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Jimmy Garoppolo, DeMeco Ryans, Chris Foerster preview 49ers-Broncos Week 3 matchup

Sep 22, 2022 at 5:53 PM--

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans, and offensive line/run game coordinator Chris Foerster spoke with reporters after Thursday's practice as the team prepares for its Week 3 matchup against the Denver Broncos. Here is everything they had to say.

Transcript provided by the San Francisco 49ers Communications staff.

QB Jimmy Garoppolo

What was it like to get all that fan love after your presser on Sunday?

"It was cool. Faithful, they've always been there, man. They're a fun fanbase to have behind you. And they were loud on Sunday and we just love those guys."

Were you expecting all of that? All the cheers and the support?

"Yeah, that never really wavered or anything. So yeah, I love our fans."

I don't know if you've had much time to sit and reflect, but has any of this felt surreal to you over the last week or so? The way this played out?

"Yes and no. Part of me, you always want to be on that field, so you always have that in your mind. You're preparing that way and then just for how things have worked out, it's pretty crazy. Everything happens for a reason. I'm a big believer in that and it's just another opportunity."

Has there been a moment that it just hit you, maybe it was when went on the field the other day? Has there been a moment like that?

"No, not yet. I'm just trying to stay in the moment right now, honestly. When that happened, I've never been a backup and had the starter get hurt like that, so it was a different experience, but it was something that you take in stride. And like I said before, Trey's our brother and I talked to him the other day, he seems to be in good spirits right now."

I know it's a different situation compared to what you experienced playing back up for Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB Tom Brady, but is there anything that you took from that experience for the small portion that you were "backup" here?

"Yeah, just the preparation. You don't get the same reps when you're the backup, so your mental preparation is different. Running scout team, I love running scout team, it's always fun. So I got to do that for a couple weeks, but yeah, now it's just back to normal, I guess."

Having gone through what you went through in 2018, what kind of advice would you give to Trey from here on out the rest of the season?

"I heard Bosa's presser the other day and he worded it pretty well because there is a moment where you feel like your life is over and you feel like I can never get back to where I was, but that passes and you just have to hit a point where it does pass and you mentally move on from that. And there will be hurdles for him to overcome, but I've been around Trey for a couple years now and he's a tough dude, so he'll be alright."

He's still obviously developing as a quarterback, what can he do these next three or four months to continue to grow in some way, even though he is not on the field?

"The mental stuff, he's already been in a couple meetings with us through zoom, so whatever you can do mentally. Physically, it's tough right now, but he'll get back."

Your teammates talk about your voice and how it projects. I'm curious whether you had a coach that stressed that to you at some point, or is that a Garoppolo family thing? And is it real loud to your house at holidays?

"I was going to say I grew up in an Italian family, man. Literally, after games, it's tough to talk because my voice is tired, but everyone else is screaming, but that's just normal conversation. So yeah, it's I don't know, a perk of being Italian, I guess."

When did you meet quarterbacks coach Brian Griese in person for the first time and what would've been your initial impressions?

"Honestly, I met him last year when he was calling one of our games, met him through the I forget what it's called exactly, but just the day before the game we were talking to those guys and he was really cool. And having been with them now for probably a month or so, it's really cool. He sees the game as a quarterback, we see the game very similarly. It's nice to have him in the room."

How does having a guy who's played in the league help at your position, in particular?

"He just sees it very similarly to you. It's tough to coach a quarterback. You have to be able to see it the same way as him, which a lot of guys think they do, but they don't maybe. And he just he has the experience of being on the field, being in those moments and it's nice to have a guy like that around."

After the game, you said it felt a little bit like 2017 again. And you were really pushing the ball down the field more than you had in the past couple years. Is that something that you consciously would like to do this year, is push the ball down the field?

"I'd love that. Yeah, there's a lot of things that go with that obviously, but yeah, I love doing that stuff. In '17, there was a freedom where me, the receivers, tight ends, we had a good chemistry going. And when you get that with offensive skills and a quarterback, it makes for a tough offense."

Do you feel that you had that freedom last week just because you were coming off the bench or do you anticipate to have it the rest of the season?

"I don't know, that's a fair question. I think we'll see that as we go forward, but I don't know, the more freedom you have as a quarterback, obviously you play better, you're more confident and good things will happen."

What strikes you about the Denver Broncos defense as you're preparing this week?

