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Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Shanahan previews 49ers-Seahawks Wild Card Round matchup

Jan 10, 2023 at 3:15 PM

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San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan spoke with reporters as the team prepares for its Wild Card Round matchup against the Seattle Seahawks. Here is everything he had to say.

Transcript provided by the San Francisco 49ers Communications staff.

Opening Comments:

"Good morning guys. Injuries, [QB] Jimmy Garoppolo will not practice. [CB] Ambry Thomas, ankle, won't practice. The rest of these guys will be limited; [LB Demetrius] Flannigan-Fowles, neck, [OL] Aaron Banks, ankle/knee, [LB Dre] Greenlaw, back, [DL Arik] Armstead, foot/ankle, [DT Javon] Kinlaw, knee, [RB Christian] McCaffrey knee. [DL] Kevin Givens will be full today."

You said Thomas had irritated the ankle yesterday. Was that recently or was that last week, which led to him being out?

"He had done it some time ago, but then re-irritated it in practice last week."

On your second offensive play, you went to FB Kyle Juszczyk over the middle. You had WR Deebo Samuel shift and McCaffrey shift, was that exactly how would've drawn it up? With the middle being totally vacated like that?

"Yeah, busted coverages are awesome but yeah, we weren't expecting to get him totally alone, but they just brought too many in and we just scattered everybody out, so you just had to get rid of it because they had more than we could block, but we got more out than they could cover."

T Trent Williams makes left tackle look so easy you can go an entire game almost without noticing him as a lay-person. I know this is a tough ask, but for a lay-person who's not understanding of the nuances of offensive line, what makes him so good? What makes him one of the best to do it in recent memory?

"He's the most talented I've ever seen, so that definitely helps, but he's one of the smarter players I've been around and he has been playing a long time and he likes football, so he watches it not just to get through it. He enjoys watching it. He studies rushers, he studies who he is going against. He studies other people. He understands what we're trying to do, not just his assignment, but the big picture of it, so when you have aware players with experience who are more talented than everyone, usually that's a good combination."

DL Nick Bosa said after the game that he talked to you early in the week and let you know that winning the league sack title was more important than the franchise title. How would you describe his whole outlook on this season in terms of the picture now is just the ultimate goal of getting of the Super Bowl and winning it?

"Very business-like in kind of everything he does. He thinks about whether he wants to go out to dinner and how much inflammation that'll cause to walk there and how that'll affect his explosion on clip 62 in the game. That guy obsesses over every little detail and that's why he's as prepared as anyone I've been around. And to me, I've said it a lot, I feel like he's been preparing for what his job in life is to do since he was three years old, so it's a combination of all those things that makes him one of the best."

At this point with QB Brock Purdy having played six games and going into the postseason, is there anything different that you do with him just in the preparation standpoint to get ready for a playoff game than what you would do for a veteran? A guy like QB Jimmy Garoppolo who's been there before?

"No, we do the same thing for the playoff game that we do for every other game. It's seven days to prepare for a team, sometimes six and it's just one game. The rules change a little this year if you get to overtime, but besides that, there's absolutely nothing different. I compare it to other sports where I think a seven-game series could be a little bit different how you go about that, but it all comes down to one game, three and a half hours and each team has the same amount of time to prepare and it's your same schedule, same routine, nothing's different than any other game."

My question would be more just from a temperament standpoint or managing his emotions or just kind of gauging how he's feeling having not been in this kind of pressure before, is there anything that you kind of keep an eye on just to make sure?

"Yeah, keep not making it more like those questions. It's still the same thing I just said. I know if we lose our season's over, that's the only difference, but you feel like that almost every week in a NFL game. I think that's what's so cool about the NFL, because all 17 games usually do matter. I feel like that every week and I look back to our last loss, going back to verses Kansas City and I feel like that cost us home field advantage, but at the time, you feel like that's going to be the game that keeps you out of the playoffs and then the next week, it's always like that, so I feel like our mentality, we've been playing playoff games for a long time and the pressure's always on and I think Brock takes that into every game. And this game, if you want to sit and think about all the outside stuff, I'm sure you could psych yourself out, but that's the only thing I would say through experience of it, is once you get on the field, there's absolutely nothing different. Whether it's a playoff game, whether it's the Super Bowl, all you can do is control the athletic sporting event that you're involved in. Don't make it more than that."

What, if anything, has evolved or changed about the way the Seahawks are playing now versus the first time you faced them this season?

"We faced them a month ago and their defense over last month, I think there're the seventh ranked defense over the last four games, so they've been keeping people out of the end zone and I think they're sixth on third down, so they've been getting off the field too. Their offense has been running the ball better here in this last month. I think they're ranked sixth in running the ball over this four-game stretch, so they're playing pretty good right now. As good as they have been all year and turning on the tape, they're a better team than they were four weeks ago and it's not a surprise to me that they're in this position."

Sometimes you hear people say it's hard to beat the same team three times in a row. Is there anything to that or is that just kind of one of those phrases that is meaningless?

"Maybe if we had to do it three days in a row, but I look at it as we only have to beat them once because there's no more in a row. Everything behind us doesn't matter and it's a one-game season right now, so we have to beat him this week one time and that will allow us move to next week."

WR Ray-Ray McCloud III has been described by his teammates as, when he first got here, so quiet it was almost hard to hear him. And can you just kind of talk a little bit about how he's grown since he's gotten here and been such a vital part of what you're doing, especially when Deebo was out?

