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Kyle Shanahan, Brock Purdy, Steve Wilks preview 49ers-Seahawks Week 12 matchup

Nov 21, 2023 at 4:21 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 12 matchup against the Seattle Seahawks. Here is everything they had to say.

Transcripts provided by the San Francisco 49ers Communications staff.

Head Coach Kyle Shanahan

Opening comments:

"All right, injuries. We've got [OL Spencer] Burford, knee, won't practice. [OL] Aaron Banks, toe, limited. [CB] Shemar Jean-Charles, shoulder, limited. [WR] Ray-Ray [McCloud III], rib, limited. [DL Javon] Hargrave, thumb, limited. That's it, go ahead."

Aaron Banks, does he have any chance to potentially play?

"Yes, he does."

What's the next man up situation for Burford at right guard if he can't go in there?

"We've got some guys on practice squad and we just brought a guy in."

Is the Burford thing a long-term thing?

"No, I think he would be all right if he played Sunday, but it's a question here on Thursday and can't go today. So, it's worrisome."

Is OL Ben Bartch in the building yet?

"I am not sure."

How do you go about getting him up to speed and any chance that he could suit up on Thursday?

"There's an outside chance. Being a short week, we'll most likely go a different direction, but we've got a lot of moving parts with that."

Will OL Jon Feliciano practice at right guard today and Banks at left guard?


You mentioned on Friday that the plan was to sign former CB Jason Verrett to the practice squad. Is that still the plan?

"No, it has not happened."

You anticipate it happening?

"We'd like it to, but not sure yet."

Did you and the coaches stay over here after the game the other night or in preparation of Seattle, or did you guys get to go home?

"No, we enjoy Sunday night knowing how miserable the next few days are going to be. We've been here since we came in Monday morning. But no, we enjoyed Sunday for a little bit, got to bed early and aren't going to look back until after the game on Thursday."

LB Fred Warner said that sometimes the game plan a Thursday after Sunday sometimes is a little bit more condensed. Is that accurate on both sides of the football?

"You'd like it to be. I think it's different on both sides. You'd love to make it condensed. Sometimes you don't have the time to make the decisions. You've got a bunch of plays you like and you like to go through plays for a long time to make sure they're all detailed and which ones to go with and sometimes you don't have time for that. So sometimes you put in the extra ones and you decide over the next 48 hours which ones to take out and keep in. So, we've done them both ways, but it's always stuff guys are familiar with is the main thing."

The numbers show you guys are using the deep ball a little bit more than you have in the past. Is that a product of you're dialing those up a little bit more and your belief in QB Brock Purdy or is Brock taking those shots more? Is it maybe a combination of those things?

"I think when the looks are there he takes them. So, I think the looks have been there at times. When they have been there, he really doesn't miss them and has done a good job of coming down with them."

Are you feeling any difference in the way teams are defending you since you've kind of started to establish that?

"The more areas of the fields you hit, the more areas they've got to defend. So, you try to balance all those out, you try to throw where they're not. Brock's done a real good job of that."

What are the hallmarks of a Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll coached team?

"Just the style they play with. They're so competitive, doesn't matter what the record is, where you play, offense, defense, special teams, they all go extremely hard. They practice hard. I think just the style of their play and when you watch the silent tape, it's as close to ours as anyone else. I think we're very similar in the style our teams play with."

What's the biggest challenge of Seattle Seahawks WR DK Metcalf and Seattle Seahawks WR Tyler Lockett?

"I mean, DK is just how explosive he is and the size of him to be that explosive with that size and be able to drop your hips and run all the routes. I've had two guys I've ever been around like that, one was [Philadelphia Eagles WR] Julio Jones, another was [former NFL WR] Andre Johnson. This guy I think is a couple inches taller and about 28 pounds bigger. So, it shows you how talented he is. Then Lockett, I think he's been one of the more underrated receivers over the last 10 years. He's so consistent in what he does. He's got such a savviness on how to find the zones, when to lean away from certain man looks and stuff. Very consistent receiver."

What have you seen from Seattle Seahawks QB Geno Smith?

"Geno's done some good things. He's earned this role to get to where he has been these last two years. Geno is really good at kind of attacking the defense, take what they give him. The goal is to hopefully make him one dimensional and try to get them to have to make some bigger plays and not just stay within the scheme."

With Seattle Seahawks CB Devon Witherspoon, how has he sort of impacted their defense?

"I mean, it would've been fun to watch him these last 24 hours if we weren't having to go against him, but he was as advertised. He's a good player. He is all around the ball. When you study the run game, you see him a lot. When you study first and second down, you see him a lot. When you get to third down and watch coverages, you see him a lot. So, it's every aspect of the game that he has an impact on. A really good football player who is also extremely talented."

