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Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

What Kyle Shanahan said ahead of 49ers’ 9th training camp practice

Aug 6, 2022 at 4:42 PM--

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San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan spoke with reporters before Saturday's practice, the ninth of training camp. Here is everything he had to say.

Transcript provided by the San Francisco 49ers Communications staff.

We saw WR Deebo Samuel and QB Trey Lance doing some after practice stuff yesterday. Where are they in terms of their chemistry and are you confident that that can be sort of bridged before the season begins?

"Yeah, definitely. I think a lot of that stuff's overrated, personally. I think it's just about getting Deebo back in practice consistently with the reps. We've eased him in with him having a late start. He's just starting to get up to normal practice, I think it'll be here in the next couple of days, but it'll come. And I didn't know they worked after, I liked that they do that."

T Mike McGlinchey has been worked back in a little bit now. What do you see from him? How far along is he?

"You can't see anything wrong with him out there. He talks about being pain free, so it's been great. So I picture him kind of in the same boat as [DT Javon] Kinlaw, same boat as [LB Dre] Greenlaw, [LB] Azeez [Al-Shaair], guys who has some big offseason stuff who are doing great, but we have to monitor their reps so they don't have that wear and tear as we ease them back in."

Are you happy with how the offense responded yesterday? I noticed, I think that there was intentional penalties given there to move them back to their five. Was that intentional and were you happy with that?

"It was a get back on track period, so you have a play, but then it ends up being first-and-20. So it's just situational football and it's fun to call holding penalties on people who don't hold to watch them get very sensitive about it, but that's kind of part of it."

Was it T Trent Williams that you called it on?

"I called it on [TE George] Kittle. I called one on [QB] Nate Sudfeld. I think I called one on McGlinchey, just all the people I think it'll bother."

What's CB Jason Verrett's timeline? I guess he's running pretty well on the field. Does that move up his possibility to get into camp?

"We'd love to get him into camp. We'd love to get him ready for Week One. I think that's his mindset. And so I'll never go against him on that, but I'm definitely ready if he's not ready for Week One to get him to whenever he's ready. If he comes back Week One, Week Four, Week Eight at the end of the year that guy is, everyone knows how talented and good of a player he is, but he's one of the best leaders on our team too. I thought our first year we had him here was similar. I thought we brought him back a hair too early because he was healthy, but he didn't have his legs back quite yet. And he got thrown in that game verse, I think Pittsburgh in Week Three, he got beat on a go route. And that's when we saw he wasn't quite there yet. And then it's hard to start back, so we definitely don't want to do anything too soon and give him the time to get back to being Jason."

We talked a lot about WR Brandon Aiyuk's demeanor yesterday, but on the field, he's just been pretty dominant. Have you seen any different part of his game? Coming from a receiver, what have you seen from him from last year to this year?

"He's developing in all the stuff he needed to do to get better. He comes off the ball every play, he runs full speed every play, he's not slow playing stuff anymore. He's not sitting there and fighting with guys with his hands. He's doing it with his feet, with his hips, creating edges by running, breaking down. If you want to get open in this league, you have to be so violent on how you run and putting your knees into the ground and everything. And that's hard on guys a lot. They do that like three days in a row and sometimes they have to take a week off. That's why it's so crucial how these guys prepare. And it's hard when we're not around him, but B.A., he did it all when he was away from us, he did it all throughout OTAs and his body can handle everything he's doing and that's why he is getting better right now."

Along those lines, how's WR Danny Gray done as far as playing with that needed violence at that position?

"He's coming along. He's got his rookie stuff, just like all of them pretty much do, usually. But I've liked how he has responded. It's pretty much guaranteed that a rookie, especially a rookie receiver, is going to do something to bother me in every practice. But that's how you coach guys to get them better and I've really been impressed with him that every time we get on him for something and the next day he responds. He doesn't feel sorry for himself. He doesn't think we're picking on him. He hears us, he listens and he goes out and usually fixes it the next day."

If you can't name someone on your roster, who is the most decisive runner you've ever coached and who's the best route runner?

"Decisive running back? [Former NFL RB] Arian Foster was pretty decisive. He got downhill right away. Never messed around. [RB] Elijah [Mitchell]'s pretty decisive."

