Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Shanahan talks injuries, Jimmy Garoppolo, COVID-19, cornerbacks, Sean McVay ahead of 49ers-Rams

Oct 16, 2020 at 3:20 PM--

San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan spoke with reporters after practice on Friday as the team prepares to play the Los Angeles Rams. Here is everything he had to say.

Transcript provided by the San Francisco 49ers Communications staff.

Opening comments:

"All right guys, injuries for today. [LB] Kwon Alexander's out. [S] Marcell Harris is questionable. [CB] Dontae Johnson is out. [CB Emmanuel] Moseley is questionable and [RB] Jeff Wilson's questionable. Go ahead."

In terms of QB Jimmy Garoppolo, what did you see from him in practice this week, either on the field, in meeting rooms, in the locker room that gives you confidence that he's got a bounce back game in him?

"Because he looked healthy, had a good week of practice and he's played a lot of football before."

With Kwon, what is his status in terms of, you said you wanted to see the severity of the ankle? Is injured reserve a possibility for him or where does that stand?

"We don't think so right now. I never like to say minor high ankle sprain because high ankle sprains are always a big issue, but it wasn't your typical one where they for sure go on IR. So, that's why we haven't put him on that yet and we're hoping to keep him off."

Did Moseley practice in full today and if so, why is he listed as questionable?

"Just how the concussion protocol goes. There's one more step, I think, that's got to be cleared and hopefully that'll be done by tomorrow and as long as it is, he'll be starting out there on Sunday."

TE George Kittle talked about wanting to be a better team captain. He spoke to former San Francisco 49ers T Joe Staley, who he said was kind of a prick sometimes. Do you feel like you're missing that kind of asshole element to your locker room?

"Nice, I like how you swore. I'm always nervous to do that. I don't think so. I don't want guys to learn how to be that word that you said. I want people to be themselves. If they feel like being that way and it's natural, go ahead and be that way. I think George is a hell of a captain and he does it a great way. Staley was a hell of a captain who did it a great way. So, I appreciate George trying to do everything he can to get better, but I just want George to be himself. Don't try to be Staley, be yourself."

Have you seen the news coming out of New England today about a couple of positive tests that they had? Also, as a coach, how prepared are you to be nimble when it comes to all the scheduling stuff that might have to come up if there are cases, whether it's with you guys or somewhere else throughout the league?

"I feel like I'm always prepared to adapt to whatever the situation is. I'm not going to sit here and say we're preparing every day for what's going to happen that we have no idea. We're prepared that we're going to eventually have to adjust. There's not a lot of options to it. If you have to shut down, you shut down and then you figure out when you can come back. And you see the time that you have to come back to get ready for a game and it doesn't sound like that's ever something that's going to be set in stone either. So, that's kind of how we prepared coming into this year that you're going to have to be able to adapt a lot of situations you're not sure about. I think that's the main thing you're ready for. Don't freak out and get overwhelmed with it, expect it to happen as a matter of time before it does happen and when it does, embrace it and do it the best you can."

A couple of guys, I think after the game, Jimmy and LB Fred Warner, mentioned just kind of finding your identity as a team. I know last year, the identity kind of fed off you had a destructive defensive line. Obviously, that may not be the case for the rest of this season. Do you understand what they're saying and obviously every time you have the ball, you want to score a touchdown, but does the offense maybe have to take over some of that identity and lead the team?

"I think you play football as good as you can and whatever you ended up doing consistently ends up being your identity. So, I'm not going to say which way it has to go. I think everyone's got to play the best they can. I got to coach the best I can and I haven't seen that yet. So, that's what we're still trying to do. I think our identity last year just started out by starting out 8-0. I mean, our first game it wasn't exactly that way. Our second game, it was good on both sides versus Cincinnati in a blowout. You started to build up just one week at a time and eventually we look up and we're undefeated. I think our identity came through that and being just extremely confident that we can handle whatever. I think we did that throughout the year. I think we won games on defense. We won games on offense. We won it on special teams. We're trying to figure that out right now. When you have two wins and three losses, you're not exactly sure yet. We're trying to string together some things consistently and when we do that, we'll find out what makes our team up the most. But, it's been a little here, a little there, but when we start playing all together, then we'll know what that identity is."

Do you have a sense at this point with the three guys who are on PUP, DL Ronald Blair III, C Western Richburg and DL Jullian Taylor, if you're going to be able to open the window for them next week to start practice?

"No, I don't believe that's next week. I think that's coming around. Don't, well, you're probably going to quote me on this, but I might go back on it. I think it's between like weeks 10 and 12 was more when we're looking into that."

