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Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

What 49ers’ Deebo Samuel, Brian Schneider said after Tuesday’s training camp practice

Aug 2, 2022 at 6:34 PM--

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San Francisco 49ers special teams coordinator Brian Schneider and wide receiver Deebo Samuel spoke with reporters after Tuesday's training camp practice. Here is everything they had to say.

Transcript provided by the San Francisco 49ers Communications staff.

Special Teams Coordinator Brian Schneider

You're the one we have to talk to after that practice with all that stuff that went down, is it just kind of a function of the heat and the pads coming on a little bit? Is that what you see?

"Yeah, probably. That was a really hot day. We probably had our biggest practice today. The most we wanted to do. Obviously, that was our longest practice so, guys were getting after it and working."

What's head coach Kyle Shanahan's message when he pulls the team together like that?

"A lot of things, but number one, he loves the effort, but we have to play smart. Some guys were getting in scraps out there, so he loves the intensity and we just have to learn how to play. I think in the final drive there, Kyle was doing more move the ball and really trying to simulate more of what a game is like. In and out and doing all those things right."

The team brought in a lot of new pieces from last year to this year, just in this first portion of camp. What kind of improvement have you seen just from what you've seen on tape to now?

"Well, and again with my first year here, what I can compare is what the offseason looked like to what now looks like. And I can really see an improvement across the board with every individual player, from the techniques and the fundamentals that they were doing in the offseason to now, we've made some strides. And so that goes along to all the team units we're working with too. And you're hoping that happens, because again, OTAs are spread out a little bit, the offseason is really spread out and all of a sudden you start putting practices together and you're really hoping to hone all those things in. What I can compare from the offseason to now, we've greatly improved."

What sort of coaching techniques or drills have you really tried to hone in on and bring to this special teams unit?

"Really it's all of them. What we try to do is really just break down a football play. And we always talk about, whether you're on offense or defense, there's certain fundamentals of football that you have to do. You have to block, you have to tackle and really in special teams, we use that all over the field. So we try to break that down into smaller areas where you're not running 50 yards to do all those things. We kind of start at the beginning of the play, whatever, if it's punt or a punt return, even a kickoff or kickoff return. And we work on that fundamental and same thing. It's footwork, it's tackling, it's head up, it's balance, it's all those things. And then we'll work it at the beginning and then we'll try and work it at the end where we're taking out the running of 40, 50 yards and trying to get more reps."

A place kicker around as long as K Robbie Gould, how much coaching are you doing and how much listening are you doing?

"A little of both and it's about us working out-- more importantly to me, it's how he feels and his health. And it's more important for him to feel fresh going into the first game of the year than it is anything that we want to work out throughout the week. So it's just constant communication. And I'm learning him and I want to help him and so I listen probably more than I coach, to be honest."

Have there been any particular players that caught your attention since training camp started?

"A lot really. And I could list most of them, but [LB Oren] Burks and [S George] Odum are really guys that stand out with just their consistency. [S Talanoa Hufanga] Huf has done a great job and I try not to name them because there's a lot of guys I want to mention. But really what I'm trying to do, we're repping so many guys right now that I'm just trying to learn all of their strengths and I'm trying to learn where we can place them and what position we can put them to help them look their best and to help our team look the best. So, that's kind of in flow as we keep going."

A little shot in the dark, but CB Ka'dar Hollman was getting some run with the first team defense today, not a guy most people know too much about. I assume in order to make the team, you have to play a little special teams too. Anyway, has he stood out to you in that regard at all?

"He's done a great job. And the way we evaluate those outside guys, either the gunners or the jammers, they have a 10-minute individual period when we're doing punt or punt return. And so, they get all that rep there. And what we're trying to do is get as many reps as we can for all of them for when they get in the game, in one of the preseason games. So that's where they can show their best. So, all of those guys, every rep, they get everything, they do counts in our evaluation. And ultimately, we're just trying to set them up for success when they get in the game."

Is it your experience that the guys that show up in reps in practice are the same guys that show up in games? Or are there guys that just sort of take it to another level in a game?

