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Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Shanahan, Brock Purdy, other 49ers react to 38-13 win vs. Cardinals

Jan 8, 2023 at 7:40 PM--

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San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan, quarterback Brock Purdy, and others spoke with reporters after Sunday's 38-13 win against the Arizona Cardinals. Here is everything they had to say.

Transcript provided by the San Francisco 49ers Communications staff.

49ers Head Coach Kyle Shanahan

Opening Comments:

"Injuries from the game. [LB] Demetrius Flannigan-Fowles had a neck, never returned. We'll look at that some more. Go ahead."

Obviously, you still have to play the game and there is stuff to play for, but is it a huge relief that you got out of it mostly unscathed?

"Yes. Huge relief. It was a stressful week when you know you need to win, but you know what you're doing the next week also, so to be able to pull off the win, protect the guys a little bit there at the end, and to get out without any serious injuries, we were very relieved."

Were you getting any updates on the Eagles score or the other scores?

"No, I got no updates. When I came in I saw them kicking an onside kick, so that ended pretty fast and we'll watch the game tonight and it sounds like we're going to play Green Bay or Seattle, so we'll see."

In the big picture, just how do you feel about your team right now, a 10-game winning streak to end the regular season heading into the postseason?

"I feel really good about our team when we won the division there about a month ago and I feel better about them now. I think we've gotten better since that point and we'll be ready to go. We'll see if it's Saturday or Sunday, but I'm excited for this week. I'm excited to find out who we're playing and I'm real excited for the playoffs.

That's another offensive production of over 30 points, how is that offensive performing and especially what are you seeing out of QB Brock Purdy?

"I think he's playing consistent and he's making some good decisions with the ball. He has avoided some bad turnovers and has done a good job getting some good players the ball who've done a good job making some plays and he's hung in there on third down, made some key throws. It was nice to get the run game going too, but overall I thought that the guys play real well."

Do you see his ability to change arm slots in the face of pressure when you were scouting him or is that new?

"No, he's always been pretty good at changing his arm angle and things like that."

With DL Nick Bosa being one sack away from the franchise record, was there any difficulty in taking him out at that point?

"A little bit, but I think the bigger one, hopefully he finished leading in the league. [Philadelphia Eagles DL] Hassan [Reddick] didn't get any. It would've been nice to also get the franchise record too, but [former 49ers LB] Aldon [Smith] did a hell of a job and I think Nick's pretty happy with leading the league this year."

What did you think of RB Elijah Mitchell and WR Deebo Samuel returning and how important is it to have them at full strength for the playoffs?

"It's very important. I think we've done a good job without them, but those are two of our best players. They were healthy this week and we wanted to get them in just to get them back into it and mainly to help us win, but also for them knock off some rust to get them playing again and I think it went real well for both of them. They were both able to play some, touch the ball do some stuff away from the ball also and it seemed like a success for both of them."

You're wearing the Buffalo Bills S Damar Hamlin shirt, did you sense any different or special emotion from the guys today? Or did you have any yourself just getting back on the field?

"It was emotional watching the Buffalo game. I got to see some of that this morning. I thought it was so cool watching the national anthem. Those are his brothers. This league's a fraternity so everyone related to it and it was so hard watching that, especially on Monday night when no one knew what was going happen and it's turned into such a happy story. The fact that he got out of that with where we thought it was, so guys have been real positive with it and happy for the situation the last couple days. But watching Buffalo, you could see the emotion and it was unbelievable to see that opening kickoff return and just the timing of it and that was a real special moment, I think for the league and for everyone to see. Just humans in general."

How about the production you've seen out of Brock? We talk about him every week, but this week he even exceeds and he ends up having his first career three touchdown game.

"Brock did some good things, had some plays he missed too. He's playing solid. He's one of the reasons that we've been doing this well the last month or so and guys around him are playing at high level and I'm real happy with Brock."

We haven't seen a whole lot of Elijah, [RB] Christian [McCaffrey] and Deebo together heading into the playoffs. How do you go about formulating your plan? How do you want to use those guys? How much can you use them? All those guys could be absolute workhorses for you, but there's only one football. How do you approach that?

"Just keep doing it the same way we've done it when they have been in or when they haven't been in. We balance it out, we spread it around, we see how it ends up at the end of the game, but you never go in saying, 'Hey, I'm going to just get this guy the ball this much or that guy, you have a game plan and we have opportunities to spread it around a lot and then you just see how the game unfolds. You see how they're defending people and that usually takes care of itself."

The defense gave up the big touchdown in coverage on the jump ball. Gave up some yards obviously last week. Is there a level of concern or are there things that you've got to fix on that back end, in the secondary?