You said Emmanuel Moseley is likely to start if he's available. Where does that leave CB Jason Verrett and CB Ahkello Witherspoon given that Ahkello's usually been a field corner and Verrett is usually been the boundary?

"Verrett's been our field corner since [CB Richard] Sherman's been out and that'll stay the same way. So, I hope that Moseley gets cleared for tomorrow and if not, I expect Ahkello to go out there and start."

Sorry, just to follow up on the question about PUP. We all thought it was after Week 6 that these guys could return to practice. Is that not the case?

"No, it's not. They could, but they won't be healthy enough at that time."

Will QB C.J. Beathard backup Jimmy on Sunday or will it be QB Nick Mullens?

"I'm going to decide that Sunday right before kickoff. So, I'm not sure yet, but you'll see then."

You finally had a week of all your offensive weapons on the field together. How did it go? How did it look?

"It was good. Just to get three days in a row of guys working, putting a lot of pressure on them, just making them work hard. These guys took a lot of reps, more reps this week than they probably had, probably this year combined. So, I know it's tiring on them. It's going to be nice, we went pretty much went half-speed today, they'll get tomorrow to rest, a long day on Sunday before we kick off with the night game. Hopefully it'll help them out this week."

Given Jimmy's ankle injury, what are you looking for from him on Sunday? I guess how are you going to gauge whether he has a good game or not based on the fact that he might not be at full strength?

"I'm not thinking about the ankle and I don't think he is going into the game. I think you try to get to a point where you're healthy enough to play, which a lot of guys are at, but a lot of guys have injuries they've got to play through. It's the point of where you're at in that. I think Jimmy's at a better spot this week than he was last week. So, I don't think about the ankle in that case. I expect him to go out and play well and that's how I'll judge him."

I'm sure you've been asked this a hundred times, but I was just wondering if you had a story about Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay when you guys were working together early on where you were thinking, 'Wow, this dude really gets it.'

"I could tell Sean, just from our first interview with him, Sean and I had a lot in common in terms of, I started out my career as quality control with [Las Vegas Raiders head coach] Jon Gruden. Then when I left to go to Houston, Sean was the guy who came in and replaced me. So, I knew exactly how he came up in his two years there. It was the same way I did. It was neat when I went to Washington to interview him, my dad and I were interviewing him, and he came in and I knew exactly what he had been through those previous two years and to watch how on it he was and all the stuff that he had done and being with Jon and stuff. It was great to get with him and he ended up getting an opportunity to be a tight end coach. I think it was like Week 12 that year because the tight end coach, who is my tight end coach now in [tight ends coach] Jon Embree ended up leaving to be the head coach at CU. Sean had done such a good job as a QC and it happened late in the year, so we moved him in that role. By the next year, he owned that role and he got it for the whole year and did a great job for me the next three years. You could tell right away, it was a matter of time before he'd be a coordinator and a matter of time before he'd be a head coach. So, I've always loved the relationship I have with Sean, the respect we have for each other. Be a lot more fun for us if we weren't in the same division, because we love talking ball and we like hanging out, but that's a little more hampered when we're constantly competing against each other."

Update on two injured guys. Richard Sherman, how did those injections go for him this week? And also, Ronald Blair, did he have a setback? I think it was expected that he might be back practicing next week.

"No. Yeah, Ronald Blair did have a setback. Had to redo some things to his knee. Some stuff that they messed up in it. He is doing a lot better from that, but that's why he's going to be a couple of weeks longer than expected. Sherm got the injections and stuff. I know now it's a matter of time of resting it and you don't go out and see if they've worked yet, you let the injections do their course and you see how it is, whether it's next week or the week after."

QB Jimmy Garoppolo
Press Conference – October 16, 2020
San Francisco 49ers
Listen to Audio I Media Center

Head coach Kyle Shanahan says you're in better shape this week than last week. One, how much more comfortable are you? And then back to last week's game, did you get hit on that first pass when the guy came in low after you threw that third down pass? And did that sting you initially?

"The hit didn't really bother me. He went a little low, but it didn't bother me too much. As far as the ankle, it's feeling great this week. It really is. Just made a lot of improvements, just a couple extra days I think to consistently get better. So, it's just one of those things you've just got to keep working at it."

When you've had some kind of stops and starts with the injuries and stuff like that and you've got moving pieces around you, how hard has it made for you to kind of find your rhythm just in these first five, six weeks?

"It's kind of one of those things, everyone in the NFL is dealing with this. We've dealt with it year to year. I think just that ability to bring different guys in and plug them in is tougher this year, not having OTAs and a full training camp, like usual. So, it's a little different, but it's kind of a situation that everyone's dealing with. It's one of those things, you've got to make the best of it and just play catch up as quickly as possible."

