Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Shanahan, Brock Purdy provide final updates ahead of 49ers-Eagles NFC Championship Game matchup

Jan 27, 2023 at 4:39 PM--

San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan and quarterback Brock Purdy spoke with reporters after Friday's practice, providing final updates ahead of the team's NFC Championship Game matchup against the Philadelphia Eagles. Here is everything they had to say.

Transcript provided by the San Francisco 49ers Communications staff.

Head Coach Kyle Shanahan

Opening Comments:

"Alright, injuries for the game. [QB Jimmy] Garoppolo will be out. [RB] Elijah Mitchell, questionable. [CB] Ambry Thomas, questionable. Go ahead."

What did you see from RB Christian McCaffrey today during practice?

"He looked full go."

Did Elijah get out and practice at all?

"He was out there, I think pre-practice and individual. I think so."

How much did Ambry Thomas practice?


He obviously suffered his groin injury near the end of the game against Dallas?

"Sometime in there. I'm not sure. I didn't ask him. It was on one of his plays though."

When there was this talk at the end of the year that the league may be thinking about going to neutral sites for title games, obviously this week you would want that, would you rather see it stand the same and have the top seeds have the home games?

"Yeah, I would not like that. That's what you work for during the year. It's a big reward. It's a big reward to get that BYE Week and it's a huge reward to play at home. I hope it stays that way."

Conversely, if you're the road team, is there something special about that if you go into the other team's home and win? Would that be lost too?

"Yes. There's pluses and advantages to both. I think there's more to play in a home because of the crowd noise, but it's always nice to go on the road too, with your crew and rally together and go into a place where no one wants you there except your team and that can be really fun and inspiring also."

There's been some reports today and yesterday about defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans getting high up on the list of a couple of teams. Do you have any insight to where things stand with DeMeco with the Broncos and the Texans?

"Yeah, I got a pretty good idea. Yeah, he lets us know. He let's us know a lot."

Do you sense that you're going to not have him beyond this season?

"I don't think any decisions have been made, so I just know he's has opportunities."

How has he handled these last couple weeks?

"He's been great. He's really enjoyed this time. He did a hell of job in those first two games, he hasn't missed a beat any of his preparation and stuff. I know he enjoyed Thursday night and Friday night getting those interviews on his off time. This week it's been all work. Now his off time will be on a plane, so can't get interviewed there."

Do you feel like Elijah Mitchell, when he's out there, is seeking more contact to be more physical as a runner than he was last year?

"No, I think he's always the same. He's a violent runner, that is why we started calling him Drano because he always goes to the right hole. Then we also call him the Trash Man because when he is out there, it sounds like trashcans are banging around in the alley. He likes to run into people violently when he has nowhere to go and that's what makes him a special back."

Do you feel like he and McCaffrey's running styles kind of contrast each other and give defenses different looks?

"Yeah, I think Christian is great at hitting the right holes too. When there isn't a hole there, he never turns things down. He'll put his pads into people too, but I do think that they're a really good mix of each other and their styles."

Does he have a nickname?

"Christian? Isn't it CMC? We haven't given him a nickname yet. Yeah, we haven't given him one yet."

What is it about Elijah you think that enables him to, when he does miss significant time, when he gets back it's like he was never away?

"I think running backs are a little similar like that. I think it takes time, with running routes and things like that, to shake off the rust. When he gets back and he's healthy, he knows how to run the ball. I think it's exactly how he looked in college. I'm sure that's how he looked when he was in high school and that's how he looks in the league. He's got the ability to do it. He's got the mindset to do it. I think it's always hard when you miss so much of the offseason because of the surgeries he had. Then he got that bad injury in the first game. It just gets tough because when you don't get to practice a lot of this stuff, it's just hard for your body to take the way that he plays. But he goes in and goes hard as can be, like he's never missed a beat. Hopefully next year in the offseason stuff we'll have a little bit of better luck to where you can build a little bit better base and help him do what he does when he plays, but help him do it a little bit more."

