Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports


Transcripts: Jimmy Garoppolo, DeMeco Ryans, Chris Foerster preview 49ers-Cardinals Week 11 matchup

Nov 18, 2022 at 6:36 PM--


San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans, and offensive line/run game coordinator Chris Foerster spoke with reporters on Friday. The team is in Colorado Springs, preparing for its Week 11 matchup against the Arizona Cardinals in Mexico City. Here is everything they had to say.

Transcript provided by the San Francisco 49ers Communications staff.

QB Jimmy Garoppolo


How much does it take for you to need to wear a glove while you're practicing?

"I usually don't. It just depends. If it's freezing, that's a different story, but out here it wasn't terrible. The snow actually makes the ball a little sticky, so I kind of like it in that sense."

DL Nick Bosa mentioned this trip is testing the team's fortitude. What are some of the challenges?

"The altitude, obviously. That'll test you a little bit. You can tell guys are sucking air a little bit, but it's good for us. We're going to be playing in it on Monday. I think Nick worded it pretty well, so I'll just leave it at that. It's been a good week."

Is it just practicing outdoors and then going inside, just a lot of different moving parts with the whole situation?

"Yeah. It's like when we went to The Greenbrier. Your schedule's not the same. Your routine's not the same, so you just have to adjust and just roll with the punches a little bit, but we've done this before so it's nothing new for us."

At a certain point, do these week-long trips take a toll on you?

"If we were to have another one, yeah, it might. Honestly, it's been pretty fun with the guys. There are some things that you'd like to change, but it sort of is what it is and you have to make the best of the situation. I think we have a good group of guys for that and the positivity's been there, that's for sure."

With the altitude, in terms of the ball coming out, can you tell a difference in terms of velocity?

"Everyone's been asking me that. I don't notice a huge difference. Even when we played Denver earlier this year, it really doesn't fly that different. I think it's more in the kicking game that you feel it, but, yeah, I haven't thought about it too much to be honest."

Why is it that so many of your connections with WR Brandon Aiyuk are over the middle? What is it about the way he runs that route?

"I just run the plays, whatever is called, whatever the route is for him. We just make the best of the situation, make the best of that play and you know B's got a wide variety of routes that he's good at. He's able to get in and out of rotes differently than most receivers, just with the length of his legs. It's different. He moves differently than pretty much all receivers that are on our team at least. That's how he separates, so whether it's going in or out, doesn't really matter to me. I don't have a preference, but just whatever's called, I make the best of it."

TE George Kittle and LB Fred Warner were saying yesterday, there's been some practices, especially lately, when Brandon makes four or five crazy catches in practice. Do you remember a specific day recently when that happened and can you tell us what those were like?

"He has them every day. It's kind of becoming routine, honestly. His arms are so long that I'm learning his catch radius and how it's just different. He had one today over the middle, I put it high in front of him and he just went and got it. Some of those you do on purpose with the location of the defender and some, he just makes you look good as a quarterback, so you love having a guy like that."

Does that increase your confidence in throwing a ball that maybe you wouldn't have in the past when you see that radius?

"Yeah., I can't think of one off the top of my head right now, but there's been ones in the past where it looks like he's covered and you just put it outside of his frame and he can reach it and the DB can't."

What's his personality like on the field? In person, he looks a little bit shy and on the field he looks angry?

"That's pretty good. It's somewhere right in between there. B's not the most talkative guy, but I have no problem with that. He talks when he needs to talk and says things that need to be said, but he plays angry, man. Especially in the run game when he's blocking those safeties and pinning a D-end, it's cool having a guy like that on your team."

What do you mean by the length of his legs? Does having long legs help him separate?

"Yeah, he has long limbs in general. When you watch him run, at least to me, it looks different than other receivers. When you have long legs like that, some receivers can't really get out of the break, they just get stuck kind of and Brandon has the strength to get out of that, which is just unique."

You've been here for the whole process from when he was drafted until now, he was really hard on himself about that touchdown pass that he dropped, do see that in Brandon's maturity and his development?

"Yeah, I think if that would've happened last year, I don't know if that would've been the same response. It's a testament to show how far he has come as a player and as a person. This time compared to last year, B, he really is a different person in the locker room, how he carries himself, everything. It's starting to show on the field. He'll get more ops and obviously we'd love to have that one back, but he'll get more ops."