"There's always concerns from a coaching staff perspective. Not just with the D, but there's offense, special teams. I try not to over say anything in here that makes it look like I'm too negative, but we're going to go in there and correct everything. There was things with the offense I didn't like today. There are things always that you see, I think the big plays have been have hurt us lately. They had that trick play on that first drive and launched the ball up to [Arizona Cardinals WR] A.J. Green, who's as good of a 50/50 ball guy as there is. I like that there wasn't a busted coverage or anything. They got a trick play and he went up for it. I wish our two guys could have made it, but they didn't and then he did a hell of a job making the big play after that. I thought their next scoring drive, I thought we had them stopped. It seemed to me like there was a clip on that third-and-14. I thought that's what I saw. It either wasn't or they missed it and that allowed them to extend that drive and we kind of broke down on the one drive after that, but besides that one play and that one drive, our defense did what we expected them to do and I think they're real excited for next week."

How well do you feel like you know Brock given that it's been a limited sample size, in comparison to a quarterback that you've had for a full season going into going into the playoffs?

"I think we got a pretty good idea of Brock just his personality and his traits as a player, what he's capable of, but every time you go into a game or a practice, it's a new learning experience and it's been real fun going through this with him the last month or so. I think there's always things that he does, whether it's good or bad, that when we get there tomorrow, he gets better from, you can see how he takes it to practice field on Wednesday. And yeah, we have a good feel for him and we're getting him to know him better each week."

He had that huge sack there that he was trying to allude is, you obviously want a guy to try to allude the sack, but at what point do you have to tell him, do you tell him like that can't happen?

"As soon as he was on the ground and I was yelling in his ear."

What should he do? Throw it away?

"Not take a 17-yard sack, throw it left-handed out of bounds, anything, but I'm also sitting there nice and comfortable and no one's chasing me. But yeah, that's what we want to do. It was third down but yeah, let's be in a better punting situation and I know the O-line never likes getting that if they don't have to. It wasn't good protection. He had to get flushed, he couldn't hang in the pocket, but once he did get out of there. Let's try not to take that sack if you can."

When you signed S Tashaun Gipson Sr. in late August, did you envision anything like this, him being your full-time starter?

"We wanted to bring him in with depth, we had one of the best safeties in the league last year with [DB] Jimmie Ward and then when Jimmie got hurt and we knew there was a chance that his playing time was going to go up and we were glad to get him. I was with Gip in Cleveland, which I think was his rookie or second year and I thought he was such a good player then, I haven't gotten to be with him since then, but just following him his whole career, playing against him in Jacksonville and Chicago and he's been such a good player for a long time. I thought we were very fortunate that he was available when he was and he's come in here and I feel like kind of the wisdom of our defense. I mess around with him, I call him dad sometimes, but he's been so consistent. Always putting the top, the backstop on our defense. He's got great ball skills, he always has. And the biggest thing is it's allowed us to use Jimmie Ward at nickel too. When we lost [CB Emmanuel Moseley] E-man, which was a huge loss for us and having to bump [DB Deommodore Lenoir] D-Mo out, that was tough and that was right when Jimmie came back and Jimmie, whether he is an all-pro safety or an all-pro nickel it's been great to be able to have Jimmie there and use him there and get him around the box more where he can make so many more plays. And the only reason we've been able to do that is because we have Gip on the back end, so it's been huge."

Did you have a chance to say anything to Arizona Cardinals DL J.J. Watt after the game? What'd you think of the reception he received?

"I didn't, but the reception was awesome. He more than deserved that. It was really cool that he could get that, especially on the road. I was very upset with him all game because he's still unbelievable. He was a problem throughout the game for us in the run game and the pass game, but for it to slow down there at the end, for him to have his moment where he could walk off, I think everyone in this country respects the hell out of him for what he's done on and off the field and he's an all-time great."

All the calls specifically to TE George Kittle in the red zone, but the fact that Purdy and he are so locked in, does it make you call those plays or is it just him finding him when he is open?

"A little bit of both. Kittle is always designed for down there. It's just kind of how the coverage go. He was the number one read on that and Kittle ran a hell of a route and we blocked one, it took a little while to develop, so we were going to have to block well for it. I think Brock stepped up in the pocket, bought a little bit of time and hit Kittle in the back of the end zone. It was a great man-to-man route and those guys have had a pretty good connection so far."

On the run, why was he rolling right? Was that a broken play where he and Elijah maybe or was that--?

"No, it was supposed to be a handoff and they missed it. I didn't get to see it. I was expecting it to be handed off, so I was watching down the field, so I'm not really sure who was at fault on it., but Brock quickly, once he missed the handoff, just turned it into a run and it was a broken play."

Why do you think you're better now than when you clinched the division in Seattle?

