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Kyle Shanahan and Trey Lance preview 49ers-Bears

Sep 7, 2022 at 4:55 PM--

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San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan and quarterback Trey Lance spoke with reporters as the team prepares for its Week 1 matchup against the Chicago Bears. Here is everything they had to say.

Transcript provided by the San Francisco 49ers Communications staff.

Head Coach Kyle Shanahan

Opening Comments:

"Injuries for today. [OL Daniel] Brunskill, out with the hamstring. [TE George] Kittle, out, groin. [LB] Dre Greenlaw will be limited with an elbow. Go ahead."

How serious is the Kittle injury?

"I'm not sure. I was hoping he'd be good today, did it a little on Monday and not feeling good today, so we'll have to see day-by-day,"

With Brunskill still out, does that almost lock in OL Spencer Burford, OL Jake Brendel, and OL Aaron Banks as your guard center guard?

"It almost does. Lots of things can happen."

Are you happy with the way it's set up?

"Yeah, you always wish you had guys who had played a bunch of years and been to a bunch of Pro Bowls already, but this is how it starts for guys. Banks is really getting his first opportunity. Got to sit behind [New York Jets OL Laken Tomlinson] Lake last year, so I'm excited for him. Burford has been a real talented guy we brought in as a rookie, who's done well in camp. And there's been some injuries, guys haven't been there, like you mentioned, and he's taken advantage of his reps. So I'm good with the guys we have in our building."

You were already at camp with that basically, did you do it thinking this really could be the guys or were you just kind of putting names there?

"We did it thinking they could, also knowing what we already had. We knew what we already had in Dan. He had been at that spot for a number of years and we also knew he was capable of doing center, but hadn't done enough reps at center. So we wanted him to focus more on that. And we knew, especially someone like Burford coming in, being a rookie at a smaller school, he needed as many reps as he could. So the better thing was not to have him rotate with the guy who didn't need as many reps."

How has QB Jimmy Garoppolo looked having two or three practices back now?

"Good. Looks like Jimmy always has, throwing the ball real good. I think he's had three practices, two practices, but it's been good."

He's in a place where he'd be okay to be number two on Sunday?


In terms of facing a team with a new coach, new coordinator this new season in Week One, how do you go about preparation for that?

"There's always unknown. You've got an idea, [Bears head coach] Matt [Eberflus] being in this league and being a D coordinator for a while. But it's always unknown how they're going to match it up with their players. They have the same stuff with us, even though we've been here, it's always a new season. You really never know until Week One, and you see how that evolves throughout the year. I think the hardest thing for all coaches at the beginning of the year is how much we have to look at preseason tape and last year's tape. And it gets really aggravating for coaches, because it really doesn't get to this year's tape until like Week Six, Seven. And you hope it gets there as fast as it can."

Has George been bothered by this through camp and is he going to be one of your captains?

"Yes, George was one of the captains. No, it didn't bother him at camp. It started to bother him on Monday."

Who are the captains?

"We got [T] Trent [Williams], we got Kittle. We got [DL Nick] Bosa. We got [WR] Deebo [Samuel]. No, no, sorry. We don't have Deebo. We have [DL Arik] Armstead, [DB] Jimmie Ward and [LB] Fred Warner."

Is QB Trey Lance a captain?


A little off topic, but season starts, you've done this dozens of times, you know it's going to be intense. You're going to be every week. How do you keep from burning yourself out by Week Seven? What do you remind yourself of now and say, I don't want to do this?

"Just get on a routine. Every day's kind of the same. Players get in seasonal shape and coaches do too. It's always harder at the beginning. There's a lot. You kind of just get in the groove as it goes. And once you get in every day is almost the same, so it's just about not freaking out too much, not making too big a deal about everything, but you also need to make a big enough deal because everything matters. So you just get used to it and you're patient and you try to talk through everything and you get in your groove as the year goes."

Less sleep during that time?

"Yeah, definitely during the season. I try to get as much in the offseason as I can. I'm not one of those guys who's going to talk about my hours all the time. There's just not enough days in the week and there's a lot of stuff to do a lot of stuff to cover."

In that same light, do you get butterflies? Players talk about the first game jitters, just kind of getting it out of them. Do you get them? And if you do, what knocks you out of it? Players say I get hit and I'm good to go. Is there anything like that for you?

"When it starts, that's the easiest thing. Like the game is usually the most relaxing. It's intense. There's no doubt about it, but you're comfortable in it because you're doing something. I think building up to a game's always the hardest, there's a lot of stuff to go through. Which is good when you're practicing and focusing on that, but besides that you get at night and stuff and you're just like, I want to stop going through stuff. Let's just get to kickoff. And once you do kick off, then it all kind of goes away and you're clear and you just compete."