When you're deciding to throw, whether you are going to Jauan or Brandon, are you making those calculations in your mind about the guys and what they're each capable of?

"You don't really think about it. It's you just learn the guys throughout practice, training camp, OTAs. You learn the guys, what they can do, what they can't do. And that's why sometimes in practice you might throw a ball that's iffy that you wouldn't throw in the game, but you learn, like alright this guy can make that catch, he can make this adjustment and just go from there."

I know you said that your shoulder's been taking time to get back to full strength completely, do you feel healthier in your legs and every other part of your body in terms of being more willing and capable to get out of the pocked and do some things off schedule?

"Yeah, I feel good. No different than any other year. It was a good offseason, it wasn't my typical offseason, so I got to save the body a little bit. I think it's paying some dues right now."

OL Aaron Banks said it doesn't matter whether it's RB Christian McCaffrey or RB Elijah Mitchell that's behind him, he's just focusing on doing his. As a quarterback, do you have thoughts about either one of them back there or is it interchangeable?

"I mean basically I see who's in the huddle, but it doesn't change anything, honestly. Seeing who's playing running back, if Juice [FB Kyle Juszczyk] is playing running back it might change a couple things. We have a good group and they all play well together. They get after it and they challenge each other, which makes for a good group."

Defensive Coordinator DeMeco Ryans


Maybe you want just kind of want to start talking about the state of your defense and what you've seen from them in the second half with a pair of shut outs the last two games?

"Yeah. Overall these past two weeks, the guys have come out and just finished. It's one thing we harp on. That's one thing we always want our guys to do. We've been good in games in spurts, but coming out in the second half, there's been times where we didn't finish and over the past two weeks, that's what the guys have done. They've owned the opportunities that they've been given. We got the ball last week from Huf [S Talanoa Hufanga], guys are just playing really good in the second half and that's when it counts. That's when you have to step up and close the game out if we want to be a great defense. You have to finish the game in the second half and that's what has allowed us to win these past two games because of the effort, the mindset, and the technique guys have finished with these past two weeks."

You guys said that you didn't make any actual physical adjustments at halftime, it was more motivational, can you tell us about that?

"Yeah, it's always, for me, it always starts with the mindset of your guys. Guys are going to make mistakes and my whole thing with our guys is you can't just dwell on the mistakes that you made. You just think about the next play that you get to make. Think about the opportunity that you're going to get when the ball is up. You have an opportunity to take the ball away, so it's not always about the Xs and Os of changing what we're doing, what we do, the things that we do, they work, it's just a matter of doing it the correct way for an entire four quarters."

You said it was the same call throughout the second half, that was your adjustment.

"Yeah, we change calls up as much as we can just to keep offenses off balance. You always have to play that game. You don't want offenses knowing exactly what you're doing, so we want to keep those guys guessing as much as possible, what they're attacking, but it'll always come down to us, our players. If they're able to go out and do what that call calls for and they're able to make the call come to life. They've done a great job and I can't be more proud of those guys for the past couple weeks, what they've done just because they've owned anything I asked those guys, they're doing it. Nobody's not ready for the challenge. Everybody's always up to the challenge. Everybody's always ready to give their best and it's just a credit to the group. The guys that we have, we just have a great group of guys, great group of playmakers who are really fun to coach and they actually make it easy for me to coach just because of their attitude, their commitment and their effort, what they bring each week."

You're extremely upbeat and poised no matter what the situation is as a coach. Was that your mentality as a player or do you have a different personality as a coach?

"No, it's always positive. I can easily harp on all the negative things, the plays that we didn't make or beat guys up, but that's not going to allow those guys to come back and be confident and make the plays that they're supposed to make, so it's always, for me, it's always positive energy. No energy vampires allowed. I tell the guys always positive energy, it's always upbeat, because when they make play, I want guys enthusiastic about playing football. The game of football is fun. I want guys having fun out there, flying around and most importantly, our guys have to be confident. And you're confident when the energy is high. Everybody's smiling, everybody's having fun. If we're making plays right, that enthusiasm is going to be high, the energy is going to be high and that's when turnovers happen. That's when big hits happen, that's when big plays start to happen when everybody is just bought in and playing for each other."

The last couple of weeks, you guys have faced plenty of the short gain stuff, screens and things like that. How much of that is a way for teams to try and offset the aggressiveness of your pass rush and if so, how do you as a playcaller kind of adjust when to press go and when to hold back?

