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Kyle Shanahan, John Lynch talk 49ers’ 53-man roster

Aug 30, 2023 at 4:49 PM--

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San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch spoke with reporters on Wednesday, the day after the team cut its roster down to 53 players. Here is everything they had to say.

Transcript provided by the San Francisco 49ers Communications staff.

Head Coach Kyle Shanahan

Were you encouraged by K Jake Moody's status, with no kicker on the practice squad or is there still space?

"Still fluid. Most likely we'll have one by the end of this weekend. But yeah, I am encouraged how he's been this week."

Have you agreed to bring someone in?

"We haven't agreed yet. But we're still looking into some practice squad guys."

Practice squad sort of suggests that it's a short-term issue with Moody?


Are you planning to start anyone on IR on the 53?

"Yeah, we still got to move two more guys to IR, which we haven't told them yet. So, I can't really say right now."

TE George Kittle didn't practice the other day. Is that just a rest day?

"No, we're just taking care of him right now. It's still stuff lingering a little bit from when he has missed him some time. And we're not going to practice him today either and hopefully we can get him going on Monday."

Heard about QB Brock Purdy didn't throw as much or at all early in the practice pitch count. Is that a new thing or was that scheduled?

"No, that goes back to our same numbers that we decided on like two months ago. I think I'm going to mess up the numbers, but it was like 700 throws a week or something. We plan on deloading this week and trying to cut that in half. So, it'll be the same thing today before practice and tomorrow."

So, he's fine?

"Yeah, he's fine. It's just his numbers are cut in half for the whole week."

A little while ago you said the DL Nick Bosa thing was going as you expected. Would you have expected him to sign by right now?

"I thought it would come probably at this time just looking at the history of those things. I'm really hoping it gets done. I know they're working tirelessly at it. [General Manager] John [Lynch] [VP of Football Administrations Brian] Hamp [Hampton] [President] Paraag [Marathe]. I know their team is. But hopefully we can get him in here sooner than later."

Is there any way you can imagine this team not having him on the team say if this thing goes on into the season?

"Yeah, I can imagine anything. Doesn't mean I like that picture. Of course not. You guys know how we feel about Nick, and we all know how good of a player he is. So hopefully we can come to terms soon and get him here as fast as possible."

Have you seen enough from other edge rushers for now to be confident that you could be held over just in case the worst does come to fruition for Week One?

"We got to feel that way always. Nick missed one game last year. He had that ACL that one year. So, you got to always be prepared to play without not just Nick or anybody. But hopefully that doesn't happen."

There's no way that you guys would consider trading Nick?

"No. I haven't talked to many people about that. But I know how I feel pretty strongly and I think everyone would agree with that."

I'm sure you're going to say all roster decisions were difficult, but were there any particular positions where there was maybe more spirited discussion than others?

"There was only a couple of positions where there wasn't much. It's a real stressful time because you guys saw we lost three guys that the other teams took. That's kind of the decision on everything. It's how to keep guys on your roster for the whole year, for Week One. There's certain ways to do that. It's a gamble with everything. There's a number of guys that you want. There's guys that you feel the other league will want, to where if you expose them to waivers they'll get taken. There's some guys you might want less that you don't think will get exposed. So, you got to play that gamble with every position. Lost a couple today, but I also felt good with the number of ones we retained."

I'm sure you're always weighing the kind of short-term versus long-term, like who's ready to help us now versus what they could be later. Is that even more true with a team like this and a roster like this where maybe you do lean a little more to, 'We need guys who can help us right now?'

"Yeah, but you can't just think one way or the other in any of those situations. I think after our first two years here, we've thought a lot more the other way. You always want to think of who can help now, but you can't do that at the expense of just killing yourself for the future. When we first got here, that was a lot easier to give guys more opportunities to bring guys in and take more shots on people. But we've developed a lot of guys here. There's guys who have been backups for a long time and when you get to work with backups for a long time, it's really hard to bring in some guys to do better than those guys right away. So that's why there's so much pressure on the offseason and hopefully trying to get OTAs, trying to keep guys healthy for camp. So, you give guys who have the ability to beat people out, you give them a chance. But it's tough in this league."

Last year you guys were really good against the run, but the last two preseason games gave up about six and a half yards a carry. What did the film show? How concerned are you about the run D going into the opener?