"I think the more we play together, the more our guys stay healthy, the better they get. I think our running game has gotten better with the way we've been blocking. I think having Deebo out, having Elijah out, it's allowed to put more pressure on other guys, which usually that helps guys. And I think it has, I think Christian's got a lot more used to our style and I think he's getting better as it goes. And sometimes it takes time to click and I think we're getting better with time."

49ers QB Brock Purdy

Every game's a different thing. What was it about this game you think that was different or challenged you in ways that maybe those other games hadn't?

"Yeah, I just feel like it's coming down to we've got to get into a rhythm and, from the jump, playing as a team, offense rolling, defense rolling, special teams. When we start to lack or give teams some hope, then you could feel it on our sideline, like, man, we've got to get rolling. And so, for this game, I feel like we made some plays early on, but then also there were some drives where it's like, we've got to be better. And so, that starts with myself, starts with everyone that's been here long enough to own up to it. But yeah, it's something that we've got to look ourselves in the mirror, get better, be real with ourselves. But at the end of the day, we played team football I feel like in the second half and pulled it off."

Are you vocal in those situations? Like early on in this game.

"Yeah, I mean I do my part with talking to [quarterbacks coach Brian] Griese and when the right time is to talk to guys, not try to just be a rah-rah guy, but at the right moments in the game. But yeah, I think it started, I'm hard on myself so it starts with myself. I feel like I had to do my part and be better early on before I could say something to anyone else, you know? So, that's just really how today went."

The other week you mentioned that the moment you got here pretty much you felt the urgency to kind of win a Super Bowl here. Have you felt that building as the season goes on and as the playoffs get closer, even after today's game, that the page already kind of immediately flips to that?

"Yeah, I mean that's obviously the main goal. It's been the goal really since these guys played last year before all the rookies and everyone got here. That's the main focus and goal. Obviously, throughout the year you want to focus week-to-week, gain momentum and things like that, but obviously we're at the point in the season where it's man, the regular season's over and now the tournament starts and this is the real ball that really matters. Every single day is going to be vital in terms of getting better and being able to understand what our opponent's going to be doing, it matters. So, [head coach Kyle Shanahan] coach definitely stressed that to us after the game today and we're already getting ready for what's to come."

I don't know if it's quantifiable, but how do you feel just confidence-wise, being in this position going into the playoffs after these six games that you've played quarterback?

"Yeah, I feel great. I feel like everyone else is feeling great. When you're on a roll, you're on a win streak, you feel like, man, the groove and how we're playing together, it feels really good when we're on it. I think a lot of us are real with ourselves too though. I feel like we still haven't played to our full potential yet. And so, we look at it as a challenge, but we're also excited because it's like, man, if we do play to our full potential, what else could we do? So, those are the kind of things that we ask ourselves every day and we're excited about. But I'm excited moving forward for being on a win streak."

That second touchdown to TE George Kittle took a little time. Kyle said he was the first option on that, but at some point, are you just thinking if I just hold onto the ball long enough, I think 85 is going to get open?

"Yeah. I think [Arizona Cardinals LB] Isaiah Simmons did a good job being on George pretty tight early on, but then I'm like, man, you know what, I think George can break out of this with a quick burst and he'll create some separation. So, I just trusted in him. I was a little hesitant at first, like man, should I move on? But I was like, you know what, George is good in the one-on-one matchups like this. So, it was good. I could just put the ball out in front and George made a great play keeping his feet in too. So, it was a sweet play."

You had a number of plays in this game in the face of pressure where you dropped your arm slot and almost threw side arm. Where did you develop that ability? Is that something that you got playing baseball?

"Yeah, I'd credit that to baseball, just the middle infield, even at third base on a dribbler down the line and having to throw it to first pretty low like a submarine-type throw. But definitely baseball, I feel like throughout the years and growing up and stuff that helped me with those kind of arm slots and things like that. But yeah, I wish we could have completed a couple of those today, but it's nice to be able to drop the arm slot, get the ball around defenders."

You also seem very comfortable throwing to your left where most right-handed quarterbacks are more comfortable throwing to their right. Is that another thing for baseball throwing across your body?

"Maybe. I'm not 100-percent sure on that. But I feel like throwing on the run for me is like part of my game. So, if that's going left, if that's going right, it really doesn't matter to me. But I feel like I've had a good amount of reps just throughout my career in college and then in the NFL throwing left, so I'm definitely comfortable doing it."

What does it do for the offense and you to have not only RB Christian McCaffrey and Kittle and WR Brandon Aiyuk, but also to have WR Deebo Samuel and RB Elijah Mitchell now too?

