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Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Shanahan and Trey Lance preview 49ers-Seahawks

Sep 14, 2022 at 5:22 PM--

San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan and quarterback Trey Lance spoke with reporters as the team prepares for its Week 2 matchup against the Seattle Seahawks. Here is everything they had to say.

Transcript provided by the San Francisco 49ers Communications staff.

Head Coach Kyle Shanahan

Opening Comments:

"Injuries for the practice today: [OL Daniel] Brunskill and [TE George] Kittle won't practice, same deal from last week. [T] Trent Williams is not practicing, but just a vet day for him and [LB Dre] Greenlaw will be limited, same deal from last week. Go ahead."

With QB Trey Lance and WR Deebo Samuel, obviously they're very physical runners. As a playcaller, how do you balance their physicality versus you have 16 more games left this season?

"Deebo is a physical runner, that's how he runs, whether he is running it or we're throwing it to him, I feel it's the same ending. So that's what you always hope and that's what you want with, to me, every single player that gets the ball except for a quarterback. Quarterbacks, you have to pick and choose. Sliding is the best deal, but sometimes there's ways to go down forward without taking the hits and I think Trey's done a pretty good job of that. Did a lot better in this game too."

Has George made any progress with the groin injury?

"He's made a lot of progress, so hopefully we'll have better luck this week."

In the game Sunday, what was your field level view of Lance's completion to WR Ray-Ray McCloud and did you learn anything about him from that pass?

"It was the exact same pass he threw to [WR Brandon] Aiyuk the series before, just a high-cross and he was open, did a good job hitting him in stride, so."

You said about your rookie runners that they need to be better without the ball. How are they with the ball? Are they decisive to the degree that you're looking for?

"Yeah, I like their style of running, both of them. I think they're very similar. They don't mess around, they get downhill. Two types of styles that we need and that we like, but there's a lot more to playing football with us than just running with the ball."

And without the ball, is that passing game? Is that pass protection?

"That's special teams, that's lining up, that's blocking, that's every single part of the pass play, it's protection. It's every single thing that goes into football when they don't have the ball in their hands."

When you say lining up, are you comfortable that they know it? It's an intricate offense, but are you comfortable that they know it well enough at this point in their rookie year?

"Everyone works at it, but that stuff's not easy. When you're switching, Deebo in and out of positions and switching backs to receiver and him to running back, there's a lot that goes into it and people who even know it real well, still mess it up. So it's not something easy, but the pressure's on those guys to pick up faster than they planned on at the beginning."

And is it sort of a competition this week to see which one of those guys performs better as to who's the number two going into the game?

"Yeah, for the most part, that's what it was last week to see. We knew it was just going to be special teams. This week we'll get a feel for him on these three days and then we'll go with the hot hand in the game."

Is Brunskill any closer or how much closer is he than he was?

"He's closer than he was last week. He did have that setback a little bit ago, so we were thinking he'd be ready for Week One. And he had that setback, so he'll be later in this week, but I'm not sure yet, not good right now."

RB Jeff Wilson Jr.'s done very well when you guys have given him the opportunity. What is it about him that you like?

"Jeff is such a good football player, anything that we ask him to he does, whether it's our third-down back, whether it's playing the fullback role when our wideouts have the ball, in the pass game, in the run game, he's been a starter for us and Jeff, he's just a very reliable guy. When Jeff's healthy and able to stay fresh he can play at a high level and he's one of the guys that we trust as much as anyone around here."

I've never seen a quarterback with three career starts face the intense level of scrutiny that Trey is facing this week. How do you account for so many people being so eager to write him off so soon?

"I just don't account for it. That's just outside of here and it doesn't really have to do with what we're doing."

You guys have been interested in RB Marlon Mack for a while it seems like. At least dating back to last year, what is it about him that you like, I guess he's 2017, and were you looking at him as far back as that draft?