Kind of a no-duh question, but some players brought up the importance of not letting the Eagles get ahead, get the pass rush going, making you one-dimensional. Obviously you do not want to fall behind, but has that even been a talking point for you guys?

"No, I think that's our goal every single week. You always want to get out to a good start, but anytime you go against a really good offense and a defense and especially when that defense starts with their pass rush, then it becomes even that much more important. So, that's always your goal, it's your goal every week. It's an extremely important one this week, but there's also other ways to win if you don't get off to a great start. so you want everything to go ideal but hey, however this game is dictated, I feel we got the group that can adjust to whatever."

Last week you talked about showing the Cowboys games to let the team know how important that rivalry was. This week, have you used any motivation from the two last NFC Championships or is it enough motivation, the fact that you have a chance to punch that ticket to the Super Bowl?

"No, we always do some little stuff. Today we watched the 2002 NFC Championship game with the Bucs in Philly. It was awesome to watch. It was a little bit boring because they had 33 runs for 45 yards, 1.5 per carry and had 26 points. Tampa Bay's defense was awesome in that game and [Former Tampa Bay Buccaneers CB] Ronde Barber, I always knew how great Ronde was, but that game was as good as it gets. That's why my mind will be blown if he's not in the Hall of Fame soon."

Was that the pick-six at Veterans Stadium?

"Yep, running it back like this, pointing at Barber, it was cool."

Was General Manager John Lynch watching it too?

"Yeah, he was. Yeah, he came into my office right before when I was going through it to get prepared to show the team. He sat down and enjoyed watching it for about 10 seconds and he got up and was pacing the room. He didn't even realize it. I'm like, what's going on with you right now? And he is like, what? What do you mean? And then he goes, oh yeah, this brings back some feelings."

Did you show that because it is a team that went into Philly and shut them up?

"Yeah. You just like to show people the atmosphere. I know that was the last game at the Vet, but there's parallel. You go pick a game at almost any time and you see parallels in everything. Players are all the same, different shoulder pads a little bit. The last time we watched the '82 game and it was much different shoulder pads, but they're all great athletes who play at a high level. Rules are a little bit different, but it's all the same stuff. I love showing the guys, to make people aware of the moment they're in now, because sometimes people don't realize that until they're a little bit older."

QB Brock Purdy

How difficult is it to treat this like just any normal week?

"I mean, there's pros and cons to it. I feel like for the most part we've done a good job of just keeping it simple. It's another week in terms of preparation and the game planning and going to practice and everything. I just feel like it's the moments of in between practice or before you go to bed thinking about man, what an opportunity that we have. You can say it is just another game, but man, there's, there's a lot on the line. All of our goals and dreams of everything are in front of us. So you want to do everything you can to accomplish that. So it is a little different."

You've said it before, but the thought that in your position, you don't have to do everything by yourself, is that kind of comforting to know that when you go into this game you look either side of you and there are people there who are very important to the end result?

"Yeah. that's been the blessing of playing on this team with the amount of experience and veterans that we have. Knowing that, man, I just gotta go out, do my job, get the ball to [RB] Christian [McCaffrey], [TE] George [Kittle], trust in [T Mike] McGlinchey and [T] Trent [Williams] to block and all the boys up front. Hand the ball off, let our run game do its thing. So it's not like, man, I got to do every little thing perfect. I can go and play my game, do what I'm asked of and get everyone the ball and let them make plays and let our defense do their thing. So, I have a great team around me and I know that, and like I said, it's a blessing."

Do you feed off the challenge of going together? Was a team going on the road to someone else's stadium and trying to come out with a win? I mean, did you, like, did you enjoy it in college? Is it something that you enjoy doing?

"Yeah, I mean, I feel like that's one of the main reasons why we all play the sport, you love to go in those environments where you got really everyone, as many people as possible watching the game, cheering, and for us in this case going on the road and being successful and it's why you play the sport. We love the adrenaline and the excitement that comes from it. So, to go on the road and do your thing as a team, it feels really good when you're on point and you're doing your thing and being successful doing it. So, it's something that we all love and yeah, for sure we feed off that."