He's on your current roster. Your cardinal rule.

"You said not on our current roster? Your questions are so slow and long, I don't always hear them all (laughing). Route runners, [Tampa Bay Buccaneers WR] Julio [Jones] was the best because he's the only guy who was that explosive and that fast, who could break down that violently and that's why he was such a problem. [Former NFL WR] Andre Johnson was the closest to that that I had. When it just comes to route running, people you guys don't know like [Former NFL WR] David Anderson was unbelievable. Just guys who you don't think can make it, but they have a way of separating and he was one of the better ones. [Former NFL TE] Owen Daniels was a great one. [Former NFL TE] Jordan Reed."

How do you evaluate that? Like when guys who are coming out of college, because WR Jauan Jennings was somebody who like athletically was maybe questionable, but just had the knack for separating. Like is that just tape? How do you sort of--?

"You have to watch how they separate verse people and how they move and Jauan is a little unusual in his movement, so it doesn't jump off to everyone, but if you watch him, he creates an edge on people every single play. And when he doesn't, he never stops running, so he's violent and big enough that he fights through everything. And then when he has the hands, even when he's covered, he's stepping back to the wall which was similar to [New England Patriots WR Kendrick Bourne] KB in that way. But Jauan is a little unorthodox in his movement, but I feel if you talk to the corners out there, he's been the toughest one to cover."

Yesterday was a really good day for the passing game. Is week two, the second block of practices kind of when the offense usually starts hitting it stride in camp?

"It's back and forth. The only reason I know that was everyone felt it was a good day, because [vice president of football communications] Corry [Rush] told me that before I came in. So I didn't totally feel that way. Maybe it's because we had less passes. We had a short yardage period, so less things could go wrong in the pass game, but I didn't totally feel it that way. I don't get too caught up in winning the day. I get totally caught up in the process. Even when some stuff looks terrible sometimes. Out there I'm really upset, but then when you watch the film, you get to talk to guys, it's kind of the best thing that could happen, because that stuff is going to happen eventually. And you have to put guys through situations and when everything goes right, that's kind of a fake deal because it's not going to go right, so you just try to put them through everything that you can."

Former 49ers DL Bryant Young is going into the Hall of Fame today. There's signage up around the stadium, celebrating that. Are you guys doing anything as a team today to commemorate it? Will you watch his speech and has he addressed the guys at all at camp?

"I would love to watch his speech tonight. I don't know what time it's at. Usually it's during our walk through, so we've got to see. We missed a lot of John's last year with that, so we'll replay for people. But I love B.Y., I was a ball boy when he got drafted. And talk about a rookie who comes in who doesn't act like a rookie. That guy was a man from day one. And for me to even know that as a seventh grader, it shows how unusual it was and how much he stuck out. I think that was our Super Bowl year. And then just how long of a career he had. I got to see him in Atlanta. He'd come out and he was tight with [Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn] Q, so he got to work with us a little bit. And he was a guy I tried to bring here a few years ago. Just the situation wasn't right at the time. But B.Y. is so deserving as a player and one of the most impressive people too."

That '94 team was famously competitive in training camp. How much of that do you remember being a ball boy?

"I remember a lot of it. Yep. Most of the stuff I remember is football stuff, but that was such a fun year. They brought in [former NFL FB] William Floyd bar none competing with [former NFL FB Tom] Rathman. They had all the receivers, they had-- I mean then [NFL HOF CB] Deion [Sanders] wasn't there in camp, but I think he came Week Three. You had [Former NFL LB] Ken Norton Jr. who just got there for the first year, which changed everything. You had older veterans like [Former NFL LB] Gary Plummer coming in who were awesome. [NFL HOF DL] Richard Dent. Gave one of the rookie receivers his golf club for some fishing Derby putting thing and he dropped the golf club and it went in a lake and he offered someone $200 if they'd go find it the next day, so the next day I went over there with goggles and shoes and went swimming in the nasty lake and got that golf club and got $200. It was awesome, but that was so cool. I mean [Former NFL LB] Ricky Jackson, everybody, [Former NFL DB] Eric Davis, that was as cool of a thing to be around as I can remember."

