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Daniel Bartel-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Shanahan, Brian Schneider preview 49ers-Rams Week 4 matchup

Sep 29, 2022 at 4:11 PM

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San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan and special teams coordinator Brian Schneider spoke with reporters as the team prepares for its Week 4 matchup against the Los Angeles Rams. Here is everything they had to say.

Transcript provided by the San Francisco 49ers Communications staff.

Head Coach Kyle Shanahan

Opening comments:

"Injuries today, [OL Daniel] Brunskill will be limited. [RB] Ty Davis-Price, out. [TE Tyler] Kroft out. [DL Arik] Armstead will be out. [T] Trent Williams, out. [TE] Ross Dwelley, out and [LB] Azeez [Al-Shaair] is out. Go ahead."

I don't know if this falls under gameplan or anything else, but with Brunskill, when he does return to practice, will he be a guard or center?

"Both. He works all inside and he's played tackle also."

Does that move OL Blake Hance out to tackle?

"He can do all of it too. He's done all five for the Browns. He's been working all for us too."

Any update more on Trent Williams' ankle and how severe it is?

"No, we're still hoping he doesn't have to go on IR. Won't need surgery or anything like that, but still not sure what the high-ankle sprain."

Obviously, Arik's plantar fasciitis, is that improving or is he better than last week or who knows?

"Yeah, it is improving, he was real close to going. We thought he did good in that workout before the game, but we held him back and it's still the same today as it was on gameday, so hopefully it'll be good by Monday."

What is the state of readiness of RB Jordan Mason and RB Marlon Mack as far as being able to share more the load in the backfield?

"They're as ready as they can be. Mason's been here a lot longer than Mack. Mack's got two weeks in, I believe. If we would've stayed on the field longer, they would've got in, we would've rotated [RB] Jeff [Wilson Jr.] more. But we didn't have him many long drives there in the second half, so his stamina was fine."

How was RB Tevin Coleman looked? Obviously, he knows the system.

"He's looked good. Just getting him back last week, we had him on those two full-speed practices and he was good. Probably would've been up versus Denver if it wasn't for the altitude and stuff there."

Did Denver Broncos defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero end up playing you a lot like the Rams do? Could you see his background in what they did against you guys?

"Yeah, definitely. It's all those same coverages, fronts. Seattle does it. Green Bay does it. The Rams do it. Chargers do it. Broncos do it, so there's a lot of teams who play that same style."

You told the Denver area reporters that with so many teams running your style, there're more defenses that see it during the season. What does that do to you? Does that mean that you have to sort of evolve more quickly, adjust more in a game when there's some familiarity there?

"Yeah, they don't really change much. They have different ways to mix stuff up, so it's all about hitting the right ones versus the right mix ups. It's more of like a Rolodex deal and just trying to hit the right ones and having answers versus the wrong ones. It's always like that. The things that you do to exploit it, when you do it a lot of times then you see other people do it a lot too, so all that stuff happens, it's just defenses get better and better at it. You have to keep pushing the envelope."

With Miami Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel no longer around, how does that workflow now work as far as scheming the run game? Has offensive line/run game coordinator Chris Foerster just kind of stepped into that role or are you dividing it?

"No, I think I answered that a few weeks ago. [Tight ends coach] Brian Fleury's done a good job of it. Chris is the same as he's always been with it. Chris is a huge part of the run game, the organization and stuff of typing it up and getting all that stuff together, installing it, I have Fleury do that."

With your nickelbacks, is it a gameplan to gameplan thing? Like which style DB Deommodore Lenoir or CB Samuel Womack III is better against the matchup? Or is it just like, I think you mentioned that that Lenoir had been playing so well that it felt like he had earned that spot. How do you see that in terms of this week's matchup with Los Angeles Rams WR Cooper Kupp?

"To me, it was we just felt D-Mo gave us the best chance to win last week. We thought he was a better player at that time and we'll see how we feel this week, but no more than that."

Is it matchup related?

"No, it didn't have to do with who we were going against."

When you look at the Rams value, you probably know that better than anybody. How have they changed a little bit with Los Angeles Rams LB Bobby Wagner in there? What do you see about their defense?

