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Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Shanahan previews 49ers-Bengals Week 8 matchup

Oct 25, 2023 at 5:12 PM--

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San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan spoke with reporters before Wednesday's practice, as the team prepares for its Week 8 matchup against the Cincinnati Bengals. Here is everything he had to say.

Transcript provided by the San Francisco 49ers Communications staff.

Opening comments:

"Practice today: [WR] Deebo [Samuel] same thing, shoulder, won't practice, [T] Trent Williams ankle won't practice, [LB Dre] Greenlaw is having a vet day, and then [QB] Brock Purdy, new one for you guys, he's in the protocol. So go ahead."

When did that happen with Brock?

"In the game."

You don't know like at what point?

"Oh, he started getting symptoms on the plane. So we found that out when we landed. We were all pretty asleep. Then he got all checked up yesterday and now he's in the protocol."

Does he have enough time to clear protocol in order to be available for the game on Sunday?

"Oh yeah, he does have enough time. Just, he's got to go through the process."

When you watch the film, where do you think it was? The quarterback sneaks maybe?

"Possibly. We don't know for sure because he didn't start getting it until the plane. So I don't know exactly, but I'd probably guess that."

Can you tell at all, I guess, when you're coaching on the sidelines, you're relaying, did you kind of sense anything like that? I know that you have an independent neurologist who's supposed to be looking for that, but as a coach, did you--?

"No, I mean because I don't get to talk to him when I'm calling plays in. But on the sidelines a couple of those series, nothing with [quarterbacks coach Brian] Griese hearing it. I know after the game he talked to you guys and [vice president of football communications] Corry [Rush], so it's kind of a surprise when I woke up on the plane."

Is there anything on film you saw that would suggest he wasn't himself in retrospect?

"Not really."

On the broadcast ESPN broadcaster Troy Aikman said that Brock told him that his arm isn't 100-percent yet. Is that a conversation you've had with Brock because he told you that?


LB Fred Warner said the other night that he'd like to see the mental toughness of the team go up. Is that something you feel like's been lacking in the last couple of games?

"I don't know. I wouldn't say mental toughness. I just go by what I see in the game and I think we've been in the reality of the NFL the last two weeks, where the reality in the NFL is every game's, most of the games are decided by one score. And we've been in two of those in our last two games and we've had the ball within one score at the end and haven't gotten it done. I think when you look before that, I think out of our previous 15 games, I think there's only three games that weren't double digit wins. So I think we're getting more into the reality of the league and we've lost both of those games. And when it comes to one score, you look at the top team in the league and the bottom team in the league and usually those guys are in a lot of one-score games. It's who comes out with more wins and we're 0-2 in those right now."

Obviously QB Sam Darnold's going to be taking the reps here until Brock comes back. Does your thinking as far as game planning change at all if Sam were to play and just what's your level of confidence as far as what you've seen from Sam since the beginning of training camp to this point?

"I have as much confidence in Sam as I could have with someone that I haven't gone into a real NFL game with. He was great in the offseason. He's been great here in these seven weeks so far and he's always ready to go. He's great in the meetings and stuff. He doesn't get many reps, as no backups do, but he does it well on the scout team, he's always good in the meetings. We got mainly walk-through today, so Brock's allowed to do some of the walk-through. We've got a couple periods that aren't, so Sam will get those periods."

And Brock's allowed to at least get on the field?

"For walk-through, yeah."

Is there a day he'd have to clear by from your perspective for him to start?

"Yeah, nothing's my perspective."

I mean if he's not clear by Friday, would you say he hasn't practiced? Do you do that?

"No, I mean, Brock didn't take a practice versus Seattle in Thursday Night football until pre-game warmups and he had to shut those down a little bit too. So he didn't really get a real rep that week until play one and he played pretty good. So, we'll probably stick with that."

Is he feeling better today than he was yesterday?


Where's Trent in recovery? Did you factor in playing on the surface for last weekend?

"Yes, the surface and the quick turnaround. I think Trent could've been out there. We don't know if he would've made it through it and he wouldn't have been out there close to 100-percent. He probably wouldn't have made it through it and that would've meant he had no chances this week. So, hopefully he has a better chance to get there this week."

Is there a chance you could practice tomorrow even?

"Yeah, there's a chance. Hopefully he'll be out there."

RB Christian McCaffrey, he's going to be up a full-go practice?

"Yeah, he's full-go. He got out fine. He's good."

How would you describe his knack to score? He's got this nice streak going on. On his second touchdown, the 35-yard catch and run, did you figure out it would work out exactly that way if those two blocks were sealed he only had one guy to beat?

"Yeah, that's how it is when they zero and they zero a lot. So they're pretty good at that play. I mean, they see it a lot because they do so much zero and I don't think they've given up a house call on it yet. Usually they tackle it for about a seven yard gain. Our guys just blocked really well, it allowed him to stretch it, which made the guy in man coverage have to run a little bit farther and he was able to rip through that arm tackle. So it was a hell of a play by all three of them."

