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Kyle Shanahan, Brock Purdy, Steve Wilks preview 49ers-Giants Week 3 matchup

Sep 19, 2023 at 4:33 PM--

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San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan, quarterback Brock Purdy, and defensive coordinator Steve Wilks spoke with reporters on Tuesday, as the team prepares for its Week 3 matchup against the New York Giants. Here is everything they had to say.

Transcripts provided by the San Francisco 49ers Communications staff.

Head Coach Kyle Shanahan

Opening comments:

[WR Brandon Aiyuk] B.A with the shoulder will be limited and [CB] Ambry Thomas with the knee will be limited. Go ahead."

Is Aiyuk you trending in the right direction?

"Enough to be limited."

That's in the right direction, right?

"Yeah, I think so."

What do you have to see from him? I'm assuming it'll be a game time decision. What's the plan for Thursday with him before the game?

"Just that the trainers and him himself tell me that he can go."

Is this a walkthrough today basically, or is it anything like a real practice?

"No, it's always walkthrough on Thursdays. We go out for a walkthrough, do that, we come in, we watch it, and then we go out again for a second walkthrough later."

The other day when you talked about the workload with RB Christian McCaffrey and RB Elijah Mitchell, is that a conversation you have to have with Elijah or he gets it?

"I haven't yet, though it can be like that sometimes. The week before I think Elijah got in for 10 plays, which was closer. We still did it more than that last year, but I wasn't expecting him not to get in at all. So, when I see him, I'll say something to him."

You talked about how much you saw from QB Brock Purdy last year and the Thursday Night game in Seattle and battling through the injury. Why was that so meaningful for you in terms of being able to project what he could be for you moving forward?

"It was just the situation we were in was so unique to where he was our third, we were down to our third string quarterback at the time. And then when he had that bad injury just bringing in [Former QB] Josh [Johnson] from another team and everything on a short week and stuff. It was just so different not having the guys that have been here. So, to give him all that time up to kickoff, we probably wouldn't have, if we had been in a different situation where guys had been in our building and played longer. But we had to give him every moment. Just what he pulled off, we didn't think he was going to be able to play and then for him to be able to do it and then play the way that he did play was so impressive."

Is that one of those things that you don't know what someone's made of until they can actually show it to you?

"Yeah, kind of. You got an idea just watching them. You got an idea hanging around them. But those are moments that I don't think, I don't I want to say necessarily what they're made of. I think he's proven that a lot, but I think guys don't know what they're capable of pulling off till they get into those positions and Brock is going to pull off anything he can. That's what was cool talking to him that whole week because he is not a guy who just tells you what you want to hear, like, 'Yes coach, I'll be ready. I'm fine.' And then they get to the game and they're not ready. Brock was honest with us all week and I knew there was times he didn't think he'd be able to and he was going to be honest with us. But when it got close to kick off, he was like, 'Hey, I think I could do this. Let me try.' Then he tried. As the first quarter went, he gained confidence and so did we as it went."

We know WR Deebo Samuel came up here in the summer and said he was disappointed with his season previously. We know that you might have had a meeting with him. Did you start that process? Did Deebo come to you to kind of go back over the last season? How did that all kind of begin?

"Deebo comes to talk a lot, but I'd say I started that conversation a little bit. I had spent a lot more of the offseason here. So, I'd been going through the tape for five months straight and Deebo missed phase one and two and came in phase three. So, it was the first time I got to see him in a while. And we had a lot of stuff to catch up on. Usually you review all that stuff earlier on, but since he missed that, we waited till then. And it was a very positive, good conversation. It wasn't hard or anything, but it was a very real conversation. That's what I love about Deebo so much because he's an extremely real person and if you talk to him the right way and you show him stuff, he's not going to B.S. us or himself. And I didn't expect him to come have that reaction with you guys a couple hours later. But I was very pleased with the result."

He might have been disappointed he wasn't a captain last year, but how significant and do you think the team, the players were reacting to what they saw from him in the offseason to make him a captain this year?