After the game Sunday, TE George Kittle talked about, he was disappointed because the defense is so banged up and the offense kind of had everyone back and didn't feel like you performed like you were capable. Obviously, as offensive players, you're trying to score a touchdown on every drive and all that, but I don't know. Is there a certain weight that you feel for the offense to maybe shoulder more of the load?

"I think in our minds as an offense, like you said, we could look to score every single drive, every play we want to execute perfectly and as long as we can hold ourselves to that standard, I think it'll put us in a good spot. As far as, playing with the defense, I think one of our strengths is we play complimentary football. I think that's what we need to get back to. When they get a turnover, can we take advantage of it and go punch it in for a touchdown? That's how you make jumps on teams. That's how you really put teams away early and you have a chance to do that. So, I think it's more about playing complimentary football with one another. And yeah, obviously we want to execute as best we can."

One of the areas where you guys were really good as a pass offense last year was first down on the efficiency numbers and this year, it hasn't been good. I'm wondering, do you guys break it up into downs? Do you look at your efficiency per down and what do you think is the key to improving those numbers on first downs?

"I think being efficient on first down last year helped us with everything throughout the game. I think that was one thing that really carried game to game. We were very consistent at it and so putting ourselves in a lot of second and longs this year. We've overcome a couple of them, but in the NFL, when you put yourself in too many of those, you're just not going to make it and you don't have a chance. So, I think yeah, getting back to our roots. It's all about efficiency. Keep the ball moving forward. As long as we avoid the sacks, the negative runs, things like that, penalties, it'll put us in a good position."

You finally had a lot of your pieces back on the offense in practice this week. How much does three days of great practice with all your players and pieces help you going forward on Sunday?

"Oh, it's a ton. It's tremendous. When you get guys out there and we're doing the same plays with the same people and you start to get a feel for one another, it takes time. It's one of those things that it's not going to happen overnight. We know that. So, it's just about putting in the time on the field, off the field, interacting with one another and just getting on the same page as fast as we can."

George said yesterday, he thought the Thursday practice was the best one of the season for you guys. What was your assessment of that practice and if you agree with him, what made it sort of stand out?

"I think it was just how locked in people were. This whole week, there was a sense of urgency around the building that you feel. You definitely feel with the guys, with the coaches and then when we get on the field, just guys have been locked in. That's really what you need, especially when you've got young guys who are trying to play catch up with this different type of season. You've got to do things a little differently and so guys have been locked in all week. I thought Thursday, we were running around, good energy, good tempo. Yeah, I would agree with George. It was a good day."

George has also said that the captains need to play better. As a captain, as a leader, going into this division game, what do you say to the team to help keep that sense of urgency?

"There's really not a ton to say at this point. It's more of just go out there and show it. I think guys, enough has been said, enough clichés and everything like that. Now it's about going out there, doing the work, putting in the time and committing to it. That's really what it comes down to and I think we've got a group of guys where, like George said, the captains lead the way, show everyone how to do it, set the example and I think everyone else will follow them. We've got a good group for that."

You mentioned there's some urgency. Obviously, seasons can get away from teams. You mentioned clichés, how about this one? Is this kind of a must win situation? Sheesh, just another awful media question. But, anyways, is there that sense that guys, we've got to stop the bleeding and win this game?

"I thought it was a good question, just for the record. I wouldn't say we're in that category. It's just more of a sense of urgency where everyone feels it. Like I was saying, it's nothing that we need to say, nothing that we need to talk about. It's more of just a feeling in the building of guys feeling it, the coaches feeling it. We're in a good spot and we've got a good opportunity on Sunday."

In terms of the Rams themselves, what do you see that they've done defensively this year that maybe they haven't done in the past? You're 3-0 against them, so do you get a little bit more jazzed up to play that division rivals or is there's something special about the Rams?

"Any division rival, all those games you get fired up for them. Obviously, carried more weight, feel a little different when you get out there. They've moved [CB Jalen] Ramsey inside, so that's obviously a little different with their defense, but for the most part, it's very similar to what it's been in the past. Got to handle them up front. And in the back end, they're very talented. So, it'll be a good test for us on Sunday."

You had said you've never dealt a high ankle sprain before. What have you learned about the injury the last couple of weeks?

"They suck. Yeah, they're not very fun. I always thought a high ankle was like a normal ankle sprain. So, you learn something new every day, I guess. It's just kind of one of those things, everyone in that locker room is dealing with something. Just got to handle it. It is what it is and go play the game on Sunday."

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