"They don't change much. It just gives them a few more options. Bobby's a middle linebacker who is also a very good pass rusher, so each week they can play him at different positions. It's the same thing they do with [DB] Jalen [Ramsey]. Jalen, sometimes he's a corner, sometimes he's a nickel, sometimes he's their three-four edge backer in a nickel front. They do that with everybody, now they can do it with Bobby. They don't put him at corner, but it's just switching people up, testing your rules, all that stuff, which it's tough when they have those guys out there, how they mix it up."

Los Angeles Rams QB Matthew Stafford was sacked seven times in the first week then once in each of the next two weeks. Was there anything significant that they changed or are they just playing better?

"No, I think they went against a real good defense. I think they had to throw it a lot more in that first week, but Matt does such a good job of getting rid of the ball. Regardless it's hard to get to him. But anytime you can make teams more one dimensional, you get a lead like Buffalo did, it's a lot harder to get away without having those sacks."

You can't really obviously replace Trent Williams, but OL Colton McKivitz did step in last year in the last regular season game and held his own. What qualities does he have that enabled him to hold his own against the Rams?

"Just the game's not too big for him. That was such a big game and we were really hoping we were going to have Trent, obviously. And Trent tried his hardest all the way up to game time and I just remember when we told Colton he was up and it was no big deal to him and he went out there and he performed. It was a huge challenge going against those two edge players they had and he just battles all game. Whether he gets beat or not, he's going to be there every play and that always gives you a chance."

This is going to be a little random, but with CB Emmanuel Moseley and WR Jauan Jennings, when each of them came into the league, they had a bit of an uphill battle. How have you seen them help each other improve and do you think there's anything to the bond they had as college teammates?

"It is random because I forgot they were college teammates, but that makes sense. They're both similar, to me. They're both such scrappy dudes, they just compete every single day. How you guys see them on game day is the same as how I see them in OTAs or training camp or practice today, so they have that same style. And I think that's always been their case and that's why they were good college players, but that's also why when they we're on practice squad, how much they made plays, how they looked the same. And, to me, that's why they get so much better each day. Every day they're trying to be their best and you just keep stacking up days and you don't have setbacks with injuries and usually those things happen to guys like that."

When you guys are reviewing film of that Denver game and you see WR Deebo Samuel get open a few times and not get the ball, how does he handle that?

"He handles it fine. He understands, there's busted coverages that happen, they busted two coverages. It was twice in a bunch, one was Deebo down the middle of the field, the other one was Aiyuk in the same bunch, all alone down the field, but we threw it to [TE] George [Kittle] on the other side. They handle that fine. They understand why the quarterback can't see that, you don't have a clicker in your hand and there's certain ways you're looking. Now if they were number one and the ball was supposed to go there and they were staring at them and we had the pocket, he would handle it alright. It would be frustrating, but that's not the case."

You obviously felt good about S Talanoa Hufanga going into year two, but has he exceeded what you thought he could be doing at this point?

"We knew he had a chance. He's like this in practice a lot, he's been great all year and when I look at some of these clips from last year, some of the plays he was in last year making. When we played Chicago earlier in the year and I think that was Huf's first start, so I got to see him. I watched him this year from Chicago last year. Just watching a Rams game from earlier in the year, he got to play Monday night versus them in the first game last year, so he looks the same. We should have played him a lot more last year."

During the game, there was a nice close up shot on QB Jimmy Garoppolo after the interception and amateur lip readers around the country have tried to figure out what was being said there, but clearly, he was frustrated. Do you guys have the give and take after the game, the days afterward, where you express your frustrations with him and maybe he does the same? What's your give and take like after the game ends?

"It's like it is with one of my friends. Jimmy and I are around each other every single day, so there's not any awkwardness from us or anything that's kept from each other. I don't know the clip you're talking about. I got it on my notes before this press conference, but I'm not a very good lip reader, but I probably won't watch it."

Was there frustration, disappointment after that game between you two then. I'm referring back to the clip, I know you said you didn't see the clip, but you'd understand if he was frustrated, was there frustration between you guys? Just to be clear.