"I think so. I didn't ask them personally, but I know he was close to that the year before and didn't get it. I didn't know that it would bother him. He didn't really let me know that, but after I could tell it kind of did. I think he wanted it more than I realized. So I kind of had an idea he was disappointed last year. I thought it was really cool when I got those votes that the team had voted for him because they didn't the year before, even though it was close. And I think it was because of his training camp, how he came to training camp, the way he handled himself, not just on practice but everywhere. And I think it was a very genuine vote by all the players."

You've had to take into account Pittsburgh Steelers LB T.J. Watt and Los Angeles Rams DL Aaron Donald the first two games. So what strikes you about the Giants defense going into this one?

"There's people every week, T.J. from the edge and Aaron from inside. They got as good of inside players here too. [New York Giants DT] Dexter Lawrence it's our first time really seeing him, but just watching the last 24 hours, he's as good as advertised. [New York Giants DE] Leonard Williams has always been a great player. Both of their edges are good also. So they got a very good front end. Similar challenges the last two weeks."

How does Deebo through two games look different than Deebo of last season?

"He's in much better condition. He had a much better training camp. He was able to get through it all and get better throughout it. Last year he had some setbacks coming in, wasn't able to go through training camp and kind of was in and out throughout the whole year. And now it's just like camp. He's in the best shape, doesn't have to come out as much, doesn't have to take as many plays off and is playing as good as I've seen him play."

What are your early returns on your interior pass rush with DL Javon Hargrave and DL Arik Armstead and obviously DT Javon Kinlaw?

"I thought in the second half it got going, not just with our defensive line but our secondary with it. I thought the Rams came out, and really, we gave them a lot of hope there in the first half. Their offense kind of controlled the ball. I think it was all three series that they scored on. That second half I was real proud of our guys. Usually when you give an offense a lot of hope like that and the confidence, it gets only harder. But our guys came out, I thought our coverages got tighter and we caught a couple more pressures too, which put a little pressure on them. But once that started happening, I thought every guy, everybody started making guys miss, making [Los Angeles Rams QB Matthew] Stafford get rid of the ball a little bit earlier. And I think it led to a couple turnovers."

As a former receiver, what's your thoughts on Los Angeles Rams WR Puka Nacua and how did you feel about the way you guys defended him in this last game?

"He was great. He's a really good football player. We liked him a lot coming out of college. I think I compared him to [WR] Jauan [Jennings] a little bit last week. Just the energy he plays with, how tough he is, seeing him in person, he was a little bit bigger than I realized on tape, even though we knew he was big. But just the way he did it all game, the stamina he had, how hard he played and that's why Stafford got a lot of confidence as he went. We gave him a little bit too much room. That's why we had to tighten up as the game went on."

Two questions on Brock Purdy. Just before halftime where there was one second left, should he have skid the ball at McCaffrey's feet on that instead of sailing it?

"Hopefully, yeah. It did make us a little nervous. It was too good of a throwaway."

Is he supposed to just throw it in the ground?

"No, you got throw it away to where you don't get a penalty, so it's got to pass the line of scrimmage and stuff like that. But it's just when all you're doing is watching that clock and hoping that they don't screw you in any way. Especially being on the road, usually it goes to zero and then you got to have people look at it and put it back to one. But it was at one, I was just nervous that it was close enough that they were going to try to go to zero and see if the refs could correct it."

On that same drive, the 20-yard completion to Jennings where he threw it and Jauan had his back to him still, has he progressed in that area as far as trusting those type of throws since his rookie year?

"No, I think he's doing the same. It just depends on what type of game we're in. That was a play that we usually to that spot last verse zone and you're hoping that everyone's covered everyone else, and you sneak this guy out the backside. We've done it a lot over the years. But they played man-to-man and the nickel followed him the whole time. So by the time Brock got to him, which he's three in the progression, you're trying to sneak him out there and you look to him, the ball's got to go and he wasn't man. So he gave a tight ball placement, gave him an opportunity and very similar to the opportunity he gave B.A. on the go route versus Pittsburgh. Those are 50/50 balls and both of our guys have come down with it this year."

That play with six seconds, the second to last play. Is there a specific play that you have that you know is supposed to take only four or five seconds that you call for situations?

"Not a specific play, but there's all types of plays. You just know you have the time for number one and if number one's not there, don't mess around. Those are ozone situations we call. It's got to be out of bounds or in the end zone or the game's over, or in that case the half's over. And when your play's not there, if you do it quicker, you get two shots. And that's something we told him with all three plays."