"Yeah, for sure. We know teams want to take advantage of our style. We're an attacking defense. We want to get after people, so we are an attacking front, so to do that, to slow us down, you're going to see plays on the perimeter, whether it's screens, whether it's jet sweeps, all those things. All those type of plays we see, just to slow us down, so do we stop what we're doing? No, we're still going to attack, but it's guys on the backend just making sure they fit properly. When we have plays on the outside, making sure we have guys setting the edge from outside in and we got relentless pursuit from inside out."

That upbeat energy mentality, would you say someone like Talanoa Hufanga just embodies that?

"Oh, for sure. Talanoa, man, that's the one guy when we are at home and we're playing, that's the one guy who I can always count on. He's going to make a big play to get the crowd fired up and he gets his teammates fired up as well. And I think everybody is throwing up the "T" celebration just because everybody's excited for Huf and the type of plays that he makes, but the guy brings energy every day. And the energy that he brings, it rubs off on the other guys as well."

Are you expecting to face Arizona Cardinals QB Kyler Murray and how much does it matter? How concerned are you guys about this quarterback?

"Yeah, I tell the guys, some things we can't control, the things we can't control, we don't get consumed with. So we've played [Arizona Cardinals QB] Kyler [Murray], we've played [Arizona Cardinals QB] Colt [McCoy], we know what both guys bring, both guys are really good players in their own different styles. Kyler is very effective in making plays with his feet. He's one of the fastest quarterbacks in the league, so his ability to scramble and make plays, you have to be prepared for that. And we're working on that, expecting him to play. If Colt plays, Colt is a guy who runs their offense very efficiently, he gets the ball out fairly quickly, makes really good decisions with the football, so he's another guy who we have to be on. You have to be tight with your coverage. You have to be disciplined with both of these guys. The big word that comes up throughout the week for us is just us being disciplined. Whether it's the quarterback run game, whether it's Colt playing, you have to be on tight with your coverages. We just have to be disciplined in everything we do. And it never changes, no matter who's playing quarterback, it will always be about us defensively and playing our best."

What was your viewpoint of the call, the ejection on LB Dre Greenlaw the other day?

"Yeah. With [LB] Dre [Greenlaw] man, a tough situation that everybody's just, we're quick to get upset about it and he gets ejected. I don't want to see any of our players get ejected or suspended, anything like that, so the thing is coaching. How can we coach him better? The thing is when the quarterback is running, we know you can't get a violent hit on the quarterback, so you have to be smart when the quarterback runs the ball, we have to ease up a bit. We have to ease up and make sure that we're especially not hitting him in the head or neck area, but if the quarterbacks giving himself up. We just have to allow him to give himself up and that's the end of the play. We can't think we're getting violent hits on the quarterback. It's just not happening."

After the game Talanoa Hufanga was really hard on himself about the touchdown that he gave up, did you talk to him after that play? It seemed like he went through a whole rollercoaster of emotions.

"Oh yeah, I talked to him after that play. Just had to bring him back, everybody makes mistakes in games. That's football. Nobody's ever played a perfect game. So the biggest thing is, as I said earlier, is Huf you have to let that play go, you know what to do. You know how to do it. Let's just not let that happen again. Let's not help teams, let's help ourselves by making plays and not giving them plays."

Did it take him a little bit to get out of it? Or did he seem to bounce back?

"He bounced back. He bounced back. Of course, he was down on the sideline, but everybody, if you've ever giving up a touchdown, it's tough. I've been in that position before. I know how bad it feels to give up a touchdown and how bad you feel that you let your teammates down and that's a really horrible feeling. I still have some that I remember that I've given up. It still hurts, so I know it's a very touchy moment, but bounce back. Bounce back. It's all about how you respond. Not about what happens, but how do you respond?"

I think I know what you meant, but can you define an energy vampire?

"Somebody who sucks the energy out of the room, somebody who comes in, they're moping or down, just negative energy, not enjoying each day. We're all blessed with the days we're given, man. I say you enjoy every day that you're blessed to be here. See another day, enjoy it and live it to the fullest."

Offensive Line Coach/Run Game Coordinator Chris Foerster


How has this experience been so far?

"It's been great. The people at The Broadmoor, where we are staying is a great hotel. They've done a great job. They've made it very functional for us for meeting rooms. The technology, everything there is outstanding. They've been great. The Air Force Academy has been outstanding to open their doors for us and let us train. And yesterday, we were on the outdoor field. Today, the snow, we moved indoors. It was even a better practice today, so it was really outstanding."