"I'd be extremely concerned off the preseason games. I don't want to look too much into that, but you also can't ignore it either. I didn't like how we were versus the Raiders either in the run. Last week I thought we had about over a hundred yards on about three plays that a guy got out of his gap and then we didn't stop the bleeding with the middle third guy, so that added up. Then I didn't think we were very prepared for the running quarterback there in the third and fourth quarter. We better be better this year. We've always done pretty good in the past with the run. I think we were number one last year. That's something that's important us on both offense and defense and I expect us to do better in the regular season."

Do you expect to have a swing tackle this year? Do you think that OL Matt Pryor will be right side and OL Jaylon Moore will be left side?

"Right now it's that way. We're trying to mix them and match so we can be ready for both. They both prefer where they're at, but you don't always have that luxury. So now we know they're both on our team. We got to keep preparing them to play both."

With WR Ray-Ray McCloud III and WR Danny Gray. Is there a chance Ray-Ray can go Week One. Then with Danny, how's his shoulder? Does he have to see a specialist or anything?

"No, we've already told Danny, so Danny will be one of the guys going on IR. He'll be longer. Ray-Ray does have an outside chance, but still keeping our fingers crossed for it."

You guys ran out IR return spots last year. Do you have to approach using those differently maybe earlier this season than you did a year ago?

"You got to take it into account. You plan on being there the whole year. But when you sit and make too many plans for being somewhere at the end of the year and you mortgage that stuff at the beginning, sometimes you aren't there at the end of the year. So, you got to learn from that. I wish we had more last year. We ended up being about one short. I think that's why we had to make that decision on [DT Hassan] Ridgeway towards the end of the year. So yeah, hopefully we have better luck to where we can use all of ours and it's not an issue though."

You've fostered an environment here where the practice squad guys realize for lack of a better word, that they're part of the team. I think in some past years maybe sometimes there's kind of like, 'Oh, you're a practice squad' but it seems like here you use them and they're aware.

"Oh yes. I think practice squads are one of the most important things in an NFL building. I thank God we have 16 now instead of 10 that used to make it so much harder. But that's how you develop guys and that's usually your third string. You got guys who either you're one injury away and they're not on your practice squad anymore. It's really hard to just pull someone in off the street who's not on someone else's team to bring them in and get them ready on just a Wednesday, Thursday, Friday practice to play on Sunday. So you need guys that you're working with, guys you're developing and especially once they've allowed us to put vets on the practice squad, that allows certain receivers, DBs, pass rushers, everyone to where they're just one injury away and they're going to be a big part of our team come Week One."

Is LB Jalen Graham your backup MIKE right now?


Who is?

"You'd have to see if he got in. I can't tell Pittsburgh. You'd have to figure it out. But yeah, it's a secret."

How'd he looked like he was playing with the twos in the last game? How did he do in that role?

He did a good job, good enough to make the team."

The way people talked about CB D'Shawn Jamison early in camp, it seemed like her could make the roster, but obviously he didn't. Did he lose some momentum throughout the process?

"Yeah, he did a little bit. But definitely wish we could've kept him here, so I was bummed about that this morning."

Was your thought with QB Brandon Allen whether to let him try to get him through or did you think that he might get picked up?

"Yeah, we wish we could have, but we had pretty good knowledge that we think he would've got claimed. If there was a third quarterback out there you could put on your practice squad you felt as good with, then it wouldn't be an issue. But when he's going to get claimed and how he feel about him, it was important to keep him."

Were you surprised that OL Ilm Manning got claimed or you just didn't have a spot for him?

"No, we didn't have the numbers for him, but we thought we could get him on our practice squad. Arizona, I took a shot at a number of our guys. So we'll see how that works out."

So beyond the physical aspect of there's a defensive back that doesn't want you to reach the landmark, how much with him has been the discipline of not freelancing and just saying this is my job and I'm required to do this and I'm not going to mess around with it?

"It's not necessarily the discipline, it's not easy. People don't just not do that because they don't want to. Sometimes it's hard to move people that are in your way and you're not allowed to just go push them out of the way. So, there's certain things you have to get where sometimes you're vulnerable and you go past your landmark, which is a problem, but sometimes that makes people move so you can get back to your landmark. It's just different styles of how people play and I think someone must have told you that because I don't think you came up with landmarks on your own, but it is true. I mean, it's very important when you disperse an offense and you disperse five eligibles guys don't stack each other. It's pretty easy versus zone. It's imperative versus zone, but then you get man-to-man and people are jamming and stuff and different looks and you get pushed into certain areas and even if you beat your man, it's really irrelevant because you're running into other guys and the quarterback can't get you the ball. Also, our quarterbacks, we try not to get them to stare down routes. So, they have to be in a certain spot at a certain time kind of in the timing of when the quarterback is there. That's something that you're constantly talking with all eligibles on and even the O-line. There's a timing and rhythm to everything to get 11 guys to play together."

