that isn’t a real big and physical player, not that he’s overly powerful to push, although he can do it. He’s really good when he gets into your body getting off a block, they don’t stay blocked. I’d say that’s the biggest thing you can say about all of them. They don’t stay blocked.”
When you guys run out the 21 personnel with your five main skill guys that you use, you have a lot of success. I’m wondering what the amount of guys who kind of can move around and play different positions. What is it like for you guys just designing things and kind of creating offense with those options?
“Well, I think that [head coach] Kyle [Shanahan] and [offensive passing game coordinator] Bobby Slowik and all the guys that work with the skill players, they do a great job of interchanging people. I’m a little more, maybe with the fullback and the tight ends, I’ll have a little bit of input with that, but we don’t need too many cooks in the kitchen. We got a lot of guys to choose those guys a lot of different ways and Kyle is outstanding with his creativity in that way. And there’s just a lot of different people we can deploy and do different things. I just love, and it was a couple years ago when Kyle and [Miami Dolphins Head Coach] Mike [McDaniel] came up with this series where [WR] Deebo [Samuel] is running the sweep, the one that [WR] Ray-Ray [McCloud III] scored on a few weeks ago against Washington and [RB] Christian McCaffrey is like a lead blocker, and we did it with [Miami Dolphins RB] Raheem [Mostert], we did it with [Miami Dolphins RB] Jeff [Wilson Jr.]. Everybody did it. We had receivers doing it when we played the Rams a couple years ago as well, all these guys. These guys, they’re just football players. Yes, they’re a halfback. Yes, they’re a fullback. Yes, they’re a receiver, but they’re football players and they all do what football players do. They run, they catch, they block, they do a lot of different things. We’re real fortunate in that way.”
It seems like something that requires a lot of buy-in and teaching, and that’s been talked about in the past that you guys do a really good job of showing on tape why receivers and running backs have to block. What do you enjoy about that process of being able to show guys and then seeing that translate on the field?
“Oh man, when I took the job in Washington 2010 with [former NFL head] coach [Mike] Shanahan on Fridays, they said you’re in charge of this run meeting that they had run in Denver for years that [former NFL coach] Alex Gibbs had run. And it was Alex’s chance to kind of make everybody accountable to the running game, from the quarterback, to the receivers, to the running backs, tight ends, everybody and Alex kind of ran the show there. It was my turn to do it and it took me a while to learn exactly what they wanted me to do, but as we learned to do it, it was so enjoyable to say, ‘Hey, a receiver didn’t do a good job on this play.’ Instead of just ripping [former NFL WR] Santana Moss or whoever the receiver might be at that point. It was more of, let me show three good clips of Santana doing something during the week or during the game the week before and then building upon that and say, now when we do this it all ties together. How every single person from the angle of running back to how the receiver is blocked to the linemen and they can see it and they get a vision for it and they all start to buy in that their little piece is why we can have success doing stuff. And it’s crazy. It’s so much fun to watch the buy-in because it all kind of fits together like a puzzle when it’s right and you guys have seen some of the plays. We’re fortunate, again, Dallas could come in here and they’ll get after our butts and we’ll be lucky to get back to the line of scrimmage in some way, but I’ll tell you right now, when you see one, like the one that went the other day with Christian for 60 something yards, it’s just cool. It’s really cool when everybody buys in and does what they’re supposed to do, sometimes you hit it right, might have been a bust on their part, it doesn’t matter. It shows up good and then everybody says, Hey look, if I do my part, it’s a big play, keeps us on the field, gives everybody a chance, gives a receiver a chance to catch another pass, a running back to get another run. Whatever it is, it all ties together. It’s a cool process.”
You mentioned the run accountability meeting in Washington. Do you have something similar here?