"The most I studied him was college, and I liked him coming out of college a lot. And I think we all did in here, then I know he did good early on in Indy. Had some tough injuries, but those are the things our guys stay on top of throughout. We all have rankings of guys in college and then we see how they perform in the NFL. Coaches don't get to get to it much until they become free agents, but that's stuff our guys are doing all the time and we got a list on everybody."

RB Jordan Mason and RB Ty Davis-Price, how much do you rely on RB Elijah Mitchell, who was in a similar position last year where he had to come in after a Week One injury to kind of help them along?

"We weren't totally sure, you don't know about guys until they get this opportunity and Elijah's rookie year, he missed about half of training camp. So we had a gut feeling that he could be as good as he's ended up being, but you don't totally know on the guy until they get in the heat of battle. And we were real worried going into that game that we wanted to keep [Miami Dolphins RB] Raheem [Mostert] healthy and he went down the second play and you don't really have a choice to wait and see, you have to see what he knows and what he doesn't. And Elijah after that first game, showed that he had ability that he had shown in practice, but he showed the game wasn't too big for him. And he was someone we could count on. And Elijah's been a pro ever since Week One of his rookie year."

Are you counting on him to kind of help them move into a similar role or at least guide them a little bit?

"Hopefully they look at him as an example and what you have to do to prepare for a game. Hopefully they look at Jeff Wilson that way. Hopefully they look at [FB Kyle Juszczyk] Juice. There's so much that goes into a game and there's a lot of thinking on it and you don't want to think on Sunday, so that happens with the work you put in during the week."

What's your strategy this week for trying to encourage a cleaner game in terms of penalties?

"Just being smarter, when we go over all the penalties that we had, I think a few of them were definitely avoidable. But just trying to be more detailed in everything we do. Don't let anything slide. Point everything out, nothing different than usual. I expect us to be a lot cleaner this week."

What did you see from the Seahawks in their game on Monday?

"They were ready to go. I think everyone felt that just through the TV, on both sides, that stadium was as energetic as I've felt anything. It was actually a fun game to watch, I think for fans and everything, but they looked like they always do. They're going to play really hard. They're going to run around. They're going to hit. They're coached very well. They got a bunch of talent on their team and it didn't surprise me how they looked."

With regards to Kittle, how hard is it to protect him from himself? I'm sure he is itching to get back out there, but he's a guy that loves football. How hard do you have to stop him from himself?

"We're used to Kittle, we've had him here for a while, so this is our sixth year of being with him. So Kittle, in his mind, he's ready to go every single day. And a lot of times, he's right, but you also have to know that that is his mentality and that's not going to change, so we do have to protect him from himself in that way. And that's why it's kind of a team effort with deciding what the best is for him."

You said you're pretty pleased with how Trey ran as far as protecting himself. A lot of times, I think he dove head-first once and then he did slide once, but otherwise he was taking on contact, a lot the time it was very near the first down marker. Is that just kind of what you have to do, are you saying overall that that was good because when you're close to a first down, you lower your head and--?

"He's got to play football still too. And so I just compare it to all the quarterbacks in the league who could run and there's times to slide, there's time to take edges and dive. There're ways for receivers who get tackled going forward, splitting two people where they're getting hit on the sides of their shoulders that you don't feel. You have to get down when you have people in certain areas that are vulnerable, but there's going to be some that he gets hit on. There's going to be some that he can protect himself. And that's just for him and us to work through."

How do you think he's processing is at this stage compared to where it was when he came in?

"What do you mean by processing."

Processing the field, seeing the game, being cerebral, not staring things down.

"He's been pretty good in practice. He had one game right there, but he gets better at that each week."

How's Trey handled Monday and Tuesday coming back?

"Great. Yeah, he comes back like the rest of the team on Monday and we stay here until about, we usually finish reviewing everything with the players by four. Trey's a guy who is always hard on himself. Looks at everything hard and comes in Tuesday and does all his rehab and gets ready like the other players do, we don't see much of them on Tuesdays. Gets a little bit with the quarterback coaches, but Trey does everything right."

QB Trey Lance

When you went back and watched the tape of Sunday, what did you see?