"Yeah, that's the other thing is like, man, we get these guys back. It was good to get some work in with Deebo today, Elijah getting his reps. So, it's like, man, once we're all in rhythm and in sync then I feel like we can play our full potential. So, I feel like today we got a little glimpse of it, but definitely some room to improve, but I'm excited for all of them to be healthy going into the playoffs it's going to be fun."

Are there times when the NFL game seems a little easier to you than the college game, just given how much talent is around you on this team?

"In a sense. I feel like the games are a little different, but yeah, I feel like right now it's like, man, I've got so many play makers around me. I feel like I don't have all the weight of the world on my shoulders to make something up or plays. It's like man, Kyle calls a great game plan, I've just got to go through my progression, throw check downs to guys like Deebo and Christian, and then they make guys miss. So, for me it's nice, I've just got to distribute it to guys and then they come up with all the yards and stuff, which is fun to watch. But college, I feel like at times, yeah, I feel like sometimes I had to make things up and felt a little bit more pressure, but honestly, those kinds of moments helped me to get to where I'm at."

At one point this team was 3-4, and now taking a 10-game win streak into the playoffs. What does it say about the resilience of this team and the focus inside the building?

"Yeah, I feel like just from day one, even though our record was what it was early on, we've all known what our potential really is and was at the time. And so, we've always just believed in ourselves. We've all kept our heads down, all the guys, the leaders, [LB] Fred [Warner], [DL] Nick [Bosa], [T] Trent [Williams], everyone was like, man, let's just focus on ourselves every single day and know that it's going to come at some point. We're going to get on a roll, we're going to, we're going to click, both offense and defense and play as a team. And once that happens, it's going to be tough to play us and honestly, it happened and here we are. But all of that honestly doesn't really matter anymore. It's man, one game at a time moving forward for the tournament. So, we're excited."

49ers WR Brandon Aiyuk

Was it a big deal for you to go over the thousand-yard mark?

"Huge deal, huge deal. That was fun and I'm super excited. That's the mark for receivers. That's what you think about when you're training in the offseason, when you're sitting at home throwing the ball up in the air as a kid on the bed. So that was huge."

Do you see yourself getting better and better each season?

"Yeah, for sure. That's the goal every single season to go out there and get better. That'll be my goal. After we wrap this one up, after we handle what we have to do I'll go into the offseason looking to get better and build off this one. Just continue to keep building and then see where I'm at the end of it all."

What's the feeling right now?

"We're excited. We're excited. Last week we handled our business, so we got to move up, or two weeks ago, we got to move up to the two [seed]. This week we thought we had a chance depending on what went on, wherever they played at Philly or New York, but that didn't go our way. We still had to handle our own business. We're excited to be able to have two home games here. The crowd, even like today, they showed up, they showed out today even though we got out to a slow start. Seeing all the red being at home, we're excited to be able to start the playoffs off here."

49ers DL Arik Armstead

What's it like being a part of Cardinals DL J.J. Watt's final game?

"It was great. He's a hell of a player. I've watched a lot of his game growing up so to be a part of that and see that performance was definitely great. To be able to talk to him and tell him how much respect I have for him and just like everyone else does too."

What were the emotions like today in the first game since Bills S Damar Hamlin's scare on Monday?

"It was good to see that he was doing better. That helped a lot of people to put some things at ease to see that he was doing better. We play football and you definitely don't want to go out there with that on your mind. To see that he was doing good, I think it helped a lot of people."

I've heard a lot of players talk about compartmentalization. I mean, that's a skill that you have to hone over the years, right?

"We deal with a lot as football players. On the field, off the field. We have different experiences. So to be able to compartmentalize, and focus on the game is definitely important."

49ers DL Nick Bosa

When you knew your game was over, did you have any words for San Francisco 49ers Head Coach Kyle Shanahan about putting you back in?

"No, I talked to him early in the week and my main goal was to lead the league and we've got a lot more important things to do. So, I'm just happy I got that, and I think we were the number one defense. Does anybody know?"

Not by yards, but I know you have the top takeaways and the top interceptions.

"I think it was yards."

I haven't looked up yards yet.

"I think we got it. That's another big one we wanted too. So, it's all good."

That first drive, what did San Francisco 49ers Defensive Coordinator DeMeco Ryans say to you guys on the sidelines, or were you just kind of aware on your own what you had to do?

"Oh yeah, stuff happens. We've definitely hit some adversity throughout the year, so we were ready."

Back to the number one spot in takeaways, I understand Kyle has a meeting every week emphasizing the ball. How big of a deal is that for this team to own takeaway margin for the first time?