"Ray-Ray leads the league in mumbles, so sometimes you have to get him to not mumble, but no, Ray-Ray's been great. He's been awesome for our team. The way he plays just so fearlessly and the way he has fun out there, that's how he is in person. You never know what you're going to get. He's an interesting dude that everyone enjoys, but football is so important to him. He goes about it his way, which he's going to get there, maybe a different way than you're used to, but by the time his assignments come, by the time the game comes, he's a dude that you can count on because it's important to him. He doesn't want to let anyone down and I've been really pumped that he's on our team this year."

Do you have any examples of how he gets there a different way than what you're used to?

"He carries his own ball out there. I didn't realize it was his own ball until he threw it to me and it almost pulled my arms off because it weighs like 30 pounds, so he tricked me with that. He ties things to his hamstrings all the time. I still can't figure out what they are. He's got his own little routine that he does and now that we've been around him, it works for him and I just know we can count on him when we eventually get there."

The other night after the game, Bosa was saying that he pretty quickly turned the page to the playoffs. It's like getting a second wind I guess after a long season. Do you sense that in the team that they quickly kind of turn the page, especially the guys that have been through it?

"Yeah, I do. This was the first time that I'd been in this position and our team, I think most of the people, but just to clinch the division as early as we did, just knowing you're going to be in the playoffs was just different. Your goal is always to get there and then you deal with whatever and once you do get there, you try to make it the best you can, but to know we won the division that long ago, it's been a challenge and every week you have to get up because you know you still have a lot to play for and we've been able to do that. Last week was the biggest challenge because we knew how important that game was to win. We were expecting Philly to win, but we knew if we lost that game, we were expecting Minnesota to win too, so we felt we had a lot to lose if we lost it and also the risk of guys getting injured too, because guys want to get to the playoffs so bad and do their best there, but it's not like you're just guaranteed to get in there and have all these ops. You're guaranteed to have one op, so you have to make sure that op is the best and we've been working on that the last month and right when we could tell the game was out of hand versus Arizona. I think everybody was like that. We're like, alright, finally, we made it, we took care of business. We did as good as we can in the situation we had and for the most part, we stayed pretty healthy doing it, so I think once we got to that fourth quarter everyone was thinking about it. We got home as fast as we could and just started waiting to find out who we'd play and very quickly we found out and realized we had lost a day because we're playing Saturday and we're ready to go."

Do you ever feel like you have so many weapons on offense that it's almost a challenge to get everyone involved?

"Yeah, it's definitely a challenge. You can't get everyone involved, you have to see how the game plays out, but you try to balance it out that way and when you can balance it out that way and you have solid people and better than solid people at every single position, usually it takes care of itself. You have to see how the game goes. If you end up getting one dimensional or you don't move the chains on third down and you can't stay out there, then things can get skewed, but if you're playing the right way, you're moving the chains and the defense usually adjusts, then I feel it usually balances out and everyone has an impact."

As far as playing a team three times in a season, do you remember from last year that third game against the Rams, did they bring in something a lot different to that game than the previous two meetings and do you have to kind of strike a balance with this game and you don't want to anticipate too big of a difference, but there might be some differences between the two previous Seahawk games?

"There always a little, but once you know each other that well, usually the game becomes simpler. You don't trick each other after that and usually teams are playing at a higher level by that third time. It's very sound both ways and it becomes a much more physical game. Usually it's based off of turnovers, but each team gets better at playing each other and that's why it gets harder."

With S George Odum, is what he's doing on special teams what you envisioned or is even better?

"It's what we envisioned and now being around it in person, I'd say it's better. We were trying to get a Pro Bowl special teams player, I believe we did. He's another guy left out who I think didn't have the right voting for him, but he was an All-Pro before he got here, we were expecting to get one. He's played like that to me all year. I think he's leading the league in special teams tackles. He is the same every single day. I'm so happy when he doesn't hurt someone out there, because he only knows one way and he's always walking that fine line in practice, but he's so intense and he works so hard at everything that it's so obvious why it carries over to special teams seeing the type of player."

Have you or another coach ever had to talk to him about 'dude, this is practice'?

"Yeah. Yeah. I talked to a lot of guys about that, but he's a repeat offender."

You guys have to shut down DL Kalia Davis from practice if you don't activate him, is that window only three weeks long?

"Yes. Yeah. He'll be shut down today."

41 years ago, former 49ers WR Dwight Clark made the catch, I'm wondering if there's a play that sticks out to you in your childhood that you remember where you were when that happened? Because a lot of Niners fans know exactly where they were when they the catch happened.

"I was too young to remember where I was."

Is there any play from your childhood that you remember like that?

"I remember my mom giving me so much crap that I didn't remember that when we moved here in sixth grade. I was like, mom, I was two years and one month. It's your guy's fault for not showing me, but no, the plays from my life I remember, [HOF QB John] Elway helicopter in the Super Bowl that one was as good as it gets. I remember [former 49ers DB] Eric Davis returning that pick-six on the opening drive of the NFC Championship game where the Niners finally beat Dallas on the third try. I remember [former NFL DL] James Harrison's pick-six in the Super Bowl, which I thought was such a cool play. Same game with [former NFL WR] Santonio Holmes in the back of the end zone. I think that was one of the best plays, but yeah, I have a lot, but those are the first ones that come."
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