What have you observed or just seen from S Tashaun Gipson Sr. as far as working with young players like S Ji'Ayir Brown to help them whenever they get their chance to be able to step in seamlessly?

"Gip's just got such a poise back there. It's kind of Gip in the backend and Fred in the middle and their ages are a little different, but they're both the dads of the group, I'd say, with Gip being a little more senior than Fred. But, they're also the ones who aren't as reckless. I'd say that in a bad way, but also could be a good thing. They control things a lot back there. He makes very few mistakes and guys got to watch him a lot by example too, just how he carries himself each week, how he takes care of his body. I think he's a guy that not just the secondary looks up to, but everyone on our team."

With S George Odum as a safety backup now and S Tayler Hawkins on the practice squad. Is that a little thin in terms of depth for safety or is that doable?

"No, most people in the NFL have four safeties, some might have five, some might have three, but a high percentage have four. So when you lose one, it's always an issue. We've got a guy on practice squad who you just said, and we got other guys we can cross train. So a short week we'll deal with it right now, but something that we might have to address as this year goes."

Can your existing corners step in a pinch and play safety-type positions?

"I mean, someone's got to go there. So, when you lose certain guys, you've got to always have that plan. Just like at O-Line when you lose a certain amount of guys, just like at quarterback when you lose a certain amount. There's no third strings on a NFL field. It's ones and some guys have twos, but those twos are also playing special teams. So that's the whole challenge as this year goes."

Seattle likes to use the UCLA RB Zachariah Charbonnet on the screen game. How'd you guys feel like you defended the screen last week against Tampa and what do you think of the UCLA rookie running back?

"He's a good back, done good in the games this year. We really thought he was a good player coming out of college. He's good at running the ball, good at screens. We got better last week I thought at screens, not to be confused with did very good. So, something I know we'll keep seeing and we've got to keep challenging."

You guys did pretty well against the Seahawks run defense last year. How has it changed at all and how is your rushing attack looking?

"I mean, they're always a challenge to run the ball against. It usually takes until the fourth quarter and you've got to break a long one to ever make it look like you did good. They usually commit to that pretty well. Up there, it's twice as hard as anywhere else. Cadence is a huge issue. They would use it to their advantage big time. It's hard to get it going. So, you've got to get a big one to have that, which we have gotten a couple times, but it's usually not until late. Then I usually look at getting the run game going to see kind of how we do when we're not running the ball because that has to do with staying on the field, moving the chains and that's what allows you eventually to get the run game going."

I don't think anyone doubts TE George Kittle's desire to win or competitiveness. But, during a game you guys might be losing and he's kind of laughing on the sideline or joking around. Initially when you first saw that were you like, what is up with this guy? Is he wired differently?

"He was more nervous his rookie year. He wasn't as talkative. He didn't have the ponytail yet then and he didn't have as many tattoos. Kittle's just always a positive guy. I mean, if he's talking and he does a lot after his rookie year, that's always positive. He's always going to be upbeat and stuff. I love that because that's him. Sometimes I don't enjoy it the most when we're at practice and I don't think there's much to be positive about. I can see him going around just being all positive like he is, but then you realize that's who he is and he is always like that. So, guys count on him for that. I think it helps him, helps him stay at a certain level and makes him be a leader in his way to our guys."

When you look at the Thursday Night Seattle game almost a year ago compared to this one with Brock, how valuable was that experience for him to go in and play in such a tough environment in such a big game?

"It's real valuable. I mean, he's been to some loud places too, but Seattle is always right there as the loudest, if not tied for it. You can always tell people how loud it is, but they don't know until they go there and he went there so he knows what we're talking about. I don't have to stress the importance of it to him. He's going to be doing it to our guys for these two days."

You mentioned the other day allowing the guys to sleep in this morning and on Monday. Is there any science behind that? Is there an amount of sleep you want the guys to have on a short week like this one?

"Yeah, there is, but I don't memorize those things or injury reports for you guys because I don't want stuff to go out that actually I need to know. So, I try to let them get as much sleep as possible. That's why we push back our schedules and everything. Stuff that we didn't used to talk about back in the day, but they have been for about the last 10 years. It's very evident. I know we feel it as coaches, you can see it on players and there's just not enough time here. So, when you cram everything in, it might make you feel good, but then the guys are dead for that game and the best way to recover is sleep. We're going to do that as much as we can."

Defensive Coordinator Steve Wilks

Opening comments:

"Normally I'd start out by saying we had a great practice today, but we haven't gone out yet. So, guys are focused, guys are locked in, short week. It's all about fundamentals and technique. The great thing about playing Tampa last week, there's a lot of carryover to Seattle with the coordinator being from Seattle. So, a lot of things that we're doing this week is carryover for us. And my point of emphasis to the players has been fundamentals and technique and a short week, taking care of your body, making sure we're fresh and ready to go. So with that, I'll take your questions."