Head coach Kyle Shanahan was saying he was showing clips of 2002 Buccaneers. Going back to Philly in the last game of Veterans Stadium and winning in Philadelphia, I think that would put you in around two years old when that game was played. Do you enjoy that kind of stuff, that historical stuff? Does that resonate with you?

"Yeah, I mean that's one of the best things I think coach does is go back in time and look at games and moments in time where something was on the line and you can learn from it. You could always learn from history because history tends to repeat itself whether that's in sports or in life in general. So it's cool to go back and try to feel where the teams were, how the environment was, and learn from the good and the bad of everything. So it's cool how coach does that and I feel like he gets a good response out of the team when he shows those kinds of things."

Do you ever get nervous before games or are you pretty even keel on game days?

"I'd be lying if I said I'd never been nervous before games. That's just like part of the feeling of playing football. Man, like, we're about to go and play this sport and it's a violent sport and you got to be a warrior in what you do. So, there's definitely that pre-game feeling, but as the game goes, it's fun and you enjoy it."

What do you recall video-wise what Shanahan showed you from the first two games? What did you do for the Seahawks and the Cowboys?

"Yeah, the Cowboys just went back and showed us the history of the 49ers and Cowboys and all the games from [Hall of Fame QB] Joe Montana's time in the eighties all the way up to [Hall of Fame QB] Steve Young in the nineties. He just showed us the history of that. Then the Seahawks, obviously we've seen the last game of the regular season, I think that was in '19 to clinch the division. He's just done a good job of showing those kinds of things within the organizations, whether they were here or not. We're part of the history of playing for the 49ers. It's cool just to look back on time, see what happened and how it resonates with us now."

What's been your biggest challenge and your most unexpected event that's taken place as you've gone through this year?

"Man, I think probably just handling being the quarterback of an organization. It's a challenge. It's a new challenge every day you experience something new, especially since this is my first time going through it. So, getting the respect of the older guys in the locker room, having them trust and believe in me that we can go out and be successful. I think those were all challenges as I first took over, but now it's like, how do I handle myself and how do I prepare right for the playoffs and all that kind of thing. I feel like there's always a new challenge. There's not one that sticks out, but I'm still experiencing stuff as we go. I'm trying to do my best to stay level-headed and trust that I got guys around me to help. It's not just all on me."

Greatest unexpected lesson so far?

"I would just say not getting too high, not getting too low. There's definitely been times in the game where things are going well and you think, this isn't as bad, but then you get humbled real quick. I think there's some good lessons that I've learned so far where you feel like things are going well and you just got to stay even keeled. You got to go play another drive and another possession and another quarter. So it's the NFL, everyone is good. It doesn't matter how good you feel going to a new game, you can get humbled real quick. Kyle told me about that recently and I feel like it's definitely stood out to me."

In your hometown, the area of your hometown, pretty much everybody I'm sure is thinking, Brock is one game away from coming to Arizona in the Super Bowl. Does that tunnel vision stuff for you or do you just shut that stuff out?

"Yeah, it's all cool and stuff for them to appreciate where I've come from. Being from Queen Creek, Arizona with honor and Gilbert, Arizona, which is awesome and I appreciate everyone, but for me and my family, it's like, we got another game in front of us to handle and all the other stuff will fall into place how it needs to. That's how I'm looking at it."

What are the conversations like with your parents before big games like this? What does your dad tell you or your mom?

"Yeah, we're a faith-based family, so everything we do is prayer and just praying to God, win or lose, understanding who we are as a family, what we believe in. We just remind ourselves with that first. We don't get wrapped up in what people think of us or the bad that could happen. It's what's in front of us, how can we just be who we are and be authentic as a family. It helps me be level-headed and even keeled with everything that's about to come. It helps me just play my game and knowing that I'm loved either way after a game, no matter how I perform."


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