"It's one of the number one things, for sure. We have the ball meeting every Thursday. [San Francisco 49ers Defensive Assistant] Nick Sorenson is our guy this year. He does the ball. And yeah, turnover margin, we looked at the stats in the meeting this week and every team that was in the plus, or like the top 10 takeaway margin teams are all playoff teams, so that's a clear stat that you want to be good in. I'm happy for Gip [San Francisco 49ers S Tashaun Gipson Sr.]. He got a couple."

49ers S Tashaun Gipson Sr.

Last week you talked about how difficult it was to catch that pass because it's in the air. You had two that kind of tested your patience as well. Take us through those.

"The first one, I think that was a little easier. It was just more so just attacking the ball. Cover three, I think it was an audible. They liked the matchup that they had backside with [Cardinals WR] Hollywood Brown, one of the fastest guys on the field, obviously, and took a shot. We knew they were going to be aggressive by the way that they came out within the first couple of plays. So it was just kind of one of those, you know, you go up and attack the ball. But the second one, when the ball was up there, it was up there for a minute. I bobbled it a little bit, I wouldn't have been able to live that down. I've let a couple slip through the cracks this year, so I couldn't let that happen. But obviously, heads up play by [CB] Deommodore [Lenoir], getting him inside leverage, and giving me chance to break on the ball. And [LB] Fred [Warner], obviously the best covering linebacker in the National Football League, making the quarterback elevate the throw. Just break out in the middle of the field, attack the ball and come down with the play. So, I give credit to those guys, man, and just God for putting me in the position."

Speaking of that, have you reflected at all on when training camp started, you didn't have a job, right? And then you got a job and you're a starter on a team that's going to the playoffs on a 10 game winning streak. What does this mean for you?

"It's so humbling because there were a lot of times, and I sit here and my family could attest to it, where I'd be lying to you if I said I didn't lose a little faith sitting at training camp. Going into preseason three, I was at home with my kids. It was my first time spending my birthday at home, and I didn't envision being at home on my birthday in August. So to be here now, man, it's just glory to God because I came into the right situation at the right time. And everything just worked out in God's plan. I couldn't be around a better group of men, a better group of coaches. This atmosphere here, the family, the organization and just the locker room. They accepted me from day one. It wasn't any ill will or anything like that. [S Talanoa] Hufunga, I truly have love for him, he brought me in, helped me understand the defense, and he took me under his wing. As crazy as it sounds, I'm 10 years older than him, but he truly did. And it's just been a match made in heaven. It's the most fun year of my career and I can truly say that. I've been on some teams where we had a little success, man, but this truly is the most fun year of my career. And, you know, why stop now? We have so much more football left to play. Perfect storybook ending for everybody if we can continue to keep this going."

On that deep ball early on that Arizona hit, it looked like it was covered and everybody was in the right spot. What happened there?

"Trick play. Like I said, they came out and they wanted to be aggressive. We were in cover three, fake a toss throwback. I mean, [Cardinals WR] AJ Green been doing this for a long time, man. Obviously, man, he's a heck of a receiver. He came down with the play. I have to make that tackle no matter what happens. Last line of defense, I have to make that tackle. And I didn't make that tackle. So obviously that's definitely not a way that we wanted to start this game, especially after the outing last week. So it just was one of those things where we had to just come back, relax, regroup, and play our brand of football, and that's what we did."

49ers S Talanoa Hufanga

What can you say about San Francisco 49ers S Tashaun Gipson Sr.? I mean, coming off basically the streets during training camp and doing what he's done.

"Man, best Safety in the league right there. He's really been doing his thing, and he's just been a part of my life tremendously. Coming in here and teaching me the game, bringing a lot of knowledge, and it's just a true pleasure to be on field with him. He has a great attitude. Everything about him is just awesome."

What switched from the first half to the second half to be able to shut them out?

"Just the mindset. I think [San Francisco 49ers Head] Coach [Kyle Shanahan] came in here and we just really got everybody back together. Like, what are we playing for and really what is at stake? And so, for us it's like, let's go out there, put a foot on their neck and finish the game out."

You finished number one this year in picks as a defense and the whole NFL. After what you guys did in training camp, I remember a ton of those, how much does it mean to be able to carry that over to this season?

"Well, definitely last year, I don't know what our production was exactly, our coaches really made an emphasis that we weren't even up there in terms of how many interceptions our guys had in our room. So, to take that to the next level and this year, and guys that have three plus picks this year is just awesome. So, continue just to put our foot forward, and keep going. Very proud of them, for sure."

49ers FB Kyle Juszczyk

What made it so easy out there for the offense today?

"I wouldn't say it was easy. I mean there were a couple three and outs there early in the game, but I felt like there was a looseness out there on the offensive side. We're confident and we know we can go out there and execute. It really doesn't matter who's on the other side. As long as we do what we're supposed to do, we're going to go out there and score."

