Run Game Coordinator/Offensive Line Coach Chris Foerster Press Conference

Run Game Coordinator/Offensive Line Chris Foerster

Press Conference – December 28, 2023

San Francisco 49ers

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How does your offensive line regroup from the last game?

“Kind of like every week. You look at your injury report, you kind of put it together and go back and get ready to play the next week. So yeah, last week we were down to the eighth player on the field. We had [T] Trent [Williams] go down. [OL] Jaylon [Moore] early had a stinger and then was okay. And then something else happened later in the game. So Jaylon came out. Jaylon was in, Jaylon was up, Jaylon was down, then Jaylon went up, then Trent went down, then Jaylon went in and Jaylon went down. So, then we had to flip [OL] Colton [McKivitz] over and move [OL] Spencer [Burford] out. And then [OL Aaron] Banks went down at the end of the game.”


If one more offensive lineman had gone down, who would go in?

“Tight end. [TE] Charlie [Woerner] would have to go in. We’d have to kind of makeshift that. And it’s kind of funny, I was telling Trent this this morning because they’ve only recently gone to eight offensive linemen. When I got in the NFL there was, we always had eight up, but then special teams and everything else took over. So then we went to seven, everything became seven all of a sudden. So you had seven and very few times, probably three times in the course of 25, 30 years did you have to get to the some other position playing offensive line. I think it might’ve been our last game in 2014, my last game with Trent in Washington, I think [former NFL TE] Logan Paulson played left tackle for a series or two for us because we were down, we lost Trent, we lost [NFL T] Tom Compton, we lost another guy. And so we had to put Logan in for the last series or two. So yeah, this one is eight linemen and you lose three guys and you lose a fourth and one more guy, you’d have to go and put a tight end in. So it’s tough, but everybody’s back working. And I don’t know what everybody’s injury status is for this week, but I think we’ve got, we’ve got a fair amount of guys to get back at it.”


After Banks going into the Seattle game on Thanksgiving and working his way through that toe injury and toughing it out and playing in that game, Kyle indicated that this injury’s not as bad as that one, but do you think that kind of experience could help him mentally if he does need to push through something again?

“Yeah, especially since I think it’s similar. It might be the same toe, I don’t know. I think it might be very similar, if it’s not the same foot, same toe. So at least he knows the feeling. He’s like, oh yeah, this wasn’t as bad as last time. It’s all an experience that’s going to help him.”


You mentioned that the team’s most effective run concept doesn’t even really feature a fullback in the traditional sense, it’s more of a one back. What is it that play?

“Oh yeah. It’s just an outside zone play to the tight end and how we target and everything, we’re just running straight outside zone with no lead back, no nothing. We’re just running to the tight end side. It’s the play [RB] Christian [McCaffrey] scored from the nine yard line on, and we have a receiver on that side, usually that’s responsible for the corner. There’s just a couple different rules, but it’s not that confusing. It’s just a basic zone where we’re kind of leverage. There’s leverage plays and out leverage plays. In other words, when you’re targeting and let’s say the play’s going the left and everybody’s targets tend to be over there. You kind of have leverage. So, you have a chance to cut the defense and run the ball where you cut the defense off and you’ve got leverage on the defense. Then there’s out leverage plays where all our targets are over there and we’re all kind of going over there and at some point, somebody wins a block and there’s an opening for the back to choose. This play is more of those plays that we’re out leverage, everybody’s kind of chasing although on this time it didn’t work out that way. It’s a very basic standard outside zone play to the tight end side.”


What’d you think of OL Ben Bartch at left guard and how did OL Spencer Burford fare in your mind at right tackle?

“Oh, Burford struggled, man. He had a hard time. His footing was rough out there. For some reason, a couple guys were losing their footing towards the end of the game. I don’t know what happened. I don’t know if it just got wet out there or something towards the end of the evening, but that’s no excuse. Spence had gotten limited reps. He was an emergency plan for us at tackle, went out there and had some good plays but had more plays that weren’t good. Same thing with moving Colt [OL Colton McKivitz] over to the left side. That’s an emergency plan. You don’t have time or any chance. In certain games when we didn’t have Bartch or the third center up, Colton’s our emergency center, it’s not like we rep him at center. He’s able to get the ball up. Now, is he going to make all the calls and block anybody? It’s going to be suspect. When you get to that point where you’re on the eighth lineman and you’ve got your third contingency plan up, it’s going to be hard to rep it or get it ready to go. But I’m glad it happened because what it does is no matter how many times I tell them, guys, you have to be ready because this can happen, we’re repping you, you are the fourth tackle in the game, you’re the third center in the game, you’re the fifth guard. They look at you like you’re crazy, ‘coach, it’s never going to happen.’ It doesn’t happen until it happens and then you have to be ready for it.”