Any trepidation at all because it is turf as opposed to grass?

"No. I get it, everybody's got a thing, but we've had guys go down in our practices on grass. We've had guys, knock on wood, we go out there, practice hard, everything's fine. And I think the guys know how to take care of themselves, it's so hard to put anything on and say so. Guys just know how to take care of themselves."

This year it's been noted that T Trent Williams' outside foot has been a tip off for defensive players as to whether it's a run or a pass. Is there anything to that? Have you kind of seen that at all?

"Yeah, I've worked with Trent since 2010, on and off in those years. And Trent is always conscious of it. Yeah, there are times when, not counting third downs and empty back fields where it's obviously passing situations, we're always monitoring to see where he is, and he was always working on it. Sometimes you just get in a situation where you start getting your stance, you realize what you need to do to get your job done, demands that you just say, yeah, whatever, I have to get my job done. And other times, there are times where he could be more conscious of it and so it's a constant battle with every player. Every player, could give a tip. Whether it's Trent with his foot, whether it's [T] Mike [McGlinchey] with his this, or [OL] Spencer [Burford] with this or the center with this, when he is going to snap the ball, we're always looking at it. We're listening to the TV copy, we're listening to everything. We're trying to see what the other teams may or may not get on it. If they think it's a tip, again, we're working on it, Trent's working on it, so that's about all I can say."

What are traditional, typical tips that offensive linemen often have? Just where they are in their stances?

"It can be anything. Some guys have nervous ticks, like they're moving their hand and then just before the ball is snapped they stop it. Forget the tips of an offensive lineman, we had a formation tendency when I was in Baltimore once, where the tight end, if the tight end was off the ball, we had just gotten into a bad habit and every time he was off the ball, he was in protection. Every time he was on the ball, he was releasing on third down and a defensive coordinator, [former NFL defensive coordinator] Vic Fangio actually, every time the tight end was off the ball, they ran a three-man rush and dropped eight, we didn't have enough guys out in the route and they gave his fits all day. Every time he was on the ball, he rushed more than we could block just because of where we lined up the tight end, so I think everybody's got something. Sometimes it's just as much as the stagger of the feet. It can be where he puts his hands. It can be how he holds his head. It can be the center the way-- there's a million things and that's why you have to stay vigilant with it. That's why to say that, oh wow, that's a surprise. We were always conscious of trying to work through all those things with the guys. At the same time, a guy has to do his job. There's that constant balance. And I'm always making the point, Hey, yeah, I got it for a player, this is good for you in this situation. It's the same with fundamentals and techniques. This fundamental's good, if all I have to do is block Jenn, I'm in great shape right here, but if all of a sudden this and this and this happens, I better be doing something different to make sure all those things are taken care of. It's the same thing with this thing. It may be great for you to be able to block this guy, but with everything else that goes on, maybe it tips off that they change a coverage to know that it's this, that, or the other thing, so it's this constant balancing act. So it's not as simple as you get in the same stance every play, here we go, four yards and a cloud of dust and throw the ball on third down. It's not that simple. There's more to it than that, but it's also as simple as, hey, you have to make sure there's balance to it. That's a long answer, but there's a lot of questions about it."

Is it one of those things where he's so good he can almost tell you what's coming and it's hard to beat him regardless of knowing what's happening on offense?

"I think that's a great way to look at it. I think he's like, yeah, coach, but I ain't going to give that guy anything on me by getting in a stance. And I'm like, I got you Trent, but it's also, what about McGlinchey on the other side where one guy says to the other guy, Hey, it's pass and all of a sudden there's no run keys on the other side, so there's that balancing act that goes on, but it happens everywhere. It's not just Mike. It's not just them. It could be receiver splits, it could be the way the receiver stands. There's a million things the defenses are looking at trying to get a key."

Can you look for those things when you're on the sideline when you're looking at the defensive line?

"We look at it when we're watching the tape. On gameday, I'm a little bit busier than that, but yeah, you do look at the tape. Sometimes the Surface does, you can see things sometimes on the pictures that say, hey, the defensive end, notice he's a little bit deeper here. They ran that stunt, so maybe next time they might do the same. Little things like that sometimes show up."

What's the number one concern facing the Cardinals defense?