Just in terms of his knack for scoring?

"It's real good coaching (laughing). He's unbelievable at it. I think he's done it since I heard about it growing up in Denver, to college, to whatever team he's on. He knows how to get the end zone."

You said after the game about the zero blitz at the end of the first half that it was something you would discuss during the week. What have those conversations been like with defensive coordinator Steve Wilks and kind of where's your understanding about what you guys were trying to accomplish with that?

"Yeah he knows, you guys I think talk to him tomorrow, he knows he messed up on that call. I have no problem with zero blitzes, especially when people need a lot of yards. If you need to get 20 yards to kick a field goal, I have no problem with a zero blitz. But I do when there's 16 seconds left. That's where he lost track. There was no necessary need for that just because of the time. I have no problem with that play call, but when it's that time you can't do that. That's not an option."

Former QB Peyton Manning said that Minnesota Vikings QB Kirk Cousins told him before the game that on plays when DL Nick Bosa was out, he would automatically check to a route where he knew he would have more time. Do you think that's pretty standard around the league against pass rushers? Do you guys do that too?

"Yes. Yep, everybody does I think."

Speaking of Bosa, he has two-and-a-half sacks in seven games. It's not like he's invisible, he's been disruptive but people look at it and he had eight-and-a-half sacks last year. Do you notice any difference with him when you explain kind of his dip?

"No, when you ask it that way, the difference, I look at how people move and whether they look in shape or as talented as the year before and he looks the exact same. I don't see anything different. I know the results haven't been there. He's got a couple opportunities missed, he's got a couple opportunities that should have been an easy sack on and we left number one open too fast where he shouldn't have been. So I just feel like the way it's panned out between rush and coverage and just all 11 together they haven't been tied together to me when they have done it. When Bosa beats someone, there's got to be nowhere to go with the ball and they've been able to do that whether it's a miss or whatever it is. When we've had people covered, I don't feel like we've always had that rush. So I think it's there throughout a game, but just not at the right times."

What was your evaluation of T Jaylon Moore and also do you like what you're getting out of your interior offensive line as far as run push?

"I mean, we didn't run the ball that well in that game, but you usually don't when they have six on the line. You've got to do some stuff in the pass game to kind of soften them up a little bit and it's going to be pretty hit or miss. I didn't think we got a lot of plays, which if you don't break a long one and you're going against that stuff, it's not going to be good yards per carry. So I didn't see anything that our O-Line hurt in that aspect. And as far as Jaylon Moore, he played good enough for us to win. I mean, our line wasn't a big part of the problem."

How do you balance the value of the timeout early in the second half before the delay of game that you guys did or saving it for a time you may or may not need it late in the game? What's the balance of that?

"If it's first-and-10, I probably wouldn't have done it, second-and-13, I don't want to go to second-and-18. So I did it there to try not to get that. Obviously at the end you wish you had it, but I think a lot more times than not we finish a half in a game still having timeouts than having none. So I don't sit there and just take penalties trying to save them. I usually use them. But I wouldn't say that's 100-percent."

The last few years you had struggles at the beginning of the year and then sort of hit your stride and then you went steadily up. This is just a little bit of a different dynamic where you started out so well. Is it different in the way you approach it? How is that approached in terms of the coaching's aspect?

"There's no different approach. I just think that's the reality of what's happened this year. These last two years we've had our backs against the wall in this time and I feel like that's really hardened us and we've responded the right way and ended the year fairly good to where we finished up. This year, we really didn't want to be in that situation this year. I thought we succeeded in that. We came out, made sure we didn't get in that situation and we started 5-0. Then I think these last two weeks, like I said earlier, that's the reality of the NFL, kind of has hit us that because this isn't just you go out there and beat everyone by two scores like those first five games went. You're not always going to play perfect. You're never going to play perfect and the team against you is going to play good sometimes and usually that's going to come down to one score. And both of these have and we had every chance to win both of those games and we didn't get it done. And when it comes down to one score, you can always pin out three to four plays and that's kind of what we're focusing on in these two games. And that is usually the reality of the NFL. That's been the reality of us as a team. Just hasn't been that way since Week 7 of last year until now."

What was your assessment the D-End spot opposite of Bosa. The trade deadline's coming up. There are some prominent names out there. Are you guys still interested in possibly adding somebody?

"We're always interested anywhere that we think will help our team without hurting it, especially for the future. So, that's something we're always looking into. But, I think it's helped adding [LB/DL] Randy [Gregory]. I think he's done some good things. I think [DL Clelin Ferrell] Cle made a couple good plays in the game, but we want to do better all around. It's not like we're just targeting that position or anything."

Brock took the full blame for that first interception after the game, as opposed to the route being broken off. I have no idea what happened. Having seen the film, is that accurate?

"Yeah. He just threw it too inside of the middle-third player and needed to be more inside the numbers."

Is the jab-step to the outside part of that route?

"It's part of the route, yep."

Is today just walk-through?


Just to keep the guys rested on a short week?


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