What kind of a challenge does New York Giants QB Daniel Jones present?

"Huge challenge. It starts with his legs. Anytime you have that speed and you can run the ball like he does. They're willing to run him. He's willing to run. He's physical when he runs. He's got the skillset to run away from people. So anytime you have a quarterback like that, the challenge that does just schematically, unlocking your defense and making you have to play a certain way is always a pain. And then he's got the ability to play in the pocket and beat you that way too. So he's getting better each year. We've all really loved him coming out and I think one of the main reasons he took them to the playoffs last year. He played really unbelievable there in that second half on Sunday."

From a preparation standpoint, how tough is it Thursday? Do you just feel really rushed?

"Yes, you feel extremely rushed. I saw the players a few hours ago and it was the first time I saw them. I told them it was Wednesday morning and by the end of our first meeting, it was Thursday is kind of how we explained it. Tomorrow morning is Friday but by 10 o'clock it's the day before the game. So, it's weird. We're throwing four days into two days, as a coaching staff we throw two days into one day. So it's kind of a "something" show as we do it, but then it's about retaining it when it slows down. We've got to put them all through it, the players. So we just throw it all at them, we go on and walk through it twice, we go watch it. Then it'll slow down at night when they leave. But that's usually about sleeping and catching up. Then tomorrow kind of when you get to the hotel it's like now it's normal even though it's not. But now it's Saturday night and slow it down a little bit. I always love that Thursdays are night games because I think it's important on the day of the game to kind of review your whole week, which is the day before on all the stuff that came in so you don't hesitate in the game."

Hargrave made a play where it almost looked like he was going to take the handoff in the first half. Did he just beat a guy off the line or did he not block him and he had the impact that you'd hoped you have through two games?

"Yeah, he's a problem. Stafford did a good job getting rid of the ball when he was there which I do think affects him and makes him rush it and makes you lose confidence as the game goes on how long you can hold onto it. But they just busted on their O-line and he shot the gap fast and he had a choice for the quarterback or the running back and he chose the wrong one. But he almost took the handoff, so it's always tough in that situation, which one to pick."

What do you guys like about CB Anthony Brown to sign him today?

"Just playing against him, his experience. We've had some injuries here, especially the DB position and stuff. We want to make sure that we have a guy ready to go in case we have some more. I loved him. We all loved him in Dallas. We know he has been here at Pittsburgh working with those guys and just feel fortunate to get him here right now."

What's your offensive line looking after the first two weeks in your opinion?

"Solid, good enough for us to win. But like every other position on our team, we're still not there yet. Just trying to improve with each game we get."

I know you wore his jersey, but have you seen any of University of Colorado Boulder Deion Sanders and how he's doing? Do you have any thoughts on just what he's done in this role as a head coach?

"Yeah, it has been fun to watch. It's been really cool. You never know how it's going to work out with them just going there and the whole transfer rules and stuff, which I don't even understand. Hopefully I won't ever have to. You don't know how it's going to work, but he is just fun to watch. Just everyone being such a fan of him growing up and then how cool he is now. But really what made it real was just watching their first game. That was the week before we started and I was actually just hanging out at the house and I got to watch them versus TCU and to watch how their team played was the coolest thing. Everyone knows how cool Deion is. But we always talk about the silent tape and how a team looks and to watch those dudes come out and battle and how hard they played and the confidence they had, that was what made it so fun to watch. And I'm from Colorado, my wife went there, best man at my wedding went there. I'm not a big fan of there. I'm a Longhorn. But they're actually making some of us like CU right now. Even we got a lot of CSU guys in our office and last week they even admitted that CU is pretty cool right now. Then last week we finished, it was a night game, so when we were done with our meetings we had to see the fourth quarter in my hotel room, their backs were against the wall and they stepped it up and got it done. So it's been cool to watch. Fun for sports and probably got the most hype team going on right now, so can't get mad about that."

