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Kyle Shanahan provides important updates ahead of 49ers-Falcons Week 6 matchup

Oct 12, 2022 at 1:37 PM--

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San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan spoke with reporters from West Virginia as the team prepares for its Week 6 matchup against the Atlanta Falcons. Here is everything he had to say.

Transcript provided by the San Francisco 49ers Communications staff.

Opening Comments:

"Alright guys, injuries for today. [CB Emmanuel Moseley] E-Man obviously will end up going on IR. Jimmie Ward had his surgery, they have a cast put on it. He should have a chance to play within a few weeks, but we won't know anything until they re-evaluate that in about 10 days, see how it is with the cast. [DL Arik] Armstead, foot and ankle, he'll be out today. [T] Trent Williams, ankle, out. [DT Javon] Kinlaw, knee, out. [DL] Nick Bosa, groin, out. [K] Robbie Gould, left knee, out. [DL] Samson [Ebukam], Achilles, he's out. [TE Tyler] Kroft will be limited with knee. [DB] Tarvarius Moore, limited with hamstring. [WR] Danny Gray limited with illness. And [OL] Aaron Banks limited with knee. Go ahead."

Samson with the Achilles, how serious is that?

"Him, Aaron Banks. Yeah, those two is just tendonitis from the turf. They're just still sore from it."

RB Ty Davis-Price back in practice?

"Yes, he is."

Anything since yet of how serious Robbie's knee injury is, whether you'll keep him out of this weekend's game?

"We signed a kicker just in case for the practice squad, so we'll have that option as the week goes. We'll probably test it out either tomorrow or Friday."

With Nick, obviously out today, but is there any sense of where he's at?

"I know he's got a chance to play, but doesn't feel good enough to go today, so hopefully he'll be better tomorrow."

Is the thing with Jimmie Ward, is it more like to prevent an infection from the surgery or is it actually the bone and the healing?

"Yeah, I think it's deciding how the cast fits. If he'll be able to play football with that and protect himself and be able to perform at a high level, which you don't want to try to figure out a few days after the surgery. You have to do it about at least 10 days, so we'll just see if he's comfortable enough to do it."

Arik, he was possibly going to go on IR, is there a possibility that you he play now this Sunday?

"No, Arik's not going to play this Sunday, but we're not putting him on IR yet either."

Did he and Kinlaw make the trip?

"No, Arik did not. Kinlaw did."

Have you had any sense yet of whether Jason Verrett going to be able to go on Sunday?

"No, we base that on how he looks on the practice field and today will be his first day that we get to watch him since then."

Does the experience you had with him in 2019 where he played on a couple plays against his Steelers, but does that play in the back of your mind at all? How does that?

"Yeah, it does. You have to test everything out to make sure he is ready. Not just that he's feeling good and says he is good and looking quick. You have to make sure you can go through all the routes, see everything in practice, stuff you figure out throughout training camp. But sometimes it's tough on just a card at practice, last year or in '19, we all felt like he was there and then he got in some situations where you could see he wasn't. So that's what we're trying to not do."

How do you feel about that cornerback position going to backups, compared to a year ago when you had to and you were pulling guys in off the street, it just seems like you have better depth there?

"Oh yeah, much better. Last year that was our biggest worry. We knew how thin we were there with the rookies and stuff and then losing [CB Jason] Verrett that first game was tough. That's why we had to go sign vets right away. We've had the injuries this year, but we have some rookies who got experience last year and we also brought in a couple of guys and I like our draft picks too, so we got some more depth, which helps."

Following up on that, how important was it, going back to the offseason to get a guy like [CB Charvarius] Mooney Ward to kind of solidify the top of that and has he surprised you in any way since he's been here?

"That's what he hoped he could be like. He's been what we hoped for and what we hoped we were getting and paying for. I think that's so hard in free agency. We've kind of looked at that almost every year. And when you get into free agency the money gets so high and his did too, but to see the player with that money we thought it would be worth it and for him to come and be exactly what we thought has been great. But it's always hard to do that. It took us a while to be able to do that, but when you do take a swing, you hope you hit and I really feel like we have."

Why does he excel so well being able to break up so many passes already?

"I think he's never out of control. He's not a guy who misses very much. He's patient with his hands, patient with his feet, always seems on top of guys and has the speed and length to recover too when he is not."

When CB Ambry Thomas ended the 2021 season, it seemed like he was playing pretty well, but he seems to have been kind of jumped on the depth chart by DB DB Deommodore Lenoir and maybe some other people. Where is he at and why hasn't he taken that next step?

"I thought he did with his experience last year, he got better as the year went. But just coming back to OTAs, coming back to training camp, other guys have passed him up and he's still working hard to get back. I think he's made a lot more progress here in the last three weeks than he did in camp. And especially with the injuries, opportunities, most likely are going to come, but he's got a little more competition this year than last year."

