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Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

What Kyle Shanahan said the day after 49ers’ preseason win vs. Broncos

Aug 20, 2023 at 3:30 PM--

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San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan spoke with reporters via a conference call on Sunday, the day after the team's 21-20 preseason win against the Denver Broncos. Here is everything he had to say.

Transcript provided by the San Francisco 49ers Communications staff.

Opening comments:

"All right guys, injuries from the game. [WR] Danny Gray has a right SC joint sprain, no fracture, but we're still evaluating his timeline, [DL] Kerry Hyder [Jr.] got a stinger. We got to be smart with him this week. Not sure about the game. [RB] Jeremy McNichols hamstring, he's going to miss a few weeks. And then guys we expect to get back at some time this week for practice is [DL] Kalia Davis, [LB Dre] Greenlaw, [DL] Drake Jackson, [DT Javon] Kinlaw, [TE George] Kittle and [RB] Elijah [Mitchell]. Go ahead."

Considering where you were when you left the stadium last night, was that really good news on Danny Gray?

"Yeah. We were worried it was a broken collarbone, which is usually about eight weeks. But, it's still a pretty bad injury. It's no break, which is good, but it's similar to what [S] George Odum's dealing with. So, it's still not great news, but it's better than a break."

Roughly how many weeks do you believe?

"They don't know yet, but it doesn't sound like he'll be ready at the beginning of the year."

You've obviously got a couple injuries at the receiver position right now. How would you assess some of those other guys that would belong between WR Ronnie Bell, the WR Chris Conley's, WR Tay Martin, those types of guys?

"I think we've got a good group of depth to be ready for this opportunity. Especially losing two guys who had a good chance to make the team. Definitely with [WR] Ray-Ray [McCloud III] and then losing Danny last night, who was trying to come back from a groin strain I think that he had the week before. So, they've been battling. I do think we've got a good mix of some veteran guys, having guys like Conley and [WR] Willie [Snead IV] which are guys who have played in this league and are very reliable. And we've also got some young guys who've been around here and stuff and we've been working with for at least a year. So, a lot of guys are ready for this opportunity. But as always, they're also competing against other rosters too."

I'm curious about the specific blame on one of the sacks that QB Sam Darnold took, the one where the rusher kind of slipped by TE Charlie Woerner. Is that a play that Sam has to make to the hot read or was the rush on him too quickly there to blame him?

"No, the rush was on him too quickly. It ended up being a bust on the play and he did a good job just protecting it."

You rotated DB Deommodore Lenoir in at corner and it look like CB Ambry Thomas was in at nickel. Can you talk to us about the rotation there that you had during the game?

"Yeah, we just wanted to get a look at Demo inside. We worked him that way in practice this week, did a good job of it and has three days of it. And we wanted to give him some reps in the game."

And how did he do after watching the film?

"He did good. I think he only had about five reps of it, so it wasn't too much. We'll see. I'm sure he'll get a little bit more this week. But like we've been saying, we're just trying to find our best three and we think we've got a number of options, so we're trying a number of things out."

And how does Ambry look on the outside?

"He did a good job. The thing is, he just got that double move at the end, which to me is a little bit more situational awareness. It ended up not hurting us because I think it was [S] Ji'Ayir [Brown] who did a hell of a job rallying to it and stopping him on the one-yard line right before the half ended. But, besides that play I thought he played pretty good."

What did you think of QB Brock Purdy's last snap where he scrambled, cut back inside and came down? What did you see from your vantage point on the sideline and then on film of that play?

"He was good to break the pocket, which I think it was smart. They gave him a lane to break and extended on third-and-goal from the eight. I just wish he kept his eyes up a little bit longer because [WR] Jauan [Jennings] flashed open in front of him and Brock had decided to scramble it a little before that. So, I think if he would've kept his eyes up, he might've had the off-schedule to Jauan. But once he cut back inside, I was just begging for him to get down."

P Mitch Wishnowsky had an uncharacteristic game. Is he fully healthy right now?

"Yeah, he is. I thought he was unbelievable versus the Raiders. Kicked the ball as good as he has. But yeah, no, he didn't do that well in this game. A couple got away from him, a couple we tried to knuckle. And you try to do that sometimes to make it tougher for them to catch it for a possibility of a turnover. But there was definitely a couple punts that he would've liked to have back."

Going back to cornerback, CB Samuel Womack III made a couple of plays in coverage and it looked like he was just as aggressive against the run. What's some of the reasoning for you guys to play him exclusively outside at camp this year? Do you think there's a chance that you guys would play sort of a cornerback by committee until you find your guy opposite of CB Charvarius "Mooney" Ward?

"I mean, I think Demo was unbelievable last year towards the end of the year. So I mean, I think Demo proved that and played as consistent as anyone. Ambry had some flashes the year before at times that he got in. So, I think Demo did do that. Now there's lots of options on how many guys you can get in there. Demo also did a good job playing the nickel role which we needed him to do until [Houston Texans DB] Jimmie Ward got back, so there are different options there. But I don't really see by committee. I think it's us just trying to figure out our best three in those situations."

After watching film, looking at TE Cameron Latu, he had a much better game than he's had in practice. What did you see more from him once you watched the film?

"Similar to how I felt last night, I thought his first catch was real good in that tight coverage, a good throw by Sam. And I thought the three others were pretty big plays that he had. So, I was happy for him because he's been struggling with a few of those drops. So, sometimes when you have some success in the game like that, it can give you the confidence that you need to now move past that and start improving in all the other areas."

Last night WR Ronnie Bell indicated that WR Deebo Samuel has really taken him under his wing. Have you seen that kind of growth from Deebo? Not only did he come back in great shape, sending all his shirtless selfies, but the kind of growth that he's becoming more of a leader in that room?

"Yeah. I mean, Deebo is always a guy who people respect. I mean, from how he plays to how he carries himself. So, a lot of guys look up to Deebo, but yeah, he has been great this year. Everyone knows how he's come back and been ready to go and the way he's practiced and I think the way he's treated all those guys has been definitely taken a step forward in that way."

How did your backup tackles play, particularly OL Jaylon Moore and OL Matt Pryor?

"Jaylon Moore, he played a little bit more than Pryor. Pryor didn't play as much. Hopefully we'll get him more out there next week. I thought Jaylon had some good plays, a couple mistakes he'd love to have back. But, some good, some bad."

Is there a plan to move Pryor to the left side at any point in the next couple of weeks?

"It's possible. We could change them in practice here, but right now with the limited amount of reps that we get and stuff I don't see us doing that this week."

Just a quick health check on the quarterbacks. Did all three of them come out okay from the game?

"Yeah, all three of them are good. Nothing came up today."

It seemed pretty clear in the offseason that Ambry Thomas received kind of a verbal kick in the pants from more than one coach. He seems to have responded to that. How have you noticed his approach, his practice habits, improve this year?

"I think he just kind of, and I think I've said this before, sometimes no matter what you tell guys, they end up getting in roles for whatever reason as rookies and starting going to the playoffs, things like that. Sometimes guys miss really how hard it is to play in this league. And I think that happened to Ambry and I think he took a step back last year because of that. I think he learned that throughout the year. I think the main thing you realize is how did they come back to the off season in year three? And usually you know if they got it. If someone doesn't play as much in year two and they come back in the offseason in year three and they're still not ready to go, it's like, all right, they didn't even learn their lesson, I've got to point this out to them and rarely does it work out that way. Ambry came back in phase one ready to go. I thought he was better in OTAs this year than he's been at time since he's been here. And that's carried over right into training camp. So, I'd say it started in phase one."

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