"Very physical, they're physical up front, we know a couple guys over there, [Denver Broncos DL] D.J. [Jones], [Denver Broncos DB] K'Waun [Williams], great players and it goes across the board. They chase the ball. It's a well-coached defense, you can tell. And so it'll be tough for us, but it'll be a good test."

You don't compete directly against the other quarterback, but you guys have faced Denver Broncos QB Russell Wilson a lot of times. Have you guys ever talked other than just after the game and what are your impressions of seeing him over the years?

"Tremendous player, just a freak athlete, makes plays that shouldn't be made. But he does it, he has that unique ability to extend the plays. And I haven't really had much time to meet him off the field, but on the field, the dude is as competitive as it gets and it's fun to go against him, as weird as that sounds, it is."

When you say it's been back to normal this week because it just felt like maybe you took a little break and now you're back?

"Yeah, a long break. No OTAs, no training camp. It was a different type of year and I've been in some weird situations here, obviously, but yeah, this one, it had some good and bad though. The shoulder feels good and that's number one, so once I was physically feeling better and the rest of the things just kind of fell into place I guess."

When Head Coach Kyle Shanahan decided that he was going to move on and you guys had the conversation, is there anything you learned from that conversation that you think is going to make you a better quarterback or changes the way you decide to attack a defense?

"Not really. I think it lights a fire under you. I'll tell you that. Obviously as a competitor, whenever you get told something like that, it'll get you going a little bit, but I have plenty of motivation. I don't need that to motivate me, but it always helps."

When you say you were more in cut it loose mode in 2017, I would not want to start any sort of controversy, what were you asked to or coached to play differently in '18, '19, '20?

"Say that again? How was I?"

You'd indicated 2017 was more like push ball downfield a little more.

"In '17 I was learning the offense, so Kyle would call some plays and I wouldn't know exactly how to read it, but you'd kind of figure it out as you went. Just the more and more that you learn in the offense and get the knowledge of the offense, I start to figure out what Kyle's thinking and vice versa, but there's obviously just some back and forth between the play caller and quarterback."

You obviously have a lot of established relationships, but how has it been just building chemistry with the newer pass catchers?

"It's been awesome. There's some good players out there, man. I'm not trying to pump anyone up too much, but some of those guys could fly. [WR] Ray-Ray [McCloud], not being a young guy, but just a new guy. He can move. [WR] Danny [Gray] can move, there's a lot of speed out there, so the chemistry's coming, it's coming and it'll only get better."

Did it seem like old times with TE George Kittle back out there with you now?

"It's getting there. It's getting there."

When you came in the game on Sunday, what was the first thing you told the guys in the huddle and what did they say to you?

"That's a tough one. I don't know, man. A lot of things get said out there. I don't know, we were all just fired up. It was third down, brain was kind of going in that direction, thinking about coverages and what they were going to do. And then I got smoked, so the rest is history."

Defensive Coordinator DeMeco Ryans

Last week DL Nick Bosa said that he has given speeches, I think on walkthrough day to the team before each game and he said that his first one for the Chicago game he was pretty proud of it. He said he thought he did well. Have you been in on these speeches that he gives to the team and what would your evaluation be?

"Yeah, Nick does a great job. That's just for the team. That's about as far as he needs to go with it. Nick does a great job of speaking to the team when he is asked to. Nick is one of our captains, one of our team leaders, not only by his play on the field, but also just by the person that he is and the respect that he has in the locker room. So just a great guy to have as a captain who truly leads by example."

Does S Tashaun Gipson Sr. already know this defense or are there parts he's still learning? I know you talked about him playing in Jacksonville, so he has some familiarity.

"Oh, yeah, Gip has come in, he's a veteran, so he's seen a lot of ball. He's played in a lot of different schemes, did a lot of things different from that safety position. But the thing that sticks out with him, he's a very smart player and he has a great feel for the game. Just instincts. He can make plays all over the field, just based on above the neck. Just being smart, understanding what the offense is trying to do pre-snap. So he's able to put himself in position to make plays that way. Just by being a very smart player, a veteran, who's seen a lot of different things and he knows how to play the game the right way."

Last week, we were asking you about while you're playing Seattle without Denver Broncos QB Russell Wilson, and now here he is. Does he look like the same guy to you?

"Yeah, Russell is Russell. Like one thing about Russell is continuing to watch him, he still is great at - probably the best at - being able to extend plays. Guys are able to find that soft spot in the zone and he's able to hit defenses who are not quite on it and create explosive plays. So for us, that's one thing we've been harping on is just Russell is still Russell. He can make you pay if you're not on it. So we have great amount of respect for Russell and the player that he's been, the playmaking ability that he's been able to do throughout his entire career. He's still that guy. So we have to be on top of our game defensively or he'll make you pay."