“Yeah, so what happened was when I was in Washington, they gave it to me and I put my spin on it. When Kyle went to Cleveland he took the meeting over and he’s been doing it since then. I think he did it in Cleveland, I think he did it in Atlanta and he’s doing it now. And when I did the meeting too, they’d always come to me and say, ‘Hey, we love talking about the runs as much as you do, but boy, it’d be really nice if you could tie in how the play action fits with this,’ and I could, but we’re about running the ball, we’re about knocking the crap out of people and trying to get yards. When Kyle took it over, it becomes more of a gameplan meeting. Where on Fridays, he’s able to do that. When I worked with Kyle and he was the coordinator Friday or Saturday night, he did more of that meeting with the whole of offense because he had the offensive meeting as the offensive coordinator, because now he’s the head coach, he has other things to do on Saturday nights with the team, now that meeting has kicked to Friday. While it has a run emphasis some weeks, it’s more of how the whole tie in is and how our whole plan and approach is to attacking the team as opposed to just the run game.”
Some of your players have talked about when, when players are called out for doing something good, there is some light ribbing and joking and teasing, but when something goes wrong, they come together to really help that person get better. What does that say about the chemistry that you guys have built?
“Yeah, our guys stick together really well and we have a good group of guys that hang together pretty tight. We’re real fortunate right now and yeah, obviously there is a lot of ribbing when you get called out good, you don’t want to get called out good too much and when it is bad, they do rally around each other. It’s a good group. I think that as a lot of good teams that you’re on, and we’re in a good place in our season right now, but guys like working together to help each other get better. They all see the benefit. They’ve all pulled together to get this far in the season, so at this point it doesn’t benefit anybody to really be working independently or things like that. Everybody at this point just realizes that if we just keep building and working together, we can do something special.”
How well do you know Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn and how difficult is it to go against a Dan Quinn defense?
“Yeah, I’ve been going against Dan, personally, for a while. And I don’t know him personally like Kyle obviously does because he worked with him, but they do a great job. All those guys that came from [Seattle Seahawks head coach] Pete [Carroll], the Seattle system, they play hard. They’re disciplined, they’re in the right gaps. They know defense, they know how to stop offenses, they know what gives you problems. They’re just very well coached and they’re fundamentally sound, that’s the thing I go way back to [former NFL head coach] Tony Dungy, [former NFL coach] Monte Kiffin, those guys all had some time with Pete and then these guys, Dan Quinn and [Indianapolis Colts defensive coordinator] Gus Bradley and those guys, they all are just so fundamentally sound in what they do and so, they know how to stop the run. They know how to play good fundamentals with it, they know how to give you trouble. Things that we saw Seattle do in the weeks previous and how they did this the first two times, they did it different, so there were adjustments during last week’s game from the very first snap. It’s like, oh, why is [Seattle Seahawks DT] Al [Woods] playing like this this week? We thought he was going to be playing like that and our whole set up during the week had to change during the course of the game and some we didn’t adjust to very well and they did a great job of coming up with a different way to try to keep us from doing what we want to do.”
You worked with Kyle in multiple spots now, he’s on his third quarterback this year. The offense is putting up some of its biggest numbers. What is it about Kyle and his system that has been able to kind of perpetuate success from QB to QB to QB to keep it this efficient?
