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Kyle Shanahan, Jimmy Garoppolo provide final updates ahead of 49ers-Rams

Jan 28, 2022 at 4:04 PM

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The San Francisco 49ers are preparing to play the Los Angeles Rams in the NFC Championship Game on Sunday. Head coach Kyle Shanahan and quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo spoke with reporters after today's practice. Here is everything they had to say.

Transcript provided by the San Francisco 49ers Communications staff.

Head Coach Kyle Shanahan

Opening comments:

"Alright guys injuries, we've got [RB] Jeff Wilson [Jr.], questionable. [T] Trent Williams did not practice, he's questionable. Go ahead."

It seems kind of unique that you guys are leaving on a Friday for such a short trip. What's the thinking behind that and do you guys kind of feel like this whole traveling routine is coming second nature to you at this point?

"Yeah, I don't like to change up what we normally do. It just feels like we normally leave on Fridays because it seems like we've had so many road trips recently. But a number of players hit me up Sunday, right after the Rams won, they hit me up Sunday and asked if we could go on Friday and I was pumped they asked because I like going on Fridays more now. You get more time to focus and get right to the game. And so that's what we're doing. We're still going to try to land there like we would like we're going to the east coast, which usually around like 10:30, 11, so right when we get there we go to bed. So we just finished up here. We'll probably go home, spend a few hours with our families and come back here and get on the bus around eight."

We saw Trent Williams walking off the field in the jersey and shorts and he didn't have a boot on. So I take that as an encouraging sign. Is there a genuine sense of optimism that he's going to be able to play or is this going to come down to like it was three weeks ago where it could change right before kickoff?

"It's going to be like it was three weeks ago. I feel the same way as I did at the beginning of the week. He came out for walk-through today and Trent is adamant that he's going and he was last time too, which, I believe Trent when he says that he's going to do everything that he can to play. And so I'll be surprised if he doesn't, but I was surprised last time. I was also surprised he was able to finish the game versus Green Bay. So hopefully his mindset will be how his body reacts on Sunday. We know it'll help us a lot, but if not, we'll deal with it."

With WR Mohamed Sanu Sr. being back, how does he look? Is there a chance for him to be involved Sunday?

"There is a chance. I'd love to get Mo up. That's why we activated him to have a chance to, this week or hopefully next week, but it all kind of plays off of our situations on special teams and which direction we want to go. Still kind of working through that, but we'll see on Sunday."

You've worked a lot of years with running backs coach Robert Turner Jr. What is it about him that allows him to always seem to get the best out of whoever was in that running back room?

"Because he leaves no stone unturned. That guy coaches running backs as hard as you could possibly do it. And some guys can't handle it. They might think he over coaches it, not over coaches it but, is on them so much because he demands every little detail that sometimes it can wear on the running backs. Sometimes they want to be like, 'Hey man, this just let me relax for a little bit,' but Bobby's not going to. He's going to prepare them for every moment. And it takes some time to get used to, but that's why they all love him so much because they get in these type of situations and we have a rookie who's been helping us out throughout the year and I personally think he feels prepared for everything because Bobby's been doing it since OTA one. He is the only coach who probably has 200 and something questions for his tests where most people have like 20. He's going to leave nothing unturned and that's our threat to [WR] Deebo [Samuel] that if he does anything wrong, we're going to make him have to do Bobby Turner's test because he's a running back also. So, there's so much respect for Bobby between the coaches and players around here because you know that his intent is to make the best for his guys."

Earlier in the week you said you wouldn't know until the end of the week, whether Trent Williams ankle injury was a low ankle injury or a high ankle sprain. Did you get a verdict on that?

"Yeah, I did."

Will you share it with us?

"No. Good question though, but no."

You talk so much about being physical and this team is founded on a physical running game. It's not a quantifiable thing, so I guess, how do you wait and just determine whether you're being physical enough?

"That's just how you do things. You don't try to turn it up or turn it down, it's just how you play football. I don't think you should pick and choose when to be physical in football. You get more than five fouls or six, I guess in the NBA. But you want guys to play the game right. And I think it starts with practice in that way, which is a very fine line. You can't do that all the time and keep guys healthy. That's why it's a tough sport to practice. It's a tough sport to do year-round, but that is what the sport is. It's the physicality, it's about running, it's about hitting, it's about blocking, it's about tackling and you have to train guys to do that. And then you just cut them loos in the game."

Yesterday, DL Jordan Willis spoke to us about why he didn't talk to us after the game on Saturday. Just his selflessness and his humble attitude, can share what you know about him kind of personally, and then just speak to the selflessness of all the players on your roster?

"Jordan's unique in that way. Jordan's one of the shyer guys that've been around, it has taken us some time to get to know him because he doesn't talk much. He lays real low. But when he does talk or if you hear him talk, he's a very thoughtful person who's a pretty deep guy. He sends [DL Nick] Bosa a number of motivational things that I know Bosa's into. When he made that play for our team, just how he was after the game, how he was to you, that's how he is to us all the time. And it's rare to see someone that humble. But he's a special dude that our team has really embraced. It's taken us some time to get to know him, him coming here in the middle of last year. But he is definitely one of us and the guys love him here. And I feel that's how our whole team is, guys care about each other a lot. And obviously everyone wants their own individual success. That's always important for you and your family, but I think everyone on our team knows that in this sport you can't reach your own individual goals without the people around you. Everybody needs someone else in this sport. And I think it helps a lot when you respect each other and I think for the most part we all like each other too."