Defensive Coordinator Steve Wilks

Opening comments:

"Trying to get ready for this Thursday night game, facing a good football team that just came off a very impressive win against the Arizona Cardinals. Just showed really their resilience and how they fought back. Got a lot of respect for the coach, I've known him for a long time. He's definitely going to have these guys prepared and ready to play as you saw what they were capable of doing last week. And again, quick turnaround, we're getting ready to go out on the field now in just a second, trying to get the guys acclimated to some of the things that we know we're going to see Thursday night. But I always say this particular week is all about us fundamentally and what we can do with a quick turnaround and just making sure that we take care of our business and being detailed in the things that we ask the guys to do. And with that, I'll take your questions."

How challenging is it to face New York Giants QB Daniel Jones and the zone-read in particular on a quick turnaround?

"He's very challenging, extremely athletic, does a great job with that format and that offense. They love to run the zone-read as you mentioned. That's part of [New York Giants head coach Brian] Daboll's offense. He did the same thing in Buffalo with [Buffalo Bills QB Josh] Allen. So, it's definitely something that we're going to see. It's definitely something that we put on tape during preseason, so we've definitely got to be prepared for it."

What's the process been like for you to just be up in the booth calling the past two games and just getting a feel for your guys and what positions to put them in, which buttons to push? Is it just a year-long process or do you get more kind of in the focus of what you expect out of your guys?

"Well, I think it's going to constantly be evolving throughout the year, but I don't think it's going to take, if I'm following your question correctly, a season to get a feel for what we want to do. I think you get a feel throughout the course of the game, and I think you saw that the second half and the adjustments that we made when we came out. With our defensive line, I try to allow those guys to settle in and go play. I try not to do a lot, but it turned into a game that [Los Angeles Rams QB Matthew] Stafford was getting rid of the ball quickly. So, you didn't really see the effect of what we are capable of doing up front because they didn't have an opportunity to do that. So, I had to adjust to be able to give those guys time. And the only way you can give them time is to get stickier in coverage on the backend."

The fact that you ended up having to dial up more blitzes, which I assume ideally you want to just get pressure with four. I mean, is Stafford one of the few quarterbacks in the NFL that can force this defense to make that type of adjustment?

"I think he's a seasoned vet. I think he understands and knows where he wants to go with the ball. He does a great job in getting the ball out quickly and does a tremendous job in looking you off at times. So again, I think we can do a better job, as we did in the second half, in tightening things up. And that starts with me. And then also I think when you get a guy of that caliber you can't show your hand all the time. You've got to make him guess post-snap by showing him one thing pre-snap."

Do you prep for New York Giants RB Saquon Barkley? And do you think they'll look the same with New York Giants RB Gary Brightwell or New York Giants RB Eric Gray or New York Giants RB Matt Breida?

"I think the offense and what he wants to do is going to be consistent. Barkley, it's disappointing for him that he's out. But, I think all those guys are capable. But, when you really look at their offense, I think the question started earlier with the zone-read. I mean, that to me is their run game and what he's capable of doing, not only from that point but also just scrambling, buying time in the pocket and doing things with his feet."

With CB Isaiah Oliver, do you feel on Sunday that he took a step forward in this defense and it's more indicative of what you're looking for?

"I think all you guys can answer that question in the plays that he made out there, particularly that third down tackle, I think was phenomenal. Open-field tackle and that was huge at that point in time of the game. He came up with an interception, you can see just his length and the way he grabbed the ball out of the air. And then the fourth down play where he shot the gap. I couldn't be more proud of him and how he's stayed the course. You know, we moved some things around, he didn't waver, he didn't blink kept working hard and it paid off for him."

Tightening up the coverage, is it just getting the outside coverage a little tighter or are there other things involved with that?

"No, it's different. When we play certain zone coverages and the receiver splits are tight, we don't get down in press because a lot of times if you sit here and run the ball now they're getting two for one, they've got edges on you. So, it's a give and take, and it's a flow of the game that you got to get a feel for. And that's what I did. And once I got a feel for the game, I adjusted on the backend to allow our guys to have our opportunity to get a little stickier in coverage. So, it's mostly with the corners."

This defense has had a bit of an issue containing scrambling quarterbacks for years spanning multiple coordinators. What's the key to containing a scrambling quarterback? What makes it so difficult?