"Yeah, I think it kind of comes in all ways, in all forms, but mostly the most consistent guys in practice end up performing consistently in a game. And I even talked to, especially our rookies yesterday, not to get frustrated, because they can only control how many reps they get and really truthfully, they could go into a game and they might not get a rep because we might only punt once or we might only get one punt return. So, they're building their resume with what they do in practice and then ultimately, when they get a chance in the game, and that's not promised to them, so they just control what they control. So, I'm trying just to get them to have everything they do be consistent with the same effort in practice, in the meetings and eventually in the games."

When you get a group of guys that you haven't worked with before how much are you doing trial and error on where guys fit versus maybe going off of what you've seen on tape? Do you try to mix and match and take looks at different guys in this time?

"Yeah, I'm constantly learning our players. Constantly learning how they learn best, how I can teach them best, what their strengths are on the field. So, I'm constantly trying to pay attention to all of that and it comes a lot of different forms. Then our job as coaches, I think, is to fit them in the best place for them to be successful. And so, that's a big roster right now and so, we're training everybody now in the same way. And then as we get closer and closer and as we get to 53 and ultimately, every game changes in terms of where we place guys against who they're going against. And so, it's kind of broad right now and that will narrow down as we go."

WR Deebo Samuel

Besides the money, what does this symbolize for you? This contract with the 49ers?

"What do you mean?"

What does it symbolize to you? What does it mean?

"Besides the money, I just love the game. I love being out here. I love his team, the coaching staff and what we have here as organization."

Obviously, an obvious question is it appears as if you didn't feel that way all the way through the offseason, so what changed?

"At the end of the day, this is a business, so what changed was the communication. The more we communicated, the more we started to figure things out."

One of the narratives this offseason was that you were upset with how you were going to be used. Can you address that? Whether that's correct or not?

"That is false. There was a lot of things that came out that I wanted to speak on, but at the end of the day, I wasn't allowed to. So, you can turn on the tape, go back to the Cowboys game, it kind of shows what kind of player I am. And also, you can go turn on the Pro Bowl tape and what I said about being a wideback, I don't mind doing whatever it takes for this team to win."

Did it in some ways almost amuse you as you saw the various stories coming out?

"You kind of try to avoid it, but when it's thrown in your face, your just like, 'yo, they just, at this point, they're kind of making up stuff,' but being who I am and with the communication with the people that was close to me, keeping me levelheaded, there wasn't a reason to entertain it."

You mentioned the communication getting better, was there a point when general manager John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan came to you or came out to see you or anything like that, that got things kind of back on the right track?

"No, not necessarily coming to visit or anything. We just started communicating better and then at the end of the day we figured things out."

Is there anything you do want to clear up? Like what was the reason that there was the problem between you and the organization?

"At the end of the day, like I said, it was a business and we figured it out and we got everything done."

Your Instagram activity was a hot topic of conversation. What were you trying to convey with that? And what do you think about how athletes are able to use social media nowadays to kind of convey what they're feeling?

"It can be taken both ways. There's a lot of things that came out kind of relating to the incident. Everybody blew up for it. The situation at my camp and at the end of the day, it's just things like that we use our platform to clear up and certain things you don't speak on, but at the end of the day, like you're human and you have feelings as well, so you're never wrong about how you feel."

Was that why you took down all the 49ers pictures off your Instagram account, because you couldn't speak?

"Kind of. But at end of the day, like I said, it's just a business. It just is what it is."

Why do you think the NFC west is so competitive?

"I think this is where all the dogs at, for real. I just think this is where the best ball is."

If everybody stays healthy in the NFC West, do you think one of the teams out here will be playing in the Super Bowl this upcoming season?

"Of course, that's the number one goal here and that's the plan. Every year we go out there and as you can see, how we practice is how we're trying to play. And that's just a physical ball game that we just going to continue to play."

You bring such a unique skill set and the 49ers used you last season in very unique ways. Did you enjoy that part of it being what some people would call a unicorn, you know there's only one of you out there?

"I really did. Like I said, I'm a team-first player. I remember Kyle coming to me and was like, 'yo, Deebo you mind running the ball a little bit this week?' I was like, 'you know me, at the end of the day, its whatever it takes.' I'm pretty good with the ball in my hands and he figured out ways to do it. And we just excelled and then week-by-week it just got better."