You had shared earlier that you were pretty surprised about CB Ambry Thomas' late season development. Could you say, in general, the same thing just about your cornerback core? After losing CB Jason Verrett in Week 1, it looked kind of bleak because it seemed like the depth there was not wonderful?

"No, yeah. We knew going into this year. That and running back, we had some guys who had played at a high level and that we were dependent on, but also some guys that had gotten hurt before and we knew we didn't have much depth behind them. And to start the season out, where both of those issues were where we were a little thin at. With losing Jeff Wilson in the locker room in OTAs and losing Verrett and in Week 1 and losing [CB Emmanuel] Moseley very fast. We got down there, but that's why we knew we had to get some draft picks. And you don't know when those guys were going to be ready. Especially some later around guys, [DB Deommodore Lenoir] D-Mo had to help us out a lot at the beginning. We got Elijah right away. [RB] Trey Sermon had to come in for a few games and help us and just really all those guys being able to weather the storm. And we had to bring in some vets right away with [CB] Josh Norman who was huge for us. [CB] Dre Kirkpatrick who helped us in a number of games. But all those guys were crucial. You talk about Josh Norman and for him to do what he did to get us this far and to still allow us the time to be patient with Ambry until it was his turn to go, that was huge. And we wouldn't be here without all those guys, so it's been a grind, but that's also why I feel our guys have all gotten better too, because they had to. And I'm just very thankful for some of the guys that allowed us to bide that time and get us to the position we're at."

QB Jimmy Garoppolo

So were you one of the guys who hit up head coach Kyle Shanahan about traveling on Friday? And what's your routine on road trips now?

"Yeah, it was a group of us who were all interested in that. It's kind of been our routine on most away trips this season. So I think it just gets guys locked in. I've got a pretty good routine as far as studying and things like that. And just when we leave on Friday, it allows you to stay more locked into the gameplan and eliminates distractions."

Kyle said yesterday that you guys win as a team, which is why you don't necessarily have some of the numbers that some of the MVP candidates have. And that's something that in the time we've covered you, doesn't seem to bother you. Is that something that was ingrained as you as a kid or at what point did it become not about you and always about the team?

"I don't know. I think it's just about winning, honestly. That's why you play the game. Statistics and individual things are all cool and everything, but you play to win the game and you to go out there and try to win championships. And maybe our numbers don't show the MVP stuff, but I think we've got a couple players on our team, [WR] Deebo [Samuel], [T] Trent Williams, those guys could be in that conversation very easily. If the award was looked at a little differently."

When you were watching a film of the Rams against the Bucs what struck you about watching your old teammate, Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB Tom Brady, operate against them and any contact with him this week?

"No, I give him a lot of credit for just the situation he was in, just being down a couple guys. It was a tough situation, but he battled back there at the end, gave them a chance to have a shot at the end there. That's all you could hope for, but it was a grinder of a game. It definitely was. And it showed."

Just being around Trent this week as he's dealing, I'm sure you're not going to give away his playing status or whatever, even if you know that. But just what was he like this week? What is his mentality kind of dealing with the injury and trying to make sure that he's available for you guys on Sunday?

"Well, he is doing everything he can. I've seen him in here just putting in the hours in the training room, studying and all that stuff. Hopefully, we'll get to see him out there, but we'll see. Those high ankles are never a fun thing. I know that from experience, but all the guys, everyone's dealing with stuff right now. It's just that time of year. And it's a good group to have with me in that huddle."

Is it easier or harder playing a team for the third time? Just knowing exactly what you're getting, do you see that as a positive thing?

"This will be my first time. I've never actually done it. So, it'll be a little different, but these guys know us, we know them. There's really no secrets or anything like that. So it's about, going out there, beating your man and executing. Other than that, it's just football."

I realize the NFL injury report doesn't exactly list every single injury, maybe a player has. You are no longer on the injury report with your shoulder. How does your shoulder feel like compared to last week?

"Feels great. Yeah. Arm is ready to roll."

When you're watching film of the Rams and watching what they do, do you take more into account of what has worked better against them or what has failed against them?

"That's a good question. I think there's a fine line. The things that you did well in the past, you assume that a team that you're going against will fix those things and be ready for the next time you face them. But at the same time, yeah like you're saying, there's some things that you don't even want to try again because they didn't work or maybe it was bad timing of the call, whatever it is. There's a bunch of variables, but yeah, I know that I kind of just answered both ways there. But yeah, you definitely have to take both into account."

Earlier in the week, I think K Robbie Gould and TE George Kittle and even coach touched on it a little bit about that feeling of walking off the field in Miami after the Kansas City game, how that's kind of motivated them. Have you used any of that or do you use motivation from that Super Bowl loss?

"Yeah, since it's happened, it's been a motivator for me. Honestly, it's a feeling that can't be described. It's unlike any other loss I've ever had. And since that moment it's motivated me and it always will going forward. But those are the lessons, sports are never going to be perfect. And if you can take those lessons and be better from it, you'll be better off in the long run."

I understand you have a torn ligament in your thumb and it needs surgery, but has it improved at all since you hurt it? Or is it the same?

"Yeah, it feels great. I think we'll approach that after the season a little more, but it's holding up for right now, but it'll be alright."
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