"I think number one, we've just got to maintain our rush lanes. I think sometimes that our guys and that position itself is just so aggressive and all of a sudden you're trying to tell those guys to slow down and that's not what they do naturally. So, we've just got to be able to again, with our different stunts that we want to call up front, allow us to be able to clog the rush lanes so he has nowhere to step up. And then once again just trying to be tight on the backend to make him hold the football."

Oliver just said in the locker room, obviously as a competitor, you want to be known as the first-string nickel corner and that be that. And so, he wasn't amused by that not quite being the case. It seems like he has handled that process well. I mean, has he been professional about it?

"Total class, total class guy, handled it the right way. That was the first thing I said after the game that it could have gone differently. But he didn't complain, just went out each and every day, did his job, and when the opportunity came, he stepped up and made plays so very proud of his performance."

The defensive ends in particular with the mobile quarterback, do you have to remind them don't rush past the quarterback or does that go without saying?

"It somewhat goes without saying. We always use the term the depth of the QB and being able to step up and come underneath. So again, Daniel is extremely mobile. He does some great things, again, with the zone-read and buying time, getting outside of the pocket. Big boot team, trying to give him the option to get on the perimeter. If it's not there, then he's going to win with his legs. So, we've got to do a great job containing him this week."

What's your read on DL Nick Bosa and how he feels he's done the first two games and I guess how hungry he is to go after Daniel Jones?

"Well, I think you'd probably have to ask him and he'll tell you he's definitely not satisfied with where he is. But as a coach understanding that he wasn't here all offseason and to come in and take 32 snaps in the first game, I believe it was, and play last week. So, it's going to come. You saw the effort there, you saw the push across the board with those guys. Again, Stafford was getting rid of the ball so fast so I think it's only a time, only a matter of time."

The Niner fan base in L.A. Can you talk about that?

"I can talk about them when they came to Carolina last year. We travel well."

QB Brock Purdy

How does a short week like this mess with your preparation to get fully ready for the next opponent?

"You've sort of just got to jam pack installs and your days all together. You've got two days really. For us, really today, you do your base, first and second down and third down, put it all together, go through a couple walkthroughs and meetings and you're just trying to pack everything in within a couple days and then being able to get your body right to play on Thursday. So, it's different. The preparation is just, it's more intense for both teams. You don't get four or five days of preparation to lengthen everything out. You have two days to put it all together and roll."

How different is it this time for you going through it without having to deal with broken ribs?

"A lot better I'd say. Obviously, yes, treating my body and everything, making sure I feel fresh for Thursday. But, last year the main focus was will I be able to throw come Thursday? Obviously, I didn't throw a ball for four days or three days, whatever it was up until the game day. So now it's like, all right, now I can hone into the plays, the details of the operations of the offense, all that stuff. Not worrying about the broken rib."

Was there a point in that game where you ever didn't feel pain or felt comfortable or was it just pain all the time?

"I would say yeah, I was definitely not comfortable the whole game. For four quarters, I felt it for sure. But yeah, we were able to pull it out."

Along the lines of preparation, head coach Kyle Shanahan said last year he didn't have any time to treat you with kid gloves or kind of ease you into things. Now that you've had an offseason, albeit one marred by injury and having to deal with rehab and stuff, how much more is he putting on your plate from compared to where you started?

"I feel like last year we were rolling as a team. [Las Vegas Raiders QB] Jimmy [Garoppolo] was doing great and he was doing what he did with Jimmy and what he's always done with Jimmy. Just in turn in terms of the install, how our offense looked, what plays we're going to run. And so once I got in, it was really the same. It was like, we're going to continue to roll and see how I do with that. And so, moving into this year, honestly, it's been, I'd say, fairly similar. He knows that I can handle what he's had with Jimmy the last couple years and what we did last year. Nothing really changed. And so that's really how it's been this year. There hasn't been a drastic change of, 'Alright, we're going to add more to his plate since he's playing more or anything like that.' It's been about the same. That's how this offense has rolled and that's how we've done it."

How were you able to just roll into it last year? What about your background, what about yourself personally allowed you to handle that kind of responsibility from the get-go?

