Photo courtesy of the San Francisco 49ers

Photo courtesy of the San Francisco 49ers

Nick Mullens talks lack of continuity, Deebo Samuel, Colton McKivitz, coaches ahead of 49ers-Rams

Nov 27, 2020 at 3:37 PM--

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Nick Mullens spoke with reporters after Friday's practice, as the team prepares for its game against the Los Angeles Rams. Here is everything he had to say.

Transcript provided by the San Francisco 49ers Communications staff.

How difficult has this week been just in terms of trying to get prepared when you're so short handed in practice?

"I haven't really been thinking about it too much. Yeah, the week, I know we had some guys out, maybe had to switch some practice schedule around as far as a walk-through and how much live reps we get and things like that, but it hasn't been too bad. And then had the virtual meetings. So, our circumstance is different a little bit, but the same information is getting distributed as far as game plan goes, the same reps as far as what you're seeing, what you're being able to practice as far as the game plan goes and things like that. So, it's been a good, solid week. Guys are working hard, focused on Sunday and that's what matters most."

How challenging is it to get back into the flow with guys like WR Deebo Samuel, who's been out a little bit and not having a full speed practice?

"Yeah. I mean, it's awesome to have Deebo back out on the field, first of all, but it's not, I mean, I haven't really been thinking about it too much, honestly. I feel like the guys did a good job of using the Bye week right, resting, but also taking care of their bodies and things like that. So, guys are looking good, looking ready to go and it's awesome to have Deebo back. I mean, he's a big-time playmaker for us. We're aware of what he brings to our offense and it's awesome to share the huddle with him."

In assessing your performance this year, head coach Kyle Shanahan was just noting, not making excuses for you, but, you know, just noting you've had different wide receivers, some unique situations. I think the Packers game would be a good example. It could be kind of a similar situation Sunday. Obviously, that's just the hand you've been dealt, but how hard has it been without that lack of continuity?

"It's different. But, you really just take one week at a time. And that's really what I've been just trying to focus on. Every game is a new game. Every game is a different game and that's how you have to approach it, just work as hard as you can one day at a time and get better every day. That's what coach Shanahan is preaching, I mean, really for the past four years. You're getting better or you're getting worse. And as a player, if I just focus on getting better every day, improve every game and protect the football, then I know I'll give our team a great chance to come out with victories."

This Rams defense is really highly rated. You've faced it before with some familiar faces with Los Angeles Rams DT Aaron Donald, Los Angeles Rams CB Jalen Ramsey. There is a new defensive coordinator. How has the defense changed schematically from former defensive coordinator Wade Phillips to Los Angeles Rams defensive coordinator Brandon Staley?

"Well, first of all yeah, coach Brandon Staley has done a great job. Just watching tape, you can tell they're very well coached. They're very, they do a good job from week to week adjusting to their opponent and so they do a great job. He came, I mean, he's a [Denver Broncos head coach] Vic Fangio disciple. And so that scheme overall has a great reputation throughout the league. And so, and they have 99 obviously. So, every team that plays them obviously accounts for 99 and then Ramsey, obviously a great player and other supporting cast is playing at a very high level too. So, we're up for the challenge and we're excited to go out and execute."

You just mentioned 99. OL Colton McKivitz is going to make his first ever start on Sunday. He'll probably go up against 99 quite a bit. What have you learned about Colton since he joined the team? What's he like? Anything that you can kind of share about the fifth-round pick?

"Yeah, Colton's awesome. First, I mean, I view him as a good old boy from West Virginia. And that's kind of, it's kind of the type of guy you want up front, just nasty, hard-nose grinders, and that's what Colton is. He's tall, long athletic and does a great job for us. As a rookie he has assumed his role very well, just working hard every day and getting better. And that's what Colton does. And so, I'm pumped to join the huddle with him and I'm pumped for him. First career start, it's going to be awesome."

What is your overall assessment of your performance this season?

"I think it, for me, if I protect the football, I think I'm a pretty darn good quarterback and that's really what matters most. And so, I'd like to improve on that after these past couple of games, but other than that, just stick to my reads, stick to my progressions, be accurate. I've had some good plays, had some bad plays, but you just keep working along and continue to work and execute at a high level."

How does Kyle Shanahan's game planning put you in a good position to win a game?

"Yeah, I mean, it's a fairly broad question, but week to week the coaches are going to do a great job. The way that they understand defense. I think that's the biggest thing. Our coach has talked about to be a good offensive coach you have to really understand the defense, how it operates, the defense's responsibilities. And they understand that so well that they know how to create the right schemes for guys to be open and for the best playmakers to make plays. And so that's, that's kind of how things operate and the coaches, coach [passing game coordinator Mike] LaFleur, coach [run game coordinator Mike] McDaniel, coach [quarterbacks coach Shane] Day, coach Shanahan, the whole offensive staff, a very collective group effort, and they do a great job."

You mentioned the turnovers. Obviously, each turnover is different, but has there been an overarching theme with the turnovers? Are you trying to do too much and is there something you can do to cut them down?

"Yeah, I think you're exactly right. Every one's different. It just depends on the situation, the play, the really just the situation. But that's all, I mean, as long as I can control that I think we'll be a very good football team. And so, that's something that you just continue to work at. Stick to your progressions, know where your outlets are. In a situation like the last one in New Orleans late in the game, I was just trying to give the guy a chance. So, everyone's different. But that's not, I mean, I'm not thinking about turnovers. I'm thinking about going out there playing well, throwing touchdowns and leading the offense."

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