How did Bartch do?

“Bartch was solid. Yeah, he’s a solid guard and I think he’s more comfortable right now at guard than center. I think I’ve mentioned to you guys, I like him at center a lot. He still has to get some more reps in our system at center. But he did a good job in a limited amount of snaps.”


What were the Ravens doing early that had you guys throwing the ball on that opening drive and the first half?

“Oh, that’s [head coach] Kyle [Shanahan]. You’d have to talk to him about why the play calls come out as they do and what he decides to do on that. I felt really good during the week about our ability to run the football against them. I think we felt good about some of the things we had in the passing game as well. Obviously, Kyle decides to do what he’s going to do with the calls and when he dials them up, we do the best we can. Felt really good and comfortable with how we were going and until the injuries, I felt we had a good chance. Obviously, the turnovers, short field, there’s so many things that went into that game to make it not a good game for us, you have to really look for the silver lining. I can stand up here and say we got beat. I’m not going to look and say, ‘ah, it was really not that bad a game.’ It was a bad game, but there were some spots in the game early where I felt like we had a chance to have a good game running the ball and protecting the quarterback and obviously that got away from us as the game went on.”


Say you were to watch Packers vs. Bears in 1965, like a replay, would there be any run game type of concepts, you’d say, well, we still use some of that stuff, or is all that just obsolete?

“Oh, no, there’s a lot of stuff. And I’m old, not quite that old. If I pull any film out, you’re going to see it. Football is a copycat. I mean, so much of it is. I watch [Kansas City Chiefs head coach] Andy [Reid] every now and then I remember plays I learned in the West Coast offense. When I got to Stanford with Denny Green, Denny was still running the pure West Coast offense from [former 49ers head coach] Bill Walsh’s playbook and the red book that he put in here and that he learned from Bill. I’ve watched every now and then Andy Reid, there’s plays that pop up that he learned from [former NFL coach] Mike Holmgren that you’re like, oh, wait a minute, it’s a different version of it, but it’s the same play. I remember learning this play, 19W where [former NFL FB] Tom Rathman would cut the defensive end and [former NFL G] Guy McIntyre would pull around the cut of the defensive end and you’d hand the ball to [former NFL RB] Roger Craig around the corner and they might be handing it to a jet sweep guy with a halfback cutting the end man. But it’s all the same concept and play that you’ll see people that pull up everywhere, power plays, sweep plays, there’s origins of every play in football. There’s only 11-on-11 and you can only cut the pie so many different ways. So, there’s always going to be something. I’m sure I would glean something from it, definitely would, especially with some of the stuff that we’re doing with more of a two back version offense. There wasn’t as much one back shotgun running game and things like that. So that stuff’s a little bit new, but there’s only so much you could do there. There would be a lot.”


Does the Commanders defensive line look any different without Chicago Bears DE Montez Sweat and DL Chase Young? Are they doing anything different?

“No, they’re not doing anything different. Their ends are obviously, they let go of two good players for whatever reasons they had for doing it. They have good players that are backing them up and have stepped in and really benefited from the time they’ve had to play. I’ve watched them get better every single week, the guys that took over and are playing for Sweat and Young. The interior two players are still the strength of the defense, linebackers are fast and physical. Their secondary is young, but they’re aggressive. I mean, this is a solid defensive football team. I’m sure Kyle’s talked about it and every week, man, it’s about us. I mean, at the end of the day, all these teams we play, it’s a challenge to play. Everybody presents different challenges personnel-wise, but man, as you saw last week, if we don’t take care of our business, doesn’t matter who you play, where you play them, or when you play them, it can be a challenge. And these guys are a good football team, and they don’t have the record to show it, but they do have good players who play well and just haven’t had things go their way at this point.”