"I'll tell you what every week is a great challenge. It's coach talk, but they are a talented group, man, and they play really hard and really fast. [Arizona Cardinals defensive coordinator] Vance Joseph does a great job with that defense. He always has. He uses those guys, maximizes their ability, how they use #9 [Cardinals LB Isaiah Simmons], how they use #25 [Cardinals LB Zaven Collins], #99 [Cardinals DL J.J. Watt] is still playing at a high level. I don't want to leave anybody out, 3# [Cardinals S Budda Baker] is one of the best players in the NFL right now. They just maximize and Vance does a great job. Matt Burke is their new defensive line coach, I think this year is his first year doing the D-line there. I worked with Matt before. He's an outstanding D-line coach. He has those guys playing harder than ever, so for an offensive line and a protection and from an offensive standpoint, man, that front seven, eight, if you include the safety's, both those safeties, they're great players. This is a talented, talented defense and they present a great challenge both in the run game because they are very physical and they play a physical brand of football and we have to be ready to match it."

Does your history going up against Vance Joseph help you a little bit in preparation?

"It does, but everybody tweaks things every year. They've tweaked something, they've taken some pages from the Fangio 'fan book', with some of the things they're doing that's not traditional for them, so even though you've worked with Vance, there's certain things that I've heard advanced in the hallways before talking about, Hey, this situation, this has always been my philosophy. It always will be my philosophy. And so, you realize, hey, I think he's probably still and you watch the tape and go, he's still doing that. And that doesn't give you a huge advantage, except it gives you a little bit of an idea to what might happen."

Having both RB Elijah Mitchell and RB Christian McCaffrey back there, that tandem, do you like that concept where maybe one back is burned out, they're a little fresher?

"I love it. In fact, we've spoken in here before about the needing… some of the best running backs have had the second back with them. Some of the best running attacks in the history of the NFL have been two backs. You go back to the Green Bay days, [HOF RBs] Paul Horning and Jim Taylor and I always think of [HOF RB] LaDainian Tomlinson and [former NFL RB Michael] Turner was his name, but having that other guy, the two guys in Green Bay [Packers RBs Aaron Jones and A.J. Dillon] work great in tandem together, so it's awesome. Yeah, if you, if you have a game that you're going to carry 30, 40 times, that's a lot of carries. And then if those guys are playing on third down, that's a lot of snaps. And that's the one position when you have the ball in your hands, unless you're the quarterback, that's where guys are getting really punished. That part of the game is still one of the most physical parts of the game. The way a runner gets hit when he has the football or a receiver gets hit when he has the football, short of taking a shot to a head, it's all bets are off when you're running with the ball in the open field. And those guys do it every play, they've got to be some of the toughest hombres out there, man, not hombres, sorry, we're going to Mexico, I didn't mean that, but they have to be tough guys out there to be able to handle that stuff and to take that beating and so that's why having two guys tto answer your question is really good. And, I'll jump one step ahead, it's not like one guy's any better at anything. They both kind of have the same skill set. I think Elijah runs with a certain style once they get somewhere, but the great thing about both these guys is they've both got great vision, so whatever we block it for, they're going to find the hole. And whatever they can do past then is on their natural abilities, but very rarely do they miss something. Very rarely are they not getting what's designed and that's what's really nice, you don't feel a drop off when the other guy goes in and then you feel whatever their skillset is. One may do this a little bit more, that a little bit more, but nothing drops off. You don't have to tailor plays or anything. You just say, okay, it's time to give the guy a couple a couple snaps off."

With a guy like WR Brandon Aiyuk, we can see the progress as a pass catcher, it's maybe not as obvious or quantifiable in the run game or as a pass blocker, but how has he grown in that aspect?

"B.A.'s a tough guy now. B.A. catches the ball, puts it away, does what he's supposed to do with it in the pass game, runs his routes, does all that stuff, but in a blocking game, man, he never turns it down. He likes to block. Like all receivers, man, it's a balancing act between getting him catches and doing everything like that and then blocking. They're not all going to be trained killers 24/7, but B.A. does an outstanding job of blocking. [WR] Deebo [Samuel] does a great job. [WR Jauan] Jennings does a great job. All our guys, I don't want to leave anybody out. They all do it. They put their bodies in there, they go after it, they block, they do what they're supposed to do. And Brandon's really developed because that's something in college oftentimes that they're not expected to do so it's a learned thing when they get to the NFL."
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