Not to make a huge deal out of this, but a lot of the veterans have talked about Trey's leadership. We see him lead the team out of the huddle. We see the him break the team down in preseason. What does it mean that he's not a captain?

"If you look into it that much, he was seventh in the voting. I just didn't want to put seven on there. Deebo was eight, that's why I mentioned his name on accident. We just wanted to go with six. They don't allow eight to the coin toss, I don't believe. It's also his first year of starting for us. There's not many rookies who end up being the captains. I know this is his second year, but he's a rookie for us in terms of this is his first time being our starting quarterback."

Does that impact like what you expect of him as a leader?

"Yeah, captains are more. We got a lot of people we treat like captains. I respect the hell out of our captains and our team does obviously too, because they voted on them. But that's not everything to me at all."

Is it strictly player vote, not coaching at all involved with that vote?

"No, not at all. I always get the final tally and I could cheat if I wanted to. I actually didn't at all. I agreed with all their choices and I just made the decision not to have eight of them."

Special teams was a point of emphasis for you guys this offseason going into Week One, do you feel like the upgrades that you made on that side of the ball have manifested?

"I think we added some players that I think will help there, there's no doubt about that. Just getting some guys like getting [LB Oren] Burks, getting [S] George [Odum], those are guys who have had a lot of success this year. And I also think the guys in front of them for the most part, it was tough with Jimmie, but being able to stay healthy and allowing those guys to stay in special teams roles is, to me, the biggest deal. That's where we struggled a lot last year and it's kind of a trickle-down effect."

Another captain question for you, Nick is just kind of an understated, lowkey guy. Doesn't really come off as a big leader? What does that say to you that he was voted one of the captains?

"I think by how he handles his business. You guys hear how I talk about Nick. He's as professional, as dedicated to his craft and us winning as any player I've been around. He's not a real outspoken guy, but he's extremely as genuine and honest as anyone I've ever been around. And everyone knows how good he is too. He wasn't voted, I don't think he was one last year, but he was voted this year and I think because he talks gradually more and more to people. He's not a big guy to get in front of the whole room or anything, but when it comes to one-on-one and how important football is to him, he's as good of a leader as I could draw up."

Who will start alongside S Talanoa Hufanga at safety?

"We've got a few choices. We'll decide that Sunday, like right after kickoff."

TE Tyler Kroft is a new guy to this team. What did you like about him? And did you need to see him in a receiving role in order for him for him to make the squad?

"Not really. We we've been a fan of Kroft his whole career. I was a real big fan of him coming out of college. And he's done well everywhere he's been. He had some injury trouble last year, I think the last couple years he's struggled to stay out there. I think that's one of the reasons we were able to get him. But Kroft, he's an NFL tight end. We feel very fortunate to have him here. That was one of the hard decisions whether to go heavy at tight end, heavy at running back. You never know what's going to happen until after someone gets hurt. I wish we could of kept all our running backs, wish we could keep all our tight ends, but Kroft made did it, so we went there."

I think general manager John Lynch mentioned on the radio before you guys officially, or maybe you'd already signed Jimmy, but that you talked to a leadership council or something about what was going to happen. Why did you do that and, as much as you can say, what was that conversation like?

"I wanted to be the one who told them what we were thinking and why we did stuff and how it went. I didn't want him to read Matt's article or anything like that. I'm just joking, kind of. You have to get in front of that, that is a joke, and I get it, that's everyone's job to do. And you can't go tell the whole world that. So I come in and I explain everything first to Trey exactly what I explained to you guys. And then I explained it to [Detroit Lions QB] Nate [Sudfeld] because those are the two people affected the most and then I'm hoping I can get a group of players in, which we hadn't voted on captains or leadership council yet. So I kind of just picked my own and talked to about 15 guys and just told them exactly what happened from day one to whatever that day was and I wanted to see what they thought about it. And they felt the same way I did, the same way our quarterbacks ended up feeling. Once you do that, you feel real good about it and then you move on."

Former players are saying on TV, that this means that there's a lack of confidence in Lance and very respected reporters have predicted that Jimmy's starting this season. It's not a surprise I imagine just with the conversation, but are you telling players to be braced for stuff like that? Are you braced for just that what the conversation is going to be?