RB Jeff Wilson Jr. is so impressive, how hard he runs is so apparent. What else about his skill set makes him special?

"I think he doesn't mess around. He knows himself, he puts his foot down and goes forward. You look at that long run that he had one versus the Rams and then the one that he had in the first quarter versus Carolina. He gets a big lane, but a lot of people, they get that big lane and they see that one guy left and they start to stop and set up a really big move to make that guy miss. You don't even see Jeff make a move because he just goes to space and takes it right away and changes the angle of the guy. So, he plays so fast, hits it so hard and he usually always gets a little bit more than you block it for you."

You're not the only coach who called Jeff one of their favorites. Beyond the way he plays, what is it about him that makes him?

"I think his personality, he's a pretty infectious guy. You guys have been around him. I think we all feel that way. Our wives who've met him feel that way, like he's just a very positive upbeat guy that is fun to be around and he is not a guy who's trying to do that for anyone. He's like that to everybody, so everyone loves him as a person. And then when you watch the way he plays combined with his character he's so inspiring to watch."

With Ambry, is that a function of not understanding what you need to do in an NFL offseason?

"I think it's always both. I think a lot of these guys who've come in the league the last few years, and this isn't to single him out, but I think it's everyone. I haven't really learned what you have to do in the offseason. For these last four years, I have been told by everyone, you don't get offseasons, whether there was COVID or negotiations or stuff like that and people think they can just pick up and play football in camp and it's just not the case. You look at other sports and I feel like the NBA players are done with the championship game and they're playing in the Olympics a couple weeks later, but always playing pickup ball, baseball players go in the batting cage, you have to play your sport or you get rusty at it."

What's QB Trey Lance doing this week and how does he stay connected when he's on the other side of that country?

"It's tough for this week. He can zoom into our meetings and stuff so he stays a part of the gameplan, but still couldn't travel. Just wasn't worth the rehab and stuff for his leg. But I think this is the last trip he'll miss. I think he's able to come with us after this."

Speaking of guys in the offseason maybe not doing what you would expect them to do, WR Brandon Aiyuk did, but it seems like his numbers and his performance level in the past few weeks has not been what everybody expected?

"Yeah, everyone expects numbers based off of guys playing well and it just doesn't always work that way. B.A.'s been playing really good. I thought he had his best game versus Carolina, his second-best game the week before, but the ball doesn't always go that way. It didn't get to Deebo that much, it didn't get to B.A. that much. I think we ran it 30 times. George got a little bit, but his times will come. When we've gone to B.A., he's done a hell of a job. He had some opportunities last week that we just didn't get it to him on which would've helped his stats and helped perception, but that's all it is to me is really perception and B.A.'s playing his ass off."

Can you define that a little bit? Like you're saying when the ball didn't come to him, he did what he had to. Is it running plays, like what made him stand out in your mind?

"Just what he did on every play. Just how he runs his routes, how he blocks, how he's playing football. I don't base whether guys played good or bad off their stats. I watch what they do on each play and there's games that guys have really good stats and we announce some MVPs of the game and sometimes I don't think they had a very good game. So it always doesn't go to stats. It's about watching the guy play football and he's a very good football player right now."

The kicking game, you've had a couple blocked this year and then a couple long returns. What's your level of concern there? Is there any common threads you're seeing?

"Yeah, we've gotten it blocked too much which makes it only harder, especially this team coming up this week. I think they rush the kicker very well and when you get those blocked, everyone smells blood in the water, so we obviously have to tighten that up from a coaching perspective and personnel perspective. Those long kickoff returns, we can't open up our lane containment, when a guy's got outside contain, whether you miss it or not, you better turn them back in, but you can't miss it inside and give them a whole sideline for them to just run into our kicker."

How impressed you been by the early production from RB Tevin Coleman?

"I've been impressed, it's kind of what we expect him to do. Very similar, they go in and they just play, you don't know when you're going to get your opportunity. You don't know when you're going to get a good run. It's not like we call a screen for whoever, whatever back is in, and he happened to get that and he finishes and scores. So, to get in there twice and just to play hard was what we expected. I didn't totally expect that jump ball on their nickel back, that was an unbelievable play by him. But I thought we were really fortunate to get Tevin back here when we did."

I'm sure you talked about this last year, but what were things that inspired you to trade for DL Charles Omenihu and how might he have improved in the past year?

"We knew that he was available, first of all, he was a guy we liked coming out of college. Mainly with his length and just the overall talent that we thought he had. And when we knew that he had a chance to be available and for the pick I had a chance to get him for, we really didn't hesitate. And since having him here he is, to me, the talent has been apparent and just being with [defensive line coach] Kris [Kocurek] and getting him in a little bit different scheme, I think he's getting better at it each week."

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