With WR Brandon Aiyuk, was it physically learning how to run routes?

"Yeah, just the experience of it being in different spots. I mean, when you've ran most of your routes from four yards outside the numbers, now you're running the exact same routes from four yards inside the numbers. Sometimes you're doing it with motion, sometimes you're snapping it by the tackle. Sometimes we move guys in the backfield to do it. There are just different angles to everything. Just like a corner who guards people outside the numbers all day and now he has to come in and guard people inside the numbers. You're moving differently. There's different ways to attack people. There's also other traffic spots. So how do you beat the guy in front of you but get over the extra linebacker inside. That's all just experience. Some guys are really natural at it. But it's one of the harder things in football."

You've had a ton going on at quarterback the last few years. I know you're not intentionally trying to have a lot of things going on, but you got Las Vegas Raiders QB Jimmy Garoppolo now commenting on it or Dallas Cowboys QB Trey Lance showing up in Dallas. Do you pay attention to any of that and do you think all that's over and are you relieved if you have this kind of rotating thing over with right now?

"I mean I try not to pay attention to outside of here. I try to deal with the people in here that I have to deal with. I have felt very good about that. I did see Trey. I was happy watching him actually while I was eating lunch with his press conference in Dallas and Trey is as real as it gets and that's how he talks in here. That's how he is every day. So, it's cool to see him handle that the right way and he did seem genuinely kind of happy and I feel he's in a good position to move on and do better there. Jimmy, the comments are the comments, I'm really not concerned about his comments."

Do you feel any relief? Do you sense that this kind of era of lots of changing is over?

"The era of changing is, when we got here, we waited 10 weeks and made a trade for a quarterback, played five games and then we made him the highest paid quarterback of all time at the time. Then he played two of the next five years and did really good in those two years. His injuries for three of those five years were legit. It was rough on him, rough on us. Then we made a move to go to a younger quarterback and that's what we did. We thought he'd be ready in two years and he wasn't. And now we have a different younger quarterback. So that's the situation."

Jimmy did say it's been a weird situation over here, obviously it's not the way you drew it up, but can you acknowledge it?

"I think anytime you trade up to the third pick in the draft and it doesn't work out, that's a weird situation, but that is the situation. So that's what happened. I don't think it's that weird. It's unusual that it doesn't work out, but I wouldn't think that's weird. I think that's unusual. What do you think?"

You look back at Jimmy at the fact that he said goodbye the day after that one season's over and all the things that happened with him physically, he comes back, he's on the side field and ends up re-signing and starting and it just seems like it's been unique.

"Do you remember why that happened?"

I remember why everything happened, but I'm just saying it's been a unique situation.

"I agree it's been unique."

General Manager John Lynch

Opening comments:

"A lot of tough decisions. Real happy with our 53-man roster where it sits. Real proud of the process. Everybody from our pro staff, just really clean. [Head coach] Kyle [Shanahan] and I sat down with every single player who we released or moved to our practice squad and really proud of the organization for handling a tough deal. It's tough on those players. They put their heart and soul into it. It doesn't work out for every one of them, but we also let these guys know that this isn't the final 53, it's our 53 right now. And I love the practice squad as it stands now. One good byproduct of COVID getting that thing up to 16. It really serves as our developmental league. And gives the opportunity to have some vets that are ready to play, to have some developmental guys that you want to pour more time into because their talent and make up warrants it. So, we're excited about this team."

Do you see you guys carrying three quarterbacks on the 53 throughout the season?

"That's where we're at right now and we like them all. So, happy with that group, happy with the depth of it. Happy with the quality of it and excited about that."

As far as kicker, has it been harder to bring a guy in knowing that it's just a short-term job for that guy and that there's so many other teams looking for kickers out there?

"I had no idea there were this many kickers out there. I've got more texts from people who kicked at one point in their life, pop warner to very accomplished kickers. So, that process has been good as well. [K] Jake Moody's tracking well. His recovery's going well, but we'll be prepared for anything."

There's been a bunch of conflicting reports. Is there any percentage chance that you guys would consider trading DE Nick Bosa?

"No. Real simple."