When you prepare for a team like this where the 49ers are so familiar with Seattle, do you rely on people who've been here to say what's worked in the past, what hasn't worked? Do you start kind of gauging the room as far as just what your first steps are when you implement the gameplan?

"Yeah, yeah. I think you always do that. Anytime you have a team that plays one another twice, I think you have a perspective of who they are and what they do. You know, we played Seattle last year when I was in Carolina, but being able to play these guys twice a year, they understand you, you understand them, you understand personnel. So, we definitely talked as a staff and have gone back and looked at some of the things that we've done well, some of the things that hurt us, and so therefore we can anticipate what may be to come."

How'd you feel about the way S Ji'Ayir Brown played last week and this is his first start, what do you want to see from him this week in preparation for Seattle?

"Well, I, first of all, want to acknowledge the mere fact, well [S Talanoa Hufanga] Huf, a captain, when I say a captain, I'm talking about a leader in the secondary, All-Pro player, we're definitely going to miss him. And for Ji'Ayir to step in at that particular time in the game and perform the way he did, it's exciting. But, he and I talked last week and his preparation each and every day you can see the growth from when he got here back in the spring. He's playing with a great level of confidence, and I think the guys back there with [S Tashaun Gipson Sr.] Gip, [LB] Fred [Warner] and all the guys that he's going to be surrounded with, I think he's going to be fine."

You talked to him before the Tampa game?

"Yes. We talk every week. I always talk to those young guys and just trying to give them a beat on where I feel they are in their progression and how they're doing. And he and [LB] Dee Winters I think have made major strides since they've been here and guys that we feel very confident in the situation if they had to go in. Unfortunately, he did that they were going to step up and perform."

On the play where he did get beat, Ji'Ayir, was he not accounting for the wide receiver's speed or what was the, I guess, what's your coaching point to him on that play?

"Initially, I think he saw [Tampa Bay Buccaneers WR Mike] Evans looking back for the ball because it was all out pressure, so he assumed that it was coming quick. And it was really an out and up. So, he was able to recover just from being as athletic as he is and put himself in a great position to make a play on the ball."

He seems to speak with a wisdom beyond his years. What's been your impression of just how he carries himself?

"I just think he's serious about the game and he puts a lot of time and effort into it. We met as a staff today defensively early and you know, [defensive backs coach] Daniel Bullocks wasn't in there because he was meeting with him. He wanted to come in and get some extra work. So, Daniel does a great job with all those guys."

How important or unimportant are sacks in evaluating the effectiveness and performance of an edge dresser like DL Nick Bosa?

"I've dealt with this all year in regard to lack of production out of our front. And I tell people all the time, you have to really watch tape and understand football. It's a combination of things, but most importantly you have to complement one another. We have probably one of the highest percentages as far as pressure and hits on the quarterback, and there's times you don't see that effect for us getting sacks because there's certain things that go along with that. But, as you saw this past week, we were able to complement one another with different coverages, our disguise or even playing tight man. So, a lot of things go into that, but I'm pleased where we are. I think we're progressing up front and doing the things we've got to do to get to the quarterback."

Just how disruptive was DL Arik Armstead this week? It seemed like he was getting, even for his standards, a lot of pressure.

"I agree. I agree completely. I think when you go back and watch the tape, his one-on-ones we always talk about you've got to win, collapse the pocket inside and try to make the quarterback unable to follow through with his throws. And you saw [Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB] Baker [Mayfield] quite a bit of times that he could not do that. So, Arik played a great game and we're looking for him to do it again this week."

Seattle Seahawks RB Zach Charbonnet, the rookie from UCLA is probably going to get a lot of run in this game. What do you think of him and how is he a challenge this week?

"Well, I think all those guys are going to be a challenge, particularly on a short week. I look at their running back corps, their receiving corps, all those skill guys are phenomenal. And I think [Seattle Seahawks head coach] Pete [Carroll] does an outstanding job in his preparation of getting those guys ready to play. I know the run game is something that is a point of emphasis for those guys and trying to create themselves to be a little bit more balanced. We've got to do a great job in stopping the run and hopefully trying to make these guys one-dimensional to where our front can be effective on the quarterback."

QB Brock Purdy

I believe this is the first time you've faced an opponent three times. So, having prepared for them twice already, albeit last year, does it make this week a little bit easier?

"I don't think so. Obviously, it's a new year. The situation of this game's a little different. The personnel is a little different. They have guys that we haven't faced, so there's all that in play. So, I think it's different for sure. And so, that's how I'm looking at it, and I think that's really the reality of it. They're a good team. We're not going in thinking, 'oh, we beat these guys however many times before.' It isn't like that. This is a new game, new team, and that's how we're looking at it."

How would you describe your confidence in WR Brandon Aiyuk?

"Yeah, I have all the confidence in the world