Are there guys on your roster like that now that came in as rookies that didn't feel like rookies?

"[DL Nick] Bosa. Yep. Bosa's been a professional since three years old."

DL Kerry Hyder Jr. had his best career season before he left to Seattle. Now he's back. What can you see about him and what defensive line coach Kris Kocurek is able to do to get so much out of his guys?

"I think the style that Kris allows him to play with really gives him some freedom and Kerry's one of the smarter D-linemen I've been around. So when you have a style that allows him to make plays and you're smart enough to figure out how to do it, it gives you a huge advantage and I compare Kerry a lot to what [Former 49ers DL Ronald] Ronnie Blair was for us a few years ago, just a guy who can kind of do everything. The first day might not jump out to people, but by the 10th day you realize he's there every single day. And during our COVID year, that rough year, he was one of the true leaders of our team and he was a guy we didn't want to lose. It was tough when we did and I feel very fortunate to have him back."

Elijah Mitchell was a bit of a revelation last year. What have you seen from him this year to build on?

"I've been excited the last couple practices, because his offseason, it took him a while to recover from the stuff that he had to get done. So he didn't get much done in OTAs and the month away I could say coming back, he had really bulked up and put some good size on. And now it's about just getting him in there and getting used to the wear and tear again so we can improve in the pass game, improve in some of the runs, improve in some of the bigger runs, stuff that he knows. And he is so capable of getting better. It's just been getting him healthy enough to allow him to develop that stuff."

How much has having QB Trey Lance changed your playbook?

"Not really at all. You do the same stuff and you just got a couple more elements. When you have a threat of a running quarterback, that can change defenses and when you see how it changes them, then you adjust to that. But we had stuff in last year, we've worked on stuff and even when you do stuff that seems different to everyone else, it's the exact same play to the o-line. It's the exact same play to the running back. It's the exact same play to the receivers, but if they don't count for him, then he gets to run. So it doesn't really change as much as it seems."

Some people have been skeptical of making Nate Sudfeld your backup quarterback just because he doesn't have the resume of actually playing. If you lacked any confidence in him, has his training camp given you more confidence that he can do it?

"Yeah, we've been here with Nate for a year, so that's given us confidence to build a roster that we have with him. He's giving me confidence now because I feel him getting better each day. I thought yesterday was his best practice of camp and hopefully that continues."

QB Trey Lance

It seems like things started off maybe a little bit shaky today. Maybe it's just incompletions, whatever, but it seemed like you guys found a rhythm there at the end. Can you just take us through that last situation?

"Yeah. We ended with the two-minute drill and ups and downs trying to get explosives, trying to move the ball, trying to be efficient. But yeah, it ended up where [WR] Ray-Ray [McCloud] made a great play, coming back to the ball, a tough situation, six seconds left. I think we were from like the 20-yard line. Yeah, that's about as tough as it gets, that situation, so for Ray-Ray to work, keep working off-schedule, the offensive line to hold up and do a good enough job for me to just be able to get the pass off and give us a chance. But yeah, I give credit to Ray-Ray on that one, he made a great play."

How nice has it been to have WR Deebo Samuel back and also how much of an emphasis was it for you to make sure you guys get on the same page? I saw you working a little extra yesterday at the end.

"It's awesome. I mean, anytime we're both feeling good after practice. Yesterday was a little bit lower volume than today was, so anytime that we're able to get extra work. Ray-Ray, [TE] George [Kittle]. During special teams, Deebo is on some special teams, so it's hard during those in-between periods to get extra work with him. And obviously, we use him in so many different ways, so there's so many things we can do to get extra reps, outside of just throwing routes. But it's been awesome to have him back, man. Just in the locker room, his energy's been back. In the meeting room, he's just a high-energy guy, fun guy to be around. And everyone knows what he does on the field."

Can you go back to the touchdown pass that you threw to Ray-Ray, you stepped up in the pocket. Did you have a lane that you were tempted to go and run through and kind of what is it this camp that you're trying to do so that you're not doing that look for the pass first?