"Real similar to what I said right after the game. I missed a few early. Whoever was ahead going into a two-minute drive in that fourth quarter, it was going to be a tough situation for whoever was in that situation. So, for me, for us, we made too many mistakes early. I missed too many early, but yeah, I'm going to turn the page on that."

You're very specific with your criticisms of yourself, which is somewhat unusual. With quarterbacks, they usually just say I missed a couple throws, there's a couple throws I want to have back, but you pointed to the exact plays. Where does that come from? Just as far as I assume you want to be accountable as a leader and all that.

"I'm the only one that touches the ball other than the center every single play, so it's my decision most of the time where the ball goes, how it gets there, pre-snap, getting us in the right play, getting us in the right call, whether it's run game, pass game, protections, whatever it may be. So I make most of the decisions other than the play call with [Head Coach] Kyle [Shanahan]. So at the end of the day, I see it as there was always pretty much a better answer if it's an incomplete pass, whatever, for me, going back and watching the tape there's always an option or always a better answer. Unless we do make an explosive or I do make the right play, but ball placement, little things like that that could have got us to third-and-two versus third-and-four, little things like that. But yeah, going back and watching the tape, whether it's a practice or a game I feel like that's where I learn so much every single rep because little things like that can make all the difference in the long run, especially in a game like that."

Have you ever had a coach or your dad or a family member say you're the quarterback, you're accountable, don't make excuses?

"It's kind of common sense. Like I said, I touch the ball every single play, so what I do with it makes all the difference short-term and long-term in the game."

This might be kind of an obvious question, but what's been the biggest change you've had to make as a runner of the football from the college level to the NFL level?

"I'm not bigger, faster, and stronger than pretty much everyone else. Guys catch up a lot quicker, space is filled, guys close a lot faster, and I have to learn to protect myself, just being in a different situation knowing how important it is for me to stay healthy."

Have you had any moments where you're like, oh wow, they really are fast, like in the Texans game last year did it feel like there were a couple times where the safeties got there quick?

"Guys coming downhill, guys don't hesitate. That's definitely one of the biggest things, for me, especially running laterally, I got to be able to protect myself."

How do you feel you're doing in that area? In terms of protecting yourself?

"Continuing to grow. There's always going to be, like I said a million times, there's always going to be better decisions I can make. But on Sunday I felt like I protected myself pretty well, I felt good for the most part. Maybe a couple I could have got down one step faster or slashing, finding an edge and getting down. But for the most part, when I'm running between the tackles or running on third down, I'm not ever going to slide and go fourth-and-two and just give up on the play and send our defense on the field if it's a situation like that."

What's your assessment of what the Seahawks did defensively in their first game?

"They play fast, a little bit different schematically, but stout interior D-line, linebackers play fast. And [Seahawks FS Quandre] Diggs is still one of the best safeties in the game."

I ask you because there was a lot of instances where you were really close to the first down marker and oftentimes you ran into Bears LB Roquan Smith, but Kyle said you have to be a football player. And so you're talking about it's third-and-eight and you've gotten seven yards, you're not going to slide?

"Yeah, absolutely. Yeah."

With RB Jordan Mason and Ty Davis-Price, Kyle said that they're going to have to grow up really fast. Kind of how have you seen them progress from beginning of training camp to now?

"Yeah, they've grown up a lot, really fast off the field specifically. Just how they take care of their bodies. Ty, I'm around a lot and JP just getting know him still, more and more every day. But the way those guys have matured, I've just seen off the field, honestly. They've always came to work in meetings and everything, locked in, taking notes, whatever it may be, asking questions. But off the field, those guys have learned definitely to be pros and from [RB] Elijah [Mitchell] and [RB] Jeff [Wilson Jr.] and [FB Kyle Juszczyk] Juice and all the guys they've had in and out of the room since OTAs. They've learned a lot from those guys."

How much does it help you when TE George Kittle is on the field, in your huddle? The vibe he brings both on the field and on the sidelines?