With S Talanoa Hufanga, I don't know if there's a way to break it down, but he seems like he triggers really fast when he recognizes something. How much of that is the studying and the work that he puts in and how much of that do you think is just instinctual and it's in him?

"It's both for Huf. He is very great at preparation throughout the week. He's always into it. He's always asking questions, trying to figure out just how many nuggets can he get to get another step, to see what the offense is doing. And then he goes to the field and he's able to process things in a fast way that allows him to trigger and make plays. So Huf, he doesn't hesitate because of his preparation throughout the week. That's what allows him to light up on gameday. And that's the guy you see, that's just a culmination of all the prep that he's done in the background when no one's watching. You see that show up on gameday, just a guy who plays with his hair on fire. He's everywhere, all over the field. Making plays, probably everybody's favorite player, just because of the plays that he's making. And he's definitely a spark of energy for our entire team, just because of the way he's played these past two weeks."

You say he looks for any small thing, can you give an example?

"Things that he's looking for, if it's a certain alignment by a tight end, if it's a certain motion, what are they doing off of that motion. So he's always asking very great questions in meetings, always engaged, always making sure, me as a coach, I'm on top of my P's and Q's as well, because he's going to ask some good questions."

What do you think his biggest improvement is since last year?

"I think his biggest improvement overall is his communication and his confidence. I think just being out there and playing, you have to play the game to gain that confidence. And he's gotten a lot of reps throughout the offseason and working with everybody on our defense. And it means a lot to him, that's why he's gotten better. He's staying out when everybody else is in the locker room, he's grinding. Always grinding, always working and it shows on Sunday. When you see guys show up on Sundays, it's because of the preparation that they're doing behind the scenes and Huf is one of the best guys at prepping throughout the week that I've been around."

Hufanga was the PAC-12 Defensive Player of The Year. Why do you think he was still hanging around in the fifth round?

"I don't know why he was hanging, but I'm happy we grabbed him."

Do you anticipate the elevation playing any kind of factor on your defensive linemen, especially in that second half? Do you anticipate altering the gameplan in terms of rotation patterns?

"We try to rotate our guys, already, we try to keep them as fresh as possible and with the elevation that definitely plays a factor. So we will be rotating our guys just as normal and making sure everybody is fresh when they hit the field. So from that standpoint of preparation, and I don't think it's much you can do to prepare for it, just being in a different climate zone here, so there's not much you can do to prepare for it. But just for three hours, that's what football is about for three hours, no matter what the elements are. Can you stand up and go dominate? Go perform for three hours."

Going back to the Denver Broncos versus Houston Texans game, Russell was able to make the Houston defense jump offsides three times with the hard count. What makes him so good with that hard count? How do you prepare for it?

"You have to be aware of it and you have to understand that he is going to hard count you so you can't trigger on sound. That's how you prepare for it. You have to key the ball and when the ball is snapped, that's when you go. You can't trigger on sound. You can't relax at all with Russell because he's so great at the hard count and him being at home, he can use that to his advantage. So we are aware of that. We just have to make sure we're on top of it because that's how, again, he gains explosive plays by the defense not quite being on it. And he's able to take advantage of it."

You obviously know Denver Broncos NT D.J. Jones very well and he's going to be opposite a young unproven, interior offensive line. What can they do to kind of subdue him and what are your thoughts on him as a player?

"D.J. is a tremendous player. I loved working with D.J. for the past four or five years. Just working with him, he's a great guy off the field, really great guy and a really great player. The thing I think for our guys to prepare for him, they had to just have to work together. Just understand nobody's out there by themselves. D.J., he may make a few plays, but we just have to make a few more plays than him. Try to keep him out of our backfield."

Two games in DT Javon Kinlaw, what have you seen from him and his improvement and how has he been affecting the game?

"Kinlaw's been improving every week. What I see from Kinlaw is growth. It's steady growth, each and every week. He's doing a great job in the run game, playing with good pad level. He's doing a great job of affecting the quarterback when he does get there. He's doing a really good job of affecting throws by getting his hands up at the proper time to force an errant throw. So I'm happy where Kinlaw is going and it's exciting because I see him continuing to get better. That's the cool part about him. He's getting better and better. So, who knows what it'll be mid-season, end of the season, how good he'll be playing, but I think it's going to be really great for us."