Are you going to have more tryouts for kickers or workouts for kickers or are you settled on one guy?

"We've got some things in motion, some people traveling here, and I think we'll have something here probably early next week."

Is there any update with Nick?

"No. No updates."

When you said Friday night there's still a lot of hard work to do, it did not appear sound as if a deal with Nick was imminent. Has some of that work been completed? Is there more progress?

"No updates. I'm going to stick to that, but communication, and that's a good thing. So, I'll leave it at that."

Are you surprised at all that it's taking this long?

"Yeah, but that's where it's at."

Outside of Nick, in that room, how do you feel about your other edge rushing options, especially if this reaches the point where you really need to rely on them?

"I really like the group. For you guys to know, we announced, I think Kyle talked about [WR] Danny Gray going to IR, [DL] Robert Beal [Jr.] will as well. He's coming off a hamstring that he re-injured. We thought the best thing for Robert, he's a guy we really like and are excited to work for, but we've got to get that thing right. To qualify for the short term, he had to make our 53. He's a guy who showed a lot and we're thrilled about the prospect of working with him going forward, but we've got to get him back so that he's ready. So, we'll go through that process. [DL] Drake Jackson has had a tremendous offseason and we're very excited to see that come to fruition on the field. Cle, [DL] Clelin Ferrell, he's a fit, he's a Niner. The way he plays, how he plays, his talents, his skillset, he plays hard, all those things. We're excited about him. [DL] Kerry Hyder [Jr.] is just a pro's pro, always in the right place. He's a good football player. [DL] Austin Bryant is another guy who's a very good scheme fit that we identified. Very excited about him moving forward."

You placed TE Cameron Latu on IR. Is this a season-long injury?

"Yeah, he didn't make the 53, so that's a season-long deal for him. A season-long thing. He did not make the 53, so now he doesn't qualify to return. He's likely going to have a surgical procedure to fix a mechanical issue in his knee. The good news is Cam got better throughout camp and we're very excited about him moving forward, but this is going to be a year of growth for him and he's got to embrace that we've got to be on point in setting him up for success."

You expect you'll hold onto him?

"Oh, yeah. Yeah. We're excited about Cam."

You have had a lot going on at quarterback three, four, maybe more years than that. Do you have a sense of that's over now? Do you have a sense with the way things are set up that that kind of drama is over?

"You know, I wouldn't call it drama, I just call it what has transpired. One thing I've learned in this business is it's never over. I mean, it's ongoing. I like what we have at the quarterback room. I mentioned that earlier both in the quality and the depth. And I'm excited about the group moving forward."

Did it sting to lose CB D'Shawn Jamison?

"It did. A lot of the guys, Jamison, [OL] Ilm Manning, those are good players. Our guys did a great job identifying them. Our process worked, good football players. A lot of competition though. Some teams saw fit to put them on their 53. You always run that risk. We kept a lot of good players here too, that we're excited about."

Kyle was saying that your first couple of years here when you put the 53 together, leaned more towards long-term, kind of the big picture, what they could be. And that maybe has changed a little bit now. How do you view that in terms of trying to balance out, 'we have to get guys who can help us now, but we also don't want to lose somebody who long term could be good?'

"I think the 53 and then I think the practice squad helps with that too. To be able to keep two vets, for instance, at wide receiver like [WR] Chris Conley and [WR] Willie Snead IV, those guys are battle-tested, they've played, they're ready, they've gone out and impressed. I think that's a perfect group. Then you've got young guys like [WR] Tay Martin and [WR Isaiah] Winstead that you want to pour into and see if we can pull that talent out. So more developmental. I think that that's a great illustration, that position right there, that it's a combination of both."

The ability to put veterans on the practice squad since COVID, has that kind of elevated the importance of the roster to the younger guys on practice squad who may think 'I'm kind of a second-tier guy', whereas now they might not, because if they have a guy like Snead who's out there on the practice squad with you, you wouldn't think that anymore.

"Well, if you notice, I think the vets that are on these practice squads, they're tone setters. There's a reason they're still around. And I know that's a tough thing for them not to make the 53, but to have a viable option where they feel like, and then the thing is, these guys get flexed. It's not as if it's static. I mean, they've got the opportunity to get flexed and they will be. And so, I'm excited for those guys and, and they share that excitement."

What was your evaluation of K Jake Moody before he got hurt? And is there a chance that he was hurt before and maybe that affected some of those kicks?