Can you just talk about the mood going into the playoffs?

"I think everyone's just excited. It's been a weird situation, that you know you're going to the playoffs for so long. It's been almost a month that we've known we were doing this and it's finally here. So I think everybody's just excited to find out who we're going to play and when we're going to play. And we're just focusing on getting ready for that game."

This is the fifth time that the organization has swept the NFC West. How does that feel and what does that say about the sport?

"It's awesome because I feel like this is one of the strongest divisions in the NFL and I think last year we struggled in the division, even though we made the playoffs. So I think that says a lot when you can go out there and beat teams that know you better than anybody else. They see you twice a year, sometimes three like last year. So for us to do that, I think it means a lot."

The team finished plus four today in turnover differential and number one in the league for the whole season. The previous high was number 11 in 2019. You've been here all six years with Head Coach Kyle Shanahan. How big of a deal is that going to be to him?

"It's going to be a huge deal. We literally have a meeting every week dedicated to turnovers. Now that puts us at 10-0, when we were plus in turnovers this year, and I think we were 3-0, when it was even. So I mean, we're really consistent. When we win the turnover battle, we're going to win the game."

49ers TE George Kittle

How do you explain this connection of catching touchdown passes from QB Brock Purdy?

"We have the plays that we've called that have been designed to go to me. Brock does a great job of just keeping me in his first read. I've taken advantage of that opportunity to get open for him to throw it. But when the plays breaks down, he does such a good job of keeping his eyes up and he always looks for the back of the end zone. I think Brock is just a good football player that tries to give his guys a good shot at scoring touchdowns and getting the ball and we've been very fortunate to connect on seven of them."

Do you feel like no matter where you are in the progression, if you get open, the ball is going to be coming your way?

"Even if I'm not the first read he just still gives me a shot even though I'm covered and I appreciate that. He's out there trying to deliver me the ball and he's just done such a good job of that since he became the starter against the Miami Dolphins. It doesn't matter which receiver on this team it is, he's done a fantastic job just getting us the ball with space and giving us an opportunity to make a play with our legs."

About this winning streak, you guys end the season winning 10 games but you guys are at a position going forward where you can't lose obviously now. How do you feel about moving forward and trying to win out the rest of the season?

"In my opinion the 10-game win streak is awesome. It's really fun but it means nothing now at this point. It got us in a position of securing a two seed, so we get to play at home for two weeks. I mean, obviously, we have to win the first one and we'll figure out who we're playing, but everything is a little bit more amplified now. Hopefully guys are a hundred percent focused on football and extracurricular activities are kind of just pushed to the side, whether it's friends, family, whatever it is. How about we just hunker down and focus on the next four or five weeks, whatever it is."

49ers RB Elijah Mitchell

Can you take us through your last couple of plays here leading up to the touchdown?

"I want to say we had a topper screen that was good. I had my fullback in front of me, [San Francisco 49ers FB Kyle Juszczyk] Juice, he made a hell of a block and got up field. Then after that, we had the outside zone play and that was a touchdown."

How do you feel physically?

"I am feeling pretty good physically, it took a little bit, but I was right on track. I'm where I am supposed to be."

You guys won 10 straight. You guys are pretty healthy right now. Just how, how good are the vibes right now? Just surrounding the team, heading into thePlayoffs?

"It is amazing anytime you go undefeated like that. It is amazing going to playoffs so you got to just keep it going."

What gives you guys confidence that San Francisco 49ers QB Brock Purdy can keep this going into the playoffs when the stakes get higher?

"Brock is going to be good, very good. He came a long way and he's been rolling with us and we appreciate him for that."

49ers DB Jimmie Ward

What did you think about the play of San Francisco 49ers S Tashaun Gipson Sr.?

"He made himself a lot of money. Gipson just made himself a lot of money. He leading the team with five picks and his story is similar to mine, but he was just on multiple teams. His story is similar to mine. A guy that's made Pro Bowl, well I didn't make Pro Bowl for which I want, I'm not going to get market like that. I had to do it myself. That's the reason why I go on Instagram and talk stuff because I know how good I am. So I have to market myself. That's just how the game goes. That's just how stuff goes. Gip [Tashaun Gipson] has a story that's similar to mine, man. If you put him back there. He can tackle, he can make open field tackles, he can catch the ball. You see how good of a ball hawk he is. He's a great safety and he fits with his defense. So the 49ers should pay him because he's leading the team in interceptions right now. He's a playmaker back there and that's what we need."

He is 32 still a young guy in the grand scheme of things but with this team, he basically seems like one of the veterans back there in the secondary. Do you guys treat him like he is wise beyond his years?