Offensive Line/Run Game Coordinator Chris Foerster

Head coach Kyle Shanahan said he's been pleased with how OL Aaron Banks has been playing, what have you seen from him in these first few weeks? It seemed a little challenging for him in the preseason?

"Yeah, we talked about it in the in the offseason, it's a developmental process. So he's got a couple games in and he's made steps every game. There's always stuff to work on., but he's made some nice strides these first two weeks. That's two weeks, 17 game schedule and hopefully a post season, so we have a long way to go, but he is developing. I was talking with him the other day and he actually commented on, I said, 'how's it feel getting game reps?' And he said, 'man, it's different.' As much as we practice, as much as we work on things, the speed of the game, they've got other things to look at, using the offense to your-- whatever the things were, so he's been benefiting from the game reps and he's feeling the benefit and also feeling, oh boy, these problems are these things that I need to work on. I can see why I need to work on them, because they're showing up. It's been good for him. It's been a good process."

Obviously, QB Jimmy Garoppolo's been around for a while, when you have an offensive line that has spent a whole offseason working with QB Trey Lance who's a very specific style of quarterback could run and things like that. And you have Jimmy who maybe doesn't do some of those things, are there teaching points that you have to kind of recalibrate with your group?

"There's not much, it's really just primarily in the running game and protection wise, it's pretty much the same stuff. Kyle, the way he coaches the quarterbacks, the drop back pass and play action game is very consistent with the run game. And we try to build the run game, all of it, so that it all kind of marries anyway, even though we go zone read or other things with the quarterback, there's some that's unique, but all of it has carry over to parts of our base offense anyway. So some minor technique things that we won't have to work on as much anymore that we probably won't have a running quarterback, so that's it. But as far as the rest of it, in the pocket, mobility, that stuff, it's not much of a change at all."

You were talking, was it last week or two weeks ago, about basically a catalog of plays that you guys have built? Is it just a matter of just taking different plays out of that catalog that suit Jimmy as opposed to Trey?

"Well, the pass game is obviously the passing game and obviously they're going to do the things that work for both those guys, but the run game. Yeah, there's just some of the plays in the catalog that are specific for quarterback runs, probably won't be a part of our plan as much anymore. Although Jimmy did score against Chicago last year on a quarterback read play, and God, he scored twice. He scored on a play that should have gone to [WR] Deebo [Samuel] and then he scored on one that was a designed quarterback run play. So Jimmy has the ability to run a little bit, just obviously not as dynamic as Trey."

How would you just kind of describe the running back core right now? You lose RB Elijah Mitchell the first week, you lose RB Ty Davis-Price last week, but you have RB Marlon Mack now, you have RB Tevin Coleman back.

"Yeah, I need a program and a depth chart to know who's up for sure. So it's been rough at that position for those guys. Unfortunately, they've suffered some injuries to some guys, they'll all be back, but it's been tough. So those guys all, I said it last week, with Ty last week, they work really, really hard, man. They come out there every week. They work to understand and they know with Kyle's system, the yards are there for guys, if you're willing to learn and to listen and to do what we're supposed to do. All the guys are doing it, but yeah, Tevin's back and he's has familiarity with Kyle, both from Atlanta and here. And then Mack has been here and he's obviously learning right now and going through that process."

What did Jeff Wilson Jr. show you last game?

"Jeff's awesome. Jeff's one of my favorite guys on the football team. In fact, my son came to visit during training camp and immediately his favorite player was Jeff Wilson. You just can't help it, and he's in his twenties, he's not like a 10-year old or something. Jeff's just a wonderful guy. I remember at the end of 2020 and we played Arizona and they had everything to play for and we were really out of it. And Jeff Wilson just took that ball and pounded them. I love the way Jeff does it. Now Jeff's thing has been, out of all of it, has been durability. He runs like a big back. He runs physically. He runs tough. Jeff Wilson comes to work, every day with a smile on his face, a real pro, a joy to be around and it's just so great to have him back there. You just have to always be, with all of them, you just can't wear them out. That's why you have to have a couple guys back there that can tote the rock, even on the good running teams. When you look at Cleveland, who's an excellent running team, they've got the two runners, you've got [RB Nick] Chubb and you've got [RB Kareem] Hunt, and traditionally [NFL Hall of Fame RB] LaDainian Tomlinson, there was another guy with LT. There's traditionally, always a second guy, so it's not going to be Jeff Wilson, just toting the mail every single snap."