T Trent Williams and some other people, NFL Hall of Fame WR Michael Irvin, have said that they spoke with you throughout this process. How much did you bounce ideas off of that and what was maybe some of the best advice you got?

"As far as Trent, that's kind of like my big brother. He just told me to stay levelheaded. Everything's going to work out and there's a time where I spent like a week with Trent, just chilling, just hanging around, just to keep my mind off a lot of things. And so that kind of helped me a lot."

You saw that wide receiver market just absolutely blow up and it was just one guy after another, after another. Was that a difficult time for you to see before the draft, after the draft? Heck as even as late as last week, all these guys getting rewarded and signing extensions while you were still kind of in limbo a little bit?

"No, I have really good people around me that kind of keep me levelheaded and they were like your time is coming, so I was patient as it can be."

Aside from Trent were a lot of teammates in your ear or just checking in how you were doing?

"Oh yeah, [QB] Trey [Lance], of course, he was definitely calling here and there. He was like, 'yo, Deebo how you doing?' I'm like, 'I'm good, bro.' And he was like, 'what's going on?' I was like, 'bro, we'll figure it out and whenever we figure it out we'll be back to work.'"

Yesterday was it reaffirmed to you, that the relationship between you and Kyle was pretty special? How special is that relationship and how much did that help in getting something done?

"I think it all started for me with Kyle at the Senior Bowl. Kind of getting a feel of who he was. Kyle, I can't even explain our relationship. It's just crazy. Like there's not a day I don't go in there, talk to him or whenever he's in the offseason in San Diego at his beach house or whatever, he'll FaceTime me on the water. It's just that kind of relationship I have with him outside. It's not necessarily about football. It's just about life."

How would you characterize your relationship with Trey?

"It's getting better by day. I wasn't able to spend a lot of time with him as I wanted to, but it's not hard to really be out there with Trey and he's willing to learn and I'm willing to learn as well. And we just come together as one and figure it out."

A lot of reps today with you and him, did you feel kind of like the chemistry is already building?

"Yeah, every time we step out there, we just trying to get better as a group day-by-day."

What does this contract mean to you? I mean you worked your whole life to sign that paper. What does it mean to you?

"It meant a lot. It's a feeling that I can't even explain to be honest with you. Once I got the call from my agent, I just was lost for words. It's just a blessing to be able to be in the position I'm in. It shows all the hard work and all the stuff that I do for this team and I'm just happy to be here."

You think being here for the mandatory mini-camp was kind of a statement for both sides that, 'okay, look, I'm here. We can work this out'?

"I was coming regardless, so I think that was the first step of figuring everything out."

Do you regret requesting a trade?

"Do I regret requesting a trade? At the end of the day, this is a business and we came to a decision and I'm here, so I'm happy to be here. And that's just what it is."

This was your first time going through the business aspect of this. What did you learn from this process that you'll take with you in the future?

"You just have to be patient. Be patient. Communicate. Everything is not going to happen as you want it to at first. And this is probably one of the most stressful weeks I've ever been a part of in my life."

How did you handle that stress? What did you do to--?

"Working out, running, trying to keep my mind off things, talking to Trent and here and there, talking to Kyle."

This week was the most stressful, like once you realized it was heating up?


You've spent a couple days with Trey, what have you seen from him as QB1 officially now?

"He's getting smarter by the day. I don't think he actually realizes that we probably have, well, we do have the best defense in the league and it's going to be hard to complete the balls. Nothing is going to be on time right now in practice because our D-line is amazing, but we're figuring out ways to figure it out."

Is there any inspiration behind that t-shirt?

"That's my dog. We are going to ride for all our players. It ain't just B.A. [WR Brandon Aiyuk]. I got Trey. I got [TE George] Kittle. I got [General Manager] John [Lynch], [NFL Hall of Fame WR] Jerry [Rice]. I got a lot of guys."

You were working out on your own as everything was getting figured out. Do you think it's been just a seamless transition into team drills for you?

"As far as that goes, I was just keeping myself in the best shape as possible to be able to go out here and practice whenever the time came. And as you see, they're not just throwing me out there in the fire and getting a million reps a day. It's kind of a buildup, so I'm pretty comfortable with where I'm at right now."

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