Run Game Coordinator/Offensive Line Coach Chris Foerster Press Conference
Run Game Coordinator/Offensive Line Chris Foerster
Press Conference – November 9, 2023
San Francisco 49ers
You’ve got some different guys on the line this week. How’s the preparation going?
“With [OL Aaron] Banks down, yeah. He’s doing a good job, preparation’s been great. They always get work. The second team guys always get a handful of reps, every single team period. So, they’ll always be prepared. [OL] Jon [Feliciano], for example, every week in some periods he’d get two at right guard, two at center, two at left guard. Other periods you’d get one at center, one at right guard, depending upon the length of the period. And then scout team, you take reps as well. So, at the end of the day, we make sure that those guys get almost as much work, as many reps as they would get if they were starters. They get them between the splitting time with the starters and the scout team. So, we try to always have them prepared that way so that when they do have to step in, they got a chance.”
Do you think T Trent Williams will be back for the game?
“The injury thing’s not – the ball’s not in my court on the injury thing. So, whoever’s there, we get them coached up and let’s go play.”
In the room when you guys are going through film and talking about practice, how much of a coach is he?
“Trent is, yeah. Here’s a shocker. I talk a lot. I like to talk, I talk a lot in there. The way I coach is I kind of not just do this, I have to tell stories and I talk through the play and then every now and then I’ll have an offshoot to tell a story about a player I used to coach and, just kind of like this thing turns out to be. But Trent will all of a sudden, if he’s whispering over there in the corner to [OL] Jaylon [Moore] or [OL Colton] McKivitz or somebody, I’ll just say, speak up and say what you’re going to say. Well, I was just saying da, da, da. So, he’s always looking, always thinking. He’s always respectful and doesn’t want to overstep his bounds. But I’m always like, Trent, just say what you want to say, man. And if I don’t agree, he and I have a great relationship. I just say, Trent, I think I don’t agree with you. And he may still disagree with me. We may agree to disagree, or later on he is like, I’m right. Or later on I’ll say, no, you’re right. That was a great idea. And often times the guys do it. I just want them to tell me because I’ve got a lot of answers, but I definitely don’t claim to have them all.”
We’re at the halfway point here, how would you evaluate the way the right side of your line has played through the first eight games?
“It was really cool to do the study. I enjoyed it. I told [head coach] Kyle [Shanahan] when I came back, I said, losing three games in a row, obviously, this is an NFL season. This is when you really find out what you’re made of when you go through the tough times. And it’s been really cool to – not cool, it’s been interesting to see how we’ve come through it and where we’re going to end up with this whole thing being where we are today. When you evaluate the guys, I said, you know what’s really funny is, take [OL] Spencer Burford, for example, take Colton, they’ve gotten better. You watch the cut ups, you’re like, gosh, look at him in Pittsburgh, look at him in I don’t remember the second game, but look at him each week and then all of a sudden, look at him today. And then I remember last season and they’ve gotten better. Does it always show up in the stat line? You’d say, does it always show up in wins and losses, always show up in their production during the game? Not always, but yet you see the little things, the building blocks of what make a better football player. And I said it to Kyle the other day, I said, and here’s another shocker – when we play football every day, they get a chance to get better. When they play in games, you get a chance to get better. All of a sudden, you take away football in the offseason, the developmental time, it’s harder. And so, this is when they should improve. And if you go about it the right way, if they approach it the right way and you don’t get stuck on wins and losses and stuck on how do we improve? And then what’s that? What’s my role in helping us win games? I’m very happy with their progress. You’ll always hear me say, there’s not a guy up there that’s playing well enough. Everybody can get better, including me.”
What does this upcoming game mean to you, given the fact that you’re in the midst of a three-game losing streak?
“You don’t want to lose more than one in row. I mean, you want to stack wins. No matter how you’re playing, you just want to win games. This thing’s about winning. And so, you have to win a game. And no matter what happens, it’s the most important game. Right now, the most important thing is having a great Thursday practice and getting ourselves ready in this phase of what we prepare for because that’s going to be the best thing to help us again and prepare again on Friday, prepare again on Saturday. That’ll give us the best chance to have a chance to win the game on Sunday. But you have to do the things that takes in the situations. And that’s normally what it comes down to. There’s a handful of plays in situations that you do or don’t execute that end up winning or losing game for the most part in the NFL. And it’s very important, obviously, that you win every game.”
How much do the issues in the running game the last few games have to do with opponents coming up and saying, we’re taking this away, and how much of it has to do with there were lanes there, we just didn’t hit them?