Are you nervous because it's Jeff Wilson and a lot comes, some question marks and you just said--?

"I've got a lot more to be worried about than who's carrying the football. There's a lot, you've got to block the two edge rushers and things like that. Obviously, there's a learning curve for guys. I use that word a lot, but there is. Guys who haven't been here have to learn, so you hope that they do well and I'm not nervous, but excited for them. They have an opportunity. I'm excited that they get a chance to show us what they can do, and then hopeful that they do the right things."

Is RB Jordan Mason ready to be that number two guy if called upon?

"Like when I was asked in the offseason about the guards, you don't know until they're playing. So J.P. showed some promise, that's why he made the football team. That's why he is here. Shows good things in practice, saw some nice runs in the preseason, so now we'll have to see when he gets in with live bullets. If it's Sunday Night Football, bright lights, the whole nation watching, the whole league watching, let's see what happens."

Was Ty's injury a surprise. It's a fairly significant injury, he is going to miss a few weeks, but I don't think he ever came out of the game because of the injury. Kyle even said, he didn't know until like Monday.

"Yeah, we didn't know, so it is surprising when they said the length of time and what the nature of the injury was, it was surprising, but it is what it is. Tough kid, played through it. And maybe if he hadn't, it would've been better, I don't know. But it's too bad for him, but hopefully he comes back fast."

What have you observed quarterbacks coach Brian Griese obviously has spent his life in football, so he knows the game, but he has never been officially a coach. What have you observed from him just as a coach?

"Brian's been awesome. He really has been. I mean, I'm not going to stand up here and say, 'oh, he's a terrible coach. He should have stayed in the booth. I'm not going to say that.' He's done a really good job, honestly, he has, he's embraced it. I'm sure there's days where he wonders, what are we still doing here after 16, 17, 18 hours? I can't speak for him, but I think there's days where he probably wonders that. I see the look in his face, like, is it always this crazy? But he's been great, man. He's been great with the players. He adds a perspective. He's all in. He's very honest. He's very professional. He's got his opinions. He speaks them. There's nothing better than to have a guy that's willing, who has an opinion, right, wrong or indifferent, and he's willing to speak it, because we do need everybody's thoughts and opinions as Kyle's trying to formulate how we go forward. And Brian's not afraid to do that. And he gives a perspective both as a former player and now being close to these quarterbacks and having a connection because of that former player, it's been really, really cool to watch he and [assistant quarterbacks coach] Klay Kubiak work with these guys and Brian's done a great job."

You mentioned the guards, they and the interior offensive line as a whole are going to have really their first true test of the season, up against Denver Broncos DL D.J. Jones on Sunday. How do you prepare them for a player of that caliber and how do you think they're going to rise to that challenge?

"Okay. Well, first of all, I'm really excited we talk about guards so much. Secondly, you said first challenge of the year, all the first two games were great challenges as well because the last two guys, those guys were giants in there and they were a great challenge for our guards. Obviously, D.J.'s a great player. We have great respect for him as well as the other players on the interior of their defensive line, the challenges going on the road, the crowd noise, like I said, the bright lights all the attention, the focal point, Hey, the guys have played good the first couple games and all those things. And now it's only two games and yes, it's been against some quality opponents. The guys, it's going to be a challenge for them. It's always a challenge. It'll be a challenge all year long, you go through a couple good games, then you have a bad game. I said it to Aaron in the offseason, particularly. I said, 'Hey Banksy, at some point, you're going to go through this process. You're going to be playing well and all of a sudden, you're going to hit the skids. All of a sudden, the wheels are going to feel like, oh my God, are the wheels coming off? Am I going to be able to survive it? It's your first year playing full-time. And then all of a sudden, you'll either come back from that or you'll be standing next to me on the sideline. And that's what's going to determine this season for you." And so far so good, but at some point, maybe it doesn't ever wobble, but I coached [T] Trent Williams, his rookie year, it wobbles as a rookie, I promise you that."

How is it to play at that elevation?

"I went to school at Colorado State and so I would say when I would come back, I lived in Arizona. What am I talking about, 40 years ago, but anyway, I think the altitude still was the same back then, when I came back, it was always, there was a couple days, you feel it, but it's not like it stops you from doing anything. I don't know, get on a treadmill when you go up there, you'll see yourself. You just can't quite feel like you're catching a full breath, but it's not like it's debilitating that's always been my experience with it."


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