"We all know how it'll go. I also know if Jimmy wasn't here and Trey did bad, how it would go. So we understand that. The fact that he has this successful quarterback behind him, that's obvious how that narrative will be and understandably so. But I think our players also know Jimmy went through some tough times too, and they had his back. Regardless of if they thought there was a better option, they had his back and people have to realize that. Players, I think need to realize that just like their position, it happens at the quarterback position too. You're not going to be perfect. However, all eyes are going to be on that guy, not all at the linebacker at all times or the guard. And you have to realize when you do struggle, those guys know it's a lot harder to play well when no one has your back. And you have to help guys through that. And I think we got the guys who can do that. I think our guys did that for Jimmy when he was here, even when he was having some tough times and allowed him to fight through that. And I believe our guys will do the same thing for Trey. I understand what people outside of our locker room will say, and they are right in terms of human nature to do that. But it's going to happen regardless if you don't play well. And I think we had an option to get Jimmy as a backup, which kind of shows that it wouldn't have been an option if he wasn't coming as that."

You stuck with Jimmy last season when yet there was a lot of outside talking, you had Trey behind him. Would you consider yourself someone who resists that or doesn't want to make moves like that, especially at the quarterback position?

"Yeah, I just try my hardest to do what you think's right and what you think's is right isn't always an impulse decision. Sometimes what you think is right, it could be right for a quarter, but how's that going to affect the next two quarters or how's that going to affect the next month? And there's no clear-cut answer to that, so you can't just react to everything and you understand everyone's reaction is to react. But you have to take everything into account. And there's a lot more things that go into a football game than how the quarterback plays. And that goes to all three phases that goes to injuries that goes to coaching that goes to everything. And it's never just a quick fix. And if you feel that's the only reason then yeah, it's your job to make that decision. But if that's not the only reason you have to bring a team together."

How would you describe Trey's confidence level right now going into Week One, it's obviously different Week One than preseason and filling in like he did last year. Are you pleased with kind of how he's been carrying himself and leading the guys?

"Yeah, Trey is in as good a spot as I've been around him. He's confident, had a good camp, got as many reps as he has ever gotten before. Has been thrown in a ton of tough situations, some good situations and now it's time to go play."

Are you enjoying just having a whole offseason with him, putting together a gameplan for the first time where it's really his role. What's your level of excitement just getting to see him go out there for the first time?

"The same as always, I'm always excited for the first game. I don't try to make anything new into it. We put the best gameplan together possible based off of what they do based off of what we do. I don't look at it as a case that you have to reinvent the wheel and someone's going to come out there and show something. Trey has to go out there and do his job. And if he does his job well and the guys around him do their job well, I feel we have a good chance to win in any game. And if they don't, other guys have to pick it up and that's kind of how you look at it and he's going to have some good, some bad and the other players are going to have some good, some bad. And hopefully we end up with more points than them."

Trey return your texts?

"I don't text Trey. I FaceTime guys."

Did you spend a lot of time with him this offseason? I'm assuming more than last offseason. How do you guys click? How do you guys communicate? What'd you learn about him this offseason being around him as much as you were?

"I was around him the exact same amount. He just got more reps, so I communicate with him pretty much, same way I communicate with you guys and anyone else. Just like two normal humans, trying to do good at their job."

QB Trey Lance

What's it like watching Chicago and now that you get to sink your teeth into watching that defense, what do you see?

"Yeah, real sound. They all play together, play very hard. Real talented defense. Some guys, just looking at the depth chart, the names that pop up that have been playing the game at a really high level for a long time. So, real talented defense and a few young guys, especially in the secondary, who are talented players."

You obviously prepared for them last year. Are there a lot of differences with what you expect scheme-wise?

"Yeah, a new entire coaching staff, so for sure different. Obviously watching a lot of Indy tape from last year, but yeah still same group, a lot of similar players, just as far as a talent and athleticism standpoint."

Did you talk to S George Odum at all? Just given his background with the Colts and how he played in that defense?

"Yeah, a little bit. Obviously you don't know exactly what to expect. We got a little sneak peak of them from a personnel standpoint in the preseason, but yeah it was fun actually watching [S George Odum] G.O. play a little bit in that defense."

How does it feel this week heading into week one as the official starter?

"I'm excited. I mean, real similar to I guess the weeks that I did start last year from a preparation standpoint. But, it's great to have those guys in the room, great to have [QB] Jimmy [Garoppolo] in the room to help bounce ideas off of. But yeah, it's been awesome."

How about just the general difference between preparing specifically for a team and a game plan versus being out here at camp for all this time? It must be a little bit refreshing, challenging, to get a chance to do that.

"Yeah, absolutely. Kind of a breath of fresh air for sure. I'm excited to gameplan for somebody, not just kind of running our training camp scripts and going against our defense. Get to kind of put plays in for certain situations and different things like that. So, it's been an awesome experience and like you said, definitely refreshing, a breath of fresh air."

On that same note, how nice is it to be, it's been a while since you've been able to have like a season that you know you're going to play and play for a while, what's it like being able to get back into knowing that there's a lot of games in front of you?