"Yeah, I said it kind of last time. I haven't really changed my mindset as far as no one's telling me not to run or to run. But just trying to play fast. In that situation, everyone's on the goal line and I'm on the 20-yard line, so if I run the game is over. I'm not going to run through eight guys in that situation. So I know I just have to get the ball up, get the ball out and give those guys a shot. Like I said, Ray-Ray made a great play, working in the back of the end zone."

You rolled left, he was on the right. Was he your first read? Like when did you spot him in the play?

"Everyone's kind of one in that situation. It's just whoever pops and he did a great job. I saw him sell, I think it was [DB Darqueze Dennard] 'Quez guarding him in that situation in the end zone. Started like he was going to come across and come back down in stem. Man, he ran a great route, created separation. I just had to get the ball out."

What happened on the interception?

"It was zero pressure. I just have to get the ball out faster, and [DB] Jimmie [Ward] made a great play. It sucks. It's frustrating, but, at the end of the day, I'm here to turn the page and I'm really glad we're going against this defense."

You guys are locker mates, right? Does he let you hear about that?

"Oh yeah, I'm sure he will. Yeah, but he's going to have to hear from me again tomorrow. He's not going to say too much about it, but man, he made a great play. And he's always helping me out with little things. [CB] Jason Verrett's the other side of my locker, so same thing, he's at practice paying attention. So, anything that I'm giving away or that they're giving away, we're always talking back and forth. And man, it's great to have a guy like that in that room as much respect as he has, from me and from the whole team, this whole organization. Not a lot of guys have as much respect as Jimmie, so for me to be able to just have a conversation with him and joke around and compete against him every single day is awesome."

Describe the connection you have with WR Brandon Aiyuk and how all the work you guys have put in together might have helped get to that point?

"I give the credit to Brandon. That's the work he put in. I've been saying it since this whole spring, summer he was locked in this offseason. I think he had a goal of separating himself and becoming kind of a different player. And he's done that, man. He's in a great spot right now, physically, mentally, he's seeing the game, he's feeling the game, he's killing guys right now. He is making some really big plays and separating himself, so I know he is going to continue to do that. And that's a credit to the way he comes every day."

Is he one of those guys that you feel like even if a DB's there, you can still throw it to him?

"Man, I feel like that about our receivers. We got playmakers, thankfully. That's the way we've done it here and we got guys that can make plays across the board. But yeah, B.A.'s done a great job. He's shown it. He's taken advantage of all the opportunities he's been given."

With WR Danny Gray just up here, has this camp been really helpful just getting your timing down with that speed, that downfield speed, because you didn't get use him or practice with him much of the spring when he was out?

"Yeah. We were just with him phase one and phase two, so just routes on air. So this is the first time I've gotten live reps and one-on-one reps with him and yeah, man, he's done a great job. He's getting better every single day. We give him a hard time sometimes, but man, he's really done a great job. He's growing every day and he's got great guys ahead of him to look at."

Guys talk about reaching a point where things slow down a little bit. Have you reached that point and if so, how do you feel that?

"When you say things slowing down, it's just getting better. And for me it's every single rep, like every rep I take, I think the game slows down and that's kind of the way I'm going about it every single day, one day at a time and every single rep is trying to learn as much as I can from it."

But it seems like you're not running for your life quite as much as you were in some earlier practices. Do you feel like things are maybe coming together a little bit on the offensive line?

"It's really hard to block with no pads on, so that's I think probably more of the reason than anything. But yeah, we've switched guys in and out. Hopefully getting [OL Jaylon Moore] J-Mo back soon, but [OL] Spencer [Burford]'s done a great job. I think he's started almost every single first team right with us. So, he's done a great job, super mature dude. And across the line, now we have [T] Mike [McGlinchey] and [T] Trent [Williams] back also, but across the board, first and second year younger guys have been doing a great job."

Burford's maturity, he's a smaller school guy and to come in and do what he's done has he opened your eyes a little with just how he's been able to handle things?

"Yeah, I had high expectations for him coming in. I had watched him play and yeah, he's lived up to all of it and he's done a great job. I'm not obviously, in the offensive line with him every day. And I know he's growing and getting better every single rep, but just the way he carries himself, man, he comes to work every day, like a pro and that's a lot for a rookie also."


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