"No. We treat Gip just like they treat me. He's a leader. He talks out there, he makes plays and he's just a great guy, great father, great brother, just a great guy overall. If I need anything, I always talk to him because he's been playing in the league longer than me, so I always talk to him. He gives me Huf, [49ers S Talanoa Hufanga], T Moore [49ers DB Tavarius Moore], GO [49ers S George Odum], everybody good advice, and tells us that it's going to be adversity throughout the league. You just have to keep your head up and keep pushing through, keep persevering through."

You've done just about everything for this team. What was playing Nickel like now that this, it's done, like what is that amongst like your accomplishments and what you've been able to kind of manage to do for this team?

"I'm happy. I caught a pick, at every DB position. Then, not to mention, I didn't have no OTAs, I didn't have camp to play nickel. So you put me in man coverage with number one wide receivers with slots that's getting paid $16 and $17 million and you tell me to lock them up. You put me in the box. Really all nickel is, is a hybrid linebacker that can cover. That's it. That's all I'm doing. I cover a little bit then I have to tackle, which I, that's what I was coming out of college. I was a nickel and I was a strong safety. I didn't have an opportunity to get used like that, which is cool because I had to be a great team player. Which I feel like I am because I open my ears, if you look at the track record, I had to play multiple positions. I feel like that's the reason why they kept me around so long. That is the only reason I've been here for nine years because I moved around and I was coachable. The guys upstairs, [Dr.] John York got a great relationship with them, got a great relationship with the players, got a great relationship with the coaches. So that's how things happened."

49ers LB Fred Warner

You've got a 10-game winning streak. You hit the two seed. You know you're going to start at home in the playoffs. How do you feel as a team? How do you feel defensively as you're going into this?

"I feel amazing, honestly. It's a blessing, obviously, to make the playoffs and to have the opportunity that we have. And I don't know if I've had this feeling that I have right now about our team and the opportunity that we have to go win this thing. This opportunity doesn't come around often but I want that to be the feeling for this organization. It's about recommitting yourself. We have some things to clean up on defense. That's every week. But we have everything that we need on this team to do what we want to do this postseason."

Can you say that this is kind of a unique feeling? Obviously in 2019 you were top seed, 13-3. What is it about this team in this moment?

"Just being a complete team. Obviously in 2019 it was a very similar feeling, having that one seed was amazing. I just have a great feeling about where we are. It's different when you have the role of being one of the leaders of the team. Back then, I was a young buck just following the lead of the older guys. And now it's my job to keep everybody on the path to where we're trying to go."

You guys haven't shied away from what the goal is around here, since the beginning of this season. How much do you feel that urgency continue to ramp up as the tournament gets closer even after the game today?

"The thing that has remained true through these past 10 games is that it's a one game season every week. And, obviously, now more than ever, that's what this is. Win or go home. And I think that's what is amazing that we played like all throughout these past 10 weeks. And now that's carrying us right over into the postseason, into the tournament, and putting us right where we want to be. And it's about just recommitting ourselves to what we want at the end of this thing."

Cardinals Head Coach Kliff Kingsbury

Did Arizona Cardinals DL J.J. Watt ask to play that much, the whole time?

"Yes, we were going to let him go until the wheels fall off. That was definitely the plan. It's awesome to watch what he did then that sendoff I've never seen that on a football field. I've seen it in basketball but not on a football field. That was special."

What did you do for him last night?

"[Cardinals Defense Line Coach Matt] Burke put together a bunch of videos people sent in: former teammates, people around the league, some big name people and showed it to him and his family. It was emotional. It was a special moment."

Do you have assurance about your job status moving forward?

"Like I said earlier in the week, it's been all about trying to win this game. Each and every week that that's been the talk and that's where it's at right now."

When do you expect to have those conversations?

"We have post-season meetings every Monday since I've been here just to talk, wrap up of the season, where we're at and where we're heading, things of that nature. I'm sure tomorrow, just like every year we'll get together."

Where is this team headed?

"I like some of these young core players. There's no doubt there's a good nucleus of young players. But there are a lot of areas that we have to improve upon. It's one of those seasons where there's no hiding from where I was at and areas that were revealed that we have to get better at. Sometimes that can be a blessing in disguise if you're able to take those signs and improve moving forward."

What did you learn about yourself this year, especially coming off of success the year before?

"Yes, I just try to be consistent for the players like I've talked about all along. Those are the guys putting it on the line each and every week out there. Trying to be the best version of themselves for you day in day out, regardless of circumstance. So, I tried to do the same for them.

What will you take from this year?

"As a coach you learn along the way. Each and every step I think there's things that I'll take from this and be a better coach moving forward. But you have to go through a season like this to try and make those changes moving forward."

What is the overwhelming emotion after a season like this frustration, disappointment?