“I mean, it’s almost been the same every week. We talked about it a couple weeks ago. We haven’t had a chance to talk since the Cincinnati game. We talked about how the possessions went in the Minnesota game. We talked about the Cleveland game and how we were always behind the eight ball in second and longs. We never could get any rhythm going. And the Cincinnati game, what happened was, just let’s start the second half, you come out, you have an eight, nine, 10-yard run, and then you get called holding. It’s first and 20. We overcame it, but same thing happens the first play of the game, we get eight yards on a play or nine yards on a play, and then we run a power and we don’t get a yard and we run a short yardage run and we don’t get a yard. Now is that the fault of the run? Is that us? We didn’t block it good enough. The defense played well, but we’re not getting that next set of downs to keep that thing going and to get a couple more runs called. And then whatever’s been going on, it’s always a team thing. Whatever’s going on as far as possessions, whatever’s going on as far as time in the game, whatever’s going on with score, it can kind of affect how you do things. So, I think it’s not, I don’t look at it as a bad trend because when I look at practice, when I study the cut-ups, it’s not like, oh crap, so-and-so’s not hitting the hole, or we’re not blocking this guy or the defense is, oh my God, this is the hardest defense we’ve ever faced. No, it’s not. It’s just the way it’s kind of falling right now and obviously, we have to do a better job. I said it last week as well, we’ve got to do a better job first and foremost because if we block better, create big holes, it’s easier to run.”
What’s he challenge this week with Jacksonville’s D-line? They have DL Travon Walker and LB Josh Allen off the edges. What do you see?
“Yeah, again, we face them every week it seems like, great pass rushes off the edge. So, Colton and the tackle Trent or Jaylon have a great challenge in front of them. Everybody has to do their part to help make sure that we keep our quarterback upright and doing what he has to do. They play great team defense, those guys are good players. The interior players, they haven’t had the production with the sacks, but they pressure the quarterback and they’re a very good team defense. They’re very well-coached. They get to the ball. The last three defenses when you take all of them have been well coached, but you go back to Cleveland, Cleveland’s one of the top defenses in the league. You look at how Cincinnati’s team played last week and this team this week, very well coordinated. Good job. Minnesota’s in the first year with [defensive coordinator Brian] Flores up there and they did a good job, but they’re in a little different place in the development of their defense than those other three teams. These are really well coached defenses that are on point and there’s not a lot of holes in them. So, you have to be really good at what you’re doing and you have to make plays and convert so you can get more sets of downs. You get more sets of downs, you’re going to have chances and that’s what we have to be able to do.”
You talked about playing good rushers every week. Is the depth of pass rusher around the league just at a different level than maybe it was?
“I don’t know. I mean, yeah, it was funny the other day, Trent and I were talking, and he goes, I mentioned [HOF NFL defense end] DeMarcus Ware to these guys, and they don’t even know who DeMarcus Ware is. That shocks him. So, I say that’s what it’s like getting old, bro [laughs]. But you sit there and he is like, hey, man, this guy, but you go through the league and everybody has somebody who flashes. I don’t know that, it’s hard to say. It’s just the generational thing, it’s the Kobe, Michael Jordan, it’s the [HOF NFL defensive ends] Reggie White versus [HOF NFL defensive end] Bruce Smith versus the era of the guys today. It’s just so hard to say, but there are a lot of talented rushers. I would say that college football, I guess they’re throwing the ball more, and I don’t know if they’re or not, but seems like it. So, there’s more chances to rush the passer. There’s going to be more opportunities for guys to develop as pass rushers. And we get guys that are more developed as pass blockers than they are as run blockers. So, I think the whole game has kind of gone that way. So, there may be a few more, but I don’t know if they’re the elite, elite. But man, it seems like every week somebody has one. And you have to, I think that’s where people invest their picks. Everybody knows if you can get after a quarterback, the best way to stop a good quarterback is if you can get in his face and rush him. And the more guys you have that can rush, the better the defense.”
QB Brock Purdy mentioned addressing the team right after the Bengals loss. What struck you about his message?
“Oh, he’s a great guy, great leader. And it was heartfelt. It wasn’t lip service, in my opinion. That’s what I liked about it. Whatever he would’ve said, it was heartfelt. He meant it. ‘I touch the football every play, I’m responsible. I have to take care of the football.’ I think that was the crux of it. I don’t remember it all exactly, but I just like the fact that he’s accountable and not afraid to say it’s my fault. He’s not pointing the finger at anybody, he’s saying, ‘I have to take responsibility for this. I have to make sure I do a better job. You guys have trusted me to do this, and I have to do better.’ And it’s the response you would hope a guy would have when things didn’t go as well. To say it was his bad or whose fault, I’m not getting into all that. But at least in his mind, what he felt was his responsibility, he needed to do a better job of, and he addressed it with the team, which then, the elephant in the room, right? The elephant in the room is there were interceptions and they have cost us the last couple games or whatever it is that has happened. And he took accountability for it.”
What did you think of playing DL Chase Young in the previous seasons?
“Chase Young was, I’m always involved in the draft process with the defensive line and the linebackers. And then Kyle knows to have me leave the room when the defensive backs show up because I’ll fall asleep. But when the rushers are there, man, I’m there watching and I remember Chase coming out and I thought, Chase is a really, really good player. Great athleticism, great speed, great length. For whatever reason, it hasn’t all come together consistently. You could make a cut, a highlight reel of the guy that’s like, holy cow, this guy’s phenomenal. But then the play in and play out, and I can’t put my finger on it because we didn’t play him that much over the last couple years – once or twice, so I haven’t studied him that much. But he’s a very good player and it’s just a matter of, I think getting the opportunity to be consistent.”