"I feel like, the four years obviously at Iowa State of playing, the day-to-day, week-to-week basis of studying and how to prepare and all that kind of stuff. And then obviously last year being the backup, knowing that I'll probably only get one opportunity at this thing, if I do get an opportunity just with the circumstances of being drafted last and all that kind of thing. So for me, it was always like be ready for it and I studied and prepared every single week as if I was starting and when I ended up going in I was ready for that opportunity. So, nothing has changed since."

On that touchdown drive just before halftime, you had that 20-yard completion to WR Jauan Jennings over the middle. He had his back to you when you let it go, you had a guy coming on a blitz. You talked about timing and trust in this offense, you made similar type throws last year, but is that more comfortable now for you or just more instinctual, natural?

"Probably a combination of both. Obviously, the landmarks, the routes, the concepts, I feel like I have a better grasp of where the guys are supposed to be. Obviously, a year under our belt of experience together with B.A. [WR Brandon Aiyuk], [WR] Deebo [Samuel], Jauan, [TE] George [Kittle], sort of knowing and understanding their cuts. It matters. But also, in the heat of the moment, there's a guy coming through the B-gap untouched, and I have to drift a little bit and I know and trust Jauan's going to be 12 to 14 yards breaking in at this angle. I feel like it's both, it's a combination of both to answer your question."

It sounds easy, you just trust it. But as a quarterback sometimes it's like, 'oh crap, he's not looking at me, I'm throwing the ball?'

"Yeah, it's real. The anticipation, the trust, it's real, it's part of this position, it's part of football. You can't always throw when a guy breaks and he is wide open. that's just not how the league works. Windows close fast and you have to be on point, you have to anticipate guys and where they're supposed to be per coverage, per concept. So that's something that we work on and we take very seriously here. It's part of our offense being able to throw before guys break and whatnot."

Was the coaching point made of when the clock went down to one second that maybe you should have thrown the ball lower or faster into the ground rather than just loft it?

"Yeah, Kyle had told me before like, 'hey, it's touchdown or throw it away, we want to have some time on the clock to at least think about going for it on the one again or kick a field goal and get some points.' That was what was said to me in the moment. I was going to the flat, wasn't there and I was like, maybe I should run, but in my head I was like, no, I have to get this ball out. Could I have done it quicker? For sure. But I understood how much time we had on the clock and we were good enough to have one more play in us."

Can you describe the energy and juice you get even if your body maybe isn't physically there that you can use to your advantage on a Thursday night, on a short week?

"Obviously, I feel like as a quarterback, whether you're hurt or not, you just have to go in, do your job, you have to do your part for the offense. You get the ball every snap, you have to either make sure you're in the right play, hit the guys that are open, but at the end of the day it's like, man, how can you create momentum and juice for your team to get first downs, to get points up on the board and to create momentum for your whole team as a whole. Defense to get some stops. Let's go get some points on the board and then win. So, whether you're hurt or not, I feel like there's always a way to create some momentum and juice for your team. And last year, I feel like when we played Seattle, I was able to learn that lesson pretty quick just in terms of I wasn't feeling great but had to do what it takes to win, especially late in the season and every game is crucial for us."

As far as some of those deep throws you missed that you obviously want back, how do you assess and self-correct without being hypercritical of yourself and keeping your confidence?

"As a quarterback you want to play perfect. Is that a real thing? Can you play perfect? I don't know. You're going to mess up, obviously, but for myself, I hold myself to a standard, this whole offense, this team holds ourselves to a certain standard. And so for me, I have to watch the film, learn from it, get out at practice and rep it to build that confidence again that hey, we can hit those, those shots and those opportunities. We've done it in the past and it's something that you learn from but not dwell on and let it affect your game moving forward. So that's where I'm at with that and I'm excited to get going for Thursday."

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By David Bonilla
Nov 23

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy has been impressing with his recent performances, leading all NFL quarterbacks in various categories. However, many still doubt his status among the NFL's elite. Following a dominating Thanksgiving win over the Seattle Seahawks to conclude their November slate of games, even Purdy's skeptics are beginning to acknowledge the 23-year-old's potential to lead the 49ers to a Super Bowl victory. After Thursday's game, head coach Kyle Shanahan fielded questions from reporters, including whether he would categorize Purdy as elite and if he considers the player a Super Bowl-caliber quarterback. Shanahan initially hesitated in his response,


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