"It was frustration with our whole team. First of all, the clip to me is a joke, so I can't believe we're talking about it. I'm pretty sure that's not what he said, but we were extremely frustrated from the whole game. Anytime you are doing well in the first half moving the ball and you get into the second half and you have three turnovers on three of your drives, you have a safety on one and you don't convert a third down, it's real frustrating to get anything going."

Last season, the win on Monday night against the Rams kind of got you guys going in the right direction and on that run, do you feel like a win this year are on Monday night, can kind of do the same thing?

"I feel like a win's important. I would love to get a win and then we'll see how we play the next week."

Special Teams Coordinator Brian Schneider

How much pride in your room do you guys take when one of the guys in that room gets the NFC Special Teams Player of the Month?

"A lot of pride. Really happy for him. He's worked extremely hard and he knows it takes all those guys in there from [LS Taybor Pepper] Pep snapping, [K] Robbie [Gould]'s input and really all the guys covering and all the guys in there, so I'm just really happy for [P] Mitch [Wishnowsky]. Well deserved."

What has he done so well? I guess a fresh set of eyes, you coming in here, what kind of stands out to you about where he is with his game and what he's been doing so well?

"Well, I think he's really talented, number one. He has a lot of leg strength, but I think what I've noticed is just his approach mentally to the game. Him, I think, really thinking about the kicks that he wants to do and in game situations and practice. And I just think the mental approach to him, I've really been impressed with and he's really taken ownership of that. But there's no doubt he has the physical tools too."

The 65-yarder after the safety, I think Denver took over on their own 19 after that, what's typical? What are you expecting after a safety when there's a punt?

"Well, if you're returning it, you're expecting to be at midfield. So most of the time that's really the judge. Your mind is 15 yards back and everything's a little bit different, so that was a tremendous play by Mitch. Actually, where he placed the ball, allowing guys to cover it. And then the coverage is really great, when you can get a penalty on that, I don't think often you see the ball inside the 20, so that was an excellent play by those guys."

Do you feel like he's benefiting from not doing the kickoffs? Is that leg stronger than what it would be if he was doing that as well?

"Oh, I think so. I think it's two different movements, and when you're working that throughout the week and in the game and it takes some stress off that. For him to focus on that, and he's still able to kick off if we need to, but I think that focus for him has been nice."

With Robbie doing the kickoffs, it seems like he really enjoys the strategic element of that, does that go beyond just the kickoffs? It seems like he's really--?

"Well, Robbie's into everything. He loves to watch football. He knows football, so really, not only is he a specialist and a kicker, but he likes looking, breaking down everything. He likes to look at the kickoff return of the opponent and he'll come give me notes, so it's great. Yeah, he likes all that stuff."

Is that unique for a kicker?

"Very unique. Most kickers, obviously, watch themselves and they watch all the kickers throughout the league and they look through that. Not many of them, that I've been around, break down the big four or the frontline on kickoff returns or anything like that. But he really loves it, enjoys it."

Do you know his brother Los Angeles Chargers assistant special teams coach Chris Gould very well?

"Yeah, I know who he is. Yeah, we met a couple times down with the Chargers."

Do you think that kind of comes with the territory?

"I would think so, yeah. I just know he enjoys doing it. I know he is coaching his kids' football teams now, so I think he might be a coach at heart."

There were a couple of kickoffs, when WR Ray-Ray McCloud got pinned in the corner and he tried to run across the field, is that what you'd like him to do in that situation or do you want him to get--?

"It kind of all depends. We had a big field return, in hindsight, me looking back at that, it wasn't a very good plan in terms of what we wanted. I needed to adjust earlier on that, but every game is different in terms of what team you're going against, what they do well and how we're trying to attack them. So yeah, sometimes it's big field, sometimes it's boundary."

This organization invested a lot in special teams this offseason with some of the new guys coming in, how do you feel about where you guys are three weeks in?

"I think we're on track. I think there's a lot of things we can improve on and the little details. And in fact, I told them all I need to keep improving as a coach on coaching the details. And they need to keep working on fixing those on the field. And it's not a lot of huge things I should say, but there's a lot of little things that I think we can do better to improve."
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