"You know, you always worry about that with rookies. They're new to a place, a lot of pressure in his situation. I think he did a good job of communicating though when, you know, I think at first he thought it was fatigue, it turned out to be a little more than that. And I'm just glad he talked with the trainers. We were able to address it, and now he's on the path to getting better. I still believe we've got a rare talent at that position who's going to be our answer there for a long, long time."

Kyle cited some numbers as far as the number of throws that QB Brock Purdy, it was designed for. He said 700 per week and this week kind of taper back to 350. Is that accurate?

"Yeah, we're calling it a de-load week. He went through a lot to get through camp and he needed to do that. This was all part of a previous plan. This week was going to be set up for, let's freshen it back up and give him the opportunity to go into the season as fresh as he can be. I'm thrilled with Brock, thrilled with our staff and all the people that helped him in an excellent recovery. And this is just another step in that. The great news is, I don't have a crystal ball, but I would imagine he will go into next week feeling a lot better just because the volume was reduced on him this week. And it's all part of the plan."

Are you in a position now with your salary cap to where you're going to have the in-season flexibility that you want? And will getting Nick done help that for 2023? Is that a piece of that equation?

"I hope that's part of the equation. We're in a good spot there. We're good there and, you know, I always want to be pressing that window and we certainly are. But, we've got enough room to be able to do some things if need be."

Things change on the fly so much in the NFL. Are you, I don't know if amazed is the right word, that with Brock, everything seemed to go perfectly? I mean, from the time that he got this surgery to the plan that he had, and Brock had told us that it's never deviated from it. It's just like exactly the way it's down on paper.

"I think the only hurdles were early on right before the surgery being delayed, and it was a tight timeline to start, so that felt like a big deal at the time. But, he overcame that. And in order to do that, it almost had to go without a setback. He never had a setback. And oftentimes in these things, there's some natural, 'oh, you got sore today,' that never happened. And so, I think that's a real positive thing. I think it speaks to first and foremost, Brock and the good Lord gave him a good set of gene that heals fast, and then he's a worker, and he'll stick to a plan and he'll challenge the plan and he was very invested, took ownership in the plan and saw it to fruition. It's not done yet. It continues as evidenced by what we're doing with him this week. And we think it puts him in great position just to go play football, starting Week 1 against Pittsburgh."

Defensive coordinator Steve Wilks has talked about the idea of having two nickels. A bigger nickel. A smaller nickel. Does that concern you that there's not one guy who's taken hold of that position going into the season?

"I think optionality is always a good thing. And you know, I think a lot of people like [CB] Isaiah Oliver, you know, a shaky preseason or whatever, I don't see it as that. I see a player who's adjusting to the way we play and we're very excited about Isaiah. I think Isaiah brings some unique skillset to the nickel position with his length and abilities. He also has some flex to play safety when we get in a pinch. So, you're always looking for optionality, versatility at positions. And you know, you've seen what we've done with [CB] Ambry [Thomas] moving him to the outside nickel and [CB Deommodore Lenoir] Demo Lenoir being able to go inside. I think those things are all good. My experience is you'll need them all at some point during the season and that position. It's good to have some depth and I think we have good depth at that position."

You added a corner from Green Bay. What can you tell us about him and the process that led you guys to him?

"Yeah, again a guy who's got some traits, but I would say a couple of things, Larry. I think outside inside versatility, plays some nickel, plays some outside, has some speed, and a very good special team player. And when you're going to be vying to be a flex or be developed, that special team's value is really huge. And we felt like our pro guys did a real good job of identifying him and then selling him on our opportunity."

Former NFL quarterbacks have talked about the chaos of playing the position and so much is coming at you and obviously we talked about Purdy's poise and that he just seems to be at peace with all that chaos. Was that, I mean, among other things, I guess most surprising thing about what he did last year?

"Yeah. I've got a great [former 49ers head coach] Bill Walsh book that sits up in my desk, up in my shelves, up in my office. He's got a great chapter on that, being able to function with chaos all around you, that's what you're looking for at that position. So, Brock does that very well. He's a quick processor, a smart processor, makes really good decisions. I would say the thing that probably surprised me most, his ability to extend, his athleticism. I thought he did that a lot in addition to, because at some point the pocket's going to break down in this league, the D-Lines are just getting too good, the athletes are too good. And you know, at some point you have to have that ability. So, I think most surprising for me was that ability, because you did see, you never know how it's going to translate, but right away we saw the poise, the quick decision making. Probably what surprised me most was his ability to extend and make plays on his own."

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