"Just getting into my routine. It's been awesome this week and a little bit of last week just to be able to kind of nail that down for this week. It's our first Wednesday, so it's a big day for us, but it's been awesome for me to just kind of nail down exactly how I want my week to look, how I want my days to look."

Does it feel like it's been a long time since you've had a full season kind of in front of you?

"For sure, yeah, like he said, definitely a breath of fresh air. Refreshing to gameplan against somebody, watch someone else's tape and learn some new things."

You haven't run too much throughout camp or the preseason, that slide excluded in that one game. But I mean, is that just going to come naturally in a game? Just your career of doing that, especially at North Dakota State.

"Yeah, I think I've said it before, it's more of a situational thing. You know, third-and-five, if I can move the chains, I'm going to try to move the chains. But at the same time, I don't want to leave any big explosives out there throwing the ball when those opportunities do present themselves."

I've seen you break the huddle at practice, break the team huddle before games. Is that something that you just naturally took that? Did someone say "Hey Trey, how about you do that?" And how easily does that come to you?

"I mean, it's pretty organic of who breaks it down before games, practices and the locker room, whatever it is. It kind of just comes and is kind of an in the moment thing."

This might be a stupid question, but have you asked any other quarterbacks about sliding or watch any tape about what they do?

"I've watched a ton of tape, more of just situations. You know, compression tackles versus one guy, when to find an edge versus when to get down and get out of bounds and different things like that of just running the ball as a quarterback and protecting myself for sure."

I know Hall of Fame NFL QB Steve Young swung by practice, and you talked to him. Head coach Kyle Shanahan said that he hoped that you talked to him as much as possible. Have you been in touch with him? Has there been any back and forth with Steve?

"No, we haven't talked at all since maybe the beginning of training camp. But I know he's busy with his own thing and he's not really around every single day. But I know he's a guy that I can definitely always reach out to."

When did you get your eyes on the game plan for the first time? And before that, were you just kind of in your mind thinking, how are we going to attack this team? What are they going to have me do? What was it like?

"We try not to get too ahead. But we're definitely one day at a time, we're kind of on our normal game week schedule. We don't really get ahead and have a whole game plan last week or anything like that. So, I'm still getting it, I'll get more as I leave here, and I'll get more tomorrow and more on Friday and so on. So, it's definitely a building process, but that's just how the routine goes. So, it's good to nail that down."

They're calling for rain on Sunday. I imagine for somebody who grew up in Minnesota and practiced in Fargo has dealt with a lot of bad weather. What's the worst situation that you've either played in or practiced in or how comfortable are you with a sloppy game?

"Yeah, I mean the Colts game honestly was probably the most rain I had ever played in, and I didn't play, but I've ever been a part of, or been to a game with that much rain. But the field held up pretty well, talking to Jimmy and most of the guys. Minnesota was a lot more snow than rain, for sure. So, I haven't played in a ton of rain games. And obviously North Dakota State, we're playing in the dome, but a lot of practices, definitely a lot of practices in poor, cold weather, but I don't think it'll be too cold, so we should be alright."

Do you get butterflies before a game? And if you do, when do they go away? Is it the first hit, first play, what does that look like?

"I try to stay pretty calm. I'm not too up and down before games. Not necessarily butterflies, but definitely excited. I try to calm myself down, take deep breaths. But yeah, once football starts it's just playing the game."

What's it like to work with an offensive line that has everything from a seasoned vet Pro Bowler to potentially a rookie on the starting line?

"Yeah, it's been awesome. I've said it throughout the preseason, the way those guys have come to work every single day, especially [OL] Spencer [Burford] and all the young guys. But having [OL Aaron] Banks and getting [OL Jaylon Moore] J-MO back, all those guys have done a great job. And it's tough for them, mixing and matching guys throughout the preseason and training camp and losing [OL] Dan [Brunskill], hopefully we get him back soon, but I mean getting [T] Mike [McGlinchey] back, those guys help each other out so much. I hear them communicating before plays, after plays, during plays sometimes. So they do a great job and [offensive line/run game coordinator Chris Foerster] C-Fo does a great job with those guys as well."

The six team captains, no one would look at those guys and say, why was that bozo team captain? But you're the quarterback and often times quarterbacks are team captains. Does it affect you? Does it bother you in any way?

"No. Obviously that's a goal of mine, but I don't think you could look at any six of those guys and be like that guy's a bozo because those guys have all played football at a very, very high level. So yeah, situations are different. I'm excited. I voted for every single one of those guys, so I think each and every one of them deserves it. But yeah, it's definitely a goal of mine moving forward. But those guys have all proved it. That's what this league is all about."

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