"Yeah totally, high-energy guy. He's still around obviously in the building itself, but hopefully getting him back this week. Everyone can see what he does with the ball in his hands. People don't always see what he does in the run game and just from an energy standpoint, for sure, so it'd be great to get him back if we can get him back this week."

The last game was weird cause it was in adverse conditions, but WR Brandon Aiyuk had only three touches. How big of an emphasis is it for you to just get him more involved?

"It's kind of what the defense dictates, what the concepts dictate. He made a couple big plays and he's had a great training camp, so still all the trust in the world, it definitely wasn't anything like that. I know you guys freak out when B.A. only has, you especially, when B.A. only has a certain amount of touches. But it's definitely not like we go into a game being like, 'okay, we're going to get Deebo the ball eight times plus', or whatever it may be. Deebo's obviously going to get more touches because he is in the run game, but yeah, B.A. for sure. He's a huge weapon for us and he's done a great job and that'll start to show up more and more, I promise."

Did you know that that pass to WR Ray-Ray McCloud was going to be such a tight fit and did you learn anything from that play?

"Yeah, I thought going back and watching the tape I could have thrown on one hitch instead of two, which would've made it look a lot easier. But yeah, man, he made a great catch, it's same throw I threw to B.A., another high-cross on the first drive, but Ray-Ray has done a great job, man, just being able to trust those guys. Just how consistent they've been in their routes, getting to their spots, their landmarks setting their angles, everything like that. It makes it easier for me."

Did you have to put a little extra zip on that pass then?

"It was actually more of a layered ball and the ball was a little heavy at that point, but it wasn't too bad. Like I said, it was one of those throws that we made that I needed to make more of in the first half."

When you attempt some of the screens to Deebo and we say, 'oh, that's an easy throw. That's a layup.' Is it easy like that? And are there nuances there that the layman isn't seeing and why isn't that automatic all the time for you?

"We talk about it, again, not using the weather as an excuse, but in the weather in that situation like catch and throw are some of the hardest throws with those balls just because you don't know what the ball is going to be like when you take a seven-step drop or a five-step drop, you can kind of feel the ball, spin the ball, find a dry spot or find a spot where it's not a disaster, but yeah, there were some ugly ones out there on Sunday for sure. And I'm not blaming it on the ball, just continue to work it, be more consistent, but hopefully we're not playing too many games in those conditions like there were in the fourth quarter."

Was it inconsistent, like you would get a different ball in terms of wetness each time you took a snap?

"Yeah, we run a play, guy catches the ball drops it in the puddle, which we we've talked about a few times if we ever play in that game again or in a situation like that again. But yeah, they're rotating balls in and out and our equipment staff does a great job of getting us the driest balls we possibly can with those 12 game balls that we get."

Did you ever try throwing with a glove on your hand?

"Last year I did a few times, yeah. But I didn't this week, didn't rep it at all. Didn't think it would get to that point, but I don't know, honestly, if a glove would've saved me at all."

You may have a rainy game this Sunday, so does that mean you practice getting water balls squirted on or anything?

"We'll see. Yeah, later on in the week for sure we'll throw wet balls, later in the week. But that's not something that we're a whole lot worried about. I thought the first half we had every opportunity in the world, but if we get in that fourth quarter situation, it's a little bit different."

Trey does being at home provide a comfort level or does it add more stress as you guys kind of turn the page from Week One and try to have a bounce-back performance?

"Neither, I just turned the page on last week. This week we're locked in, whatever it is. Obviously travel is really the only thing, our schedule changes a little bit with travel, but from a mental standpoint, preparation standpoint, everything's the same. Just what room I do my stuff in."

You said after the game that you felt great, physically, how did you feel Monday morning?

"Monday morning. Oh yeah, I felt fine. My neck honestly was a little sore that was the first thing because I don't get hit at all throughout the year, so guys kind of get to build up, get their necks ready for the season, but my neck was the biggest thing. But other than that, yeah, I feel good."


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