“Well, you think about when he started coordinating back in Houston, he was one or two years as a position coach and the next know he is calling plays, so that was pre-2010 when I met him, so it was a couple years, I don’t remember his first year as a coordinator, but he’s been calling plays since that time, so we’re going on 12, 13, 14, 15 years where it’s been his system, his plays, his verbiage, his terminology and it’s built from what he learned from his dad to what he learned from [former NFL head coach] Gary Kubiak in Houston and then what he’s done since then, which has been outstanding. And so, when you own it like that, you can plug and play. You can see where things that you’ve done fit this skillset or they fit that skillset or we had [former NFL WR] Pierre Garcon in this spot. He had [Tampa Bay Buccaneers WR] Julio Jones in this spot. Now he has Deebo in this and what’s the skillset of these players? When we had [former NFL QB] Robert Griffin III, how we had to adapt to him and make it all work within our offense and still keep the basic tenets of this offense, but yet marry it to the zone read and things like that. Kyle, to me, I’ll reference him in every press conference because it’s his deal and yet he’s managed to always understand. He has such a great grasp on it. I remember we put a play in this year, and I wanted to name it a certain name and I named it that and we ran it out at practice. And he goes, ‘you can’t name it this.’ I said, ‘why?’ Well that’s a formation. I said, ‘Kyle, I haven’t heard that formation in two years,’ but it’s in the book. It’s the formation. We can’t call it that. We had to change the name. I’m like, ‘okay, it is a formation and we hadn’t used it in a while.’ And that’s the kind of stuff that he has recall that goes back forever. And he is obviously very smart and has great recall, so there’s this whole encyclopedia or this whatever you want to call it, just years and years of it. And that’s why he is able to mix and match and understand how it all works, because when you just have a complete knowledge, three of the big plays that we’ve made, okay, the play to [TE George] Kittle up the sideline in Mexico that we had against Arizona. Kittle against Washington and the 75-yarder to Deebo. None of those three players were on the gameplan. Not one of them. If you’ve seen the call sheet, if you’ve seen it held up, there’s a lot of writing on that. He says, ‘no, that’s what they’re doing, this is what we’re going to call. And he calls something based on what he sees in the game that isn’t even on the list. And they’re usually big hits and big plays because he just knows what is going to work. And even though we made out a plan for it, you’re like, oh, they’re doing this this week, so now we go to that and it’s forever. I’ve been amazed since I’ve worked with him and I don’t stop doing that. It’s just how he does it and it’s just his grasp on what he’s doing.”
I’m assuming that’s extremely unique to call a play that’s not in the gameplan?
“Yeah, a lot of guys can do it. I just always marvel at him because of the timing of it. Calling it, there’s just a lot that goes into it. Obviously, you can say, Hey, the corner is jumping the receiver, we’re going to call a double move and throw a touchdown pass. There’s certain things and it happens a lot. He’s really good at it and when he does know and as a result we’re, you’ve heard this before, but we’ve always gotten unscouted looks things because they really don’t want him to know what they’re doing, because if they do, he has a pretty good grasp on what to go to in his offense and how to do it, so it’s a real pleasure for a guy like me to work for him because when you do that, he has such good direction on how he wants you to go, so when either you’re a player, whether you’re an assistant coach, whoever you are, there’s a great leadership or direction as here’s what you have to do to do your job. Here’s what I need you to do to make this thing work.”
Does he encourage you and the other assistants to recommend stuff that’s not in the gameplan?
“No, there’s not too much of that. I’m telling you, there’s plenty to call. He’s just looking, where’s that dagger? Where’s that play that I think will really get them on this one? And that’s what he’s sometimes looking up and doing that. Yeah, can you suggest some things that maybe aren’t in there? There’s been a couple of those through the year, but it’s mostly coming from him.”
There’s a lot of offensive Iinemen in this league, what makes T Trent Williams different than most, if not all?
“Well, I remember when we drafted Trent in Washington in 2010, I’d coached [HOF OL] Jonathan Ogden, who was a Hall of Fame player. [HOF OL] Randall McDaniel, who was a Hall of Fame player and a bunch of other Pro Bowl players through the course of my career. I’ve been really fortunate to work with some guys. And when he said, ‘who do you compare Trent Williams to?’ I said, ‘nobody.’ And he said, ‘why is that?’ I said, ‘well, there’s nobody that was 6-4, 320 something pounds, vertical jumped through the dome, ran a 40 like he did, all of the explosive movements that he had,’ I’d never seen a guy that big. I’d seen guys that were smaller have that explosiveness. I’ve seen guys that were bigger, that were as smooth an athlete as he was, but the combination of strength, power, quickness, explosiveness and then the thing about him, which I didn’t know was his wealth of knowledge, he’s such a good football mind, so those things all combined, wrapped up, make him into a really special guy to coach.”