"Disappointment for the players and then obviously, motivation to be a lot better moving forward. I think as a competitor that's the first thing that you think of. Even watching that team, how talented they are, winning 10 in a row. What it takes to get there and how you can try and be there one day."

What can you say about J.J., just the way he finished his career?

"It's something I'll never forget. I'll be able to talk about that for however long I coach for. Just watching the professionalism, the effort and what he's done since he's been there. He never left the building really for two years. He trained there, he rehabbed last year and was two or three months ahead of schedule to come back and play on that playoff game. Then, he stayed there all year training again. His goal this year was to play an entire season. He hadn't done that for a few years, four years, I think. And then to come in and have 12.5 sacks and play the way he did and lead the way he did is just phenomenal. I can't say enough good things about him."

Do you feel like you have to sell yourself with so many things that have gone wrong?

"Like I said, I'm focused right now just on these players and enjoying the time I have left with them. Tonight and tomorrow morning when we meet and any of that other stuff will take care of itself later on."

Cardinals OL Kelvin Beachum

What was it like to see Cardinals DL J.J. Watt get that kind of sendoff?

"It was good for him. He's played in the National Football League for a long time. He's a three-time defensive player of the year. He's earned it; he's earned the respect from his peers. It was great to see the 49ers organization recognize him in that way."

What do you have to say about your place in the future of this organization?

"The thing is I don't know if I'm going to be around to be a part of that conversation, to be honest with you. That's just the reality of the game. I know [Cardinals owner] Mr. Bidwill is going take some time to think through what the future looks like. I think there's some things that you can work towards, but at the end of the day, this is Mr. Bidwill's organization. Whoever he puts in his locker room, and I said this earlier in the week, it's all about the core players that they have. You got [QB] Trace McSorley brought in on the offense, you have a great crew on defense, and you got [QB] K1 [Kyler Murray] coming back whenever he gets back. I think you've got to lean on that core to decide what this locker room is going to be like in the next couple months."

Do you feel like Cardinals Head Coach Kliff Kingsbury should be back as the head coach next year?

"You know, that's not my decision to be honest with you. I know that he's done a solid job since he's been here the past couple years. This last year we didn't meet the expectations that we set forth or in this particular year. But again, that's not my decision."

Cardinals LB Cameron Thomas

Talk about your last moments with [Arizona Cardinal DL] J.J. Watt.

It was something special. When I saw him on the big screen and looked over at him and saw him walking off, I personally felt that deeply. This is only my first year and having the ability to watch him put in all the work he's put in just this year let alone his whole career has meant so much."

Can you sum up what he's taught you or how much it's meant to you that he takes the time to help out the young guys?

"He's taught me so much. One of the biggest things I learned from him is to just be dominating and to have unquestionable work ethic. His approach, every time he steps on the field, is to work harder than you and know he's better than you. It just teaches me to be myself."

Cardinals DL J.J. Watt

What are your emotions right now?

"They're calmed down now. They're calmed down now, but I want to thank the 49ers. That was very classy, and their fans. You don't have to do that for an opposing player in your stadium when you're going to the playoffs, and I just appreciate them doing that. That was better than I could have expected it to be, certainly from that standpoint. Have my wife and son here, have my parents here. I wish the game would have gone differently in many ways, but I'm thankful and grateful, and I'll always remember it, that's for sure."

On a personal level, obviously what you said, wish the game would have gone differently, but you had two sacks and maintained all along the level you wanted be playing on. So, it couldn't have gone much better.

"Yeah, I said I wanted to go out playing good ball and I'm playing good ball. I know I still can, I'm just choosing not to, that's all."

How was the video last night? What did you think?

"Man, I have not been emotional through the whole process. I mean, I haven't been emotional back when I made my decision. I wasn't emotional last week really. I wasn't emotional at the last practice. Wasn't even emotional in the meetings at night. I was just ready to go to bed, and then [Arizona Cardinals Defensive Line Coach Matt] Burke got up and explained putting together the video. He contacted all the people, and kind of made it happen, and then VJ [Arizona Cardinals Defensive Coordinator Vance Joseph] let him play it in the meeting. The second that that video turned on I lost it. I mean, I absolutely lost it. I was bawling like a baby, and I didn't stop until well into the night. The highlight videos are great, all the plays are cool, but when you hear from the people in your life that are important, from my family, from my friends and then, you hear from people you have the utmost respect for, teammates, coaches, opponents, it hit me in a different way that I never expected, and I'm forever thankful to Burke for putting together that video, because it's one of the greatest gifts I've ever received, and it is truly something that I will cherish for the rest of my life, and I thank every single person on that video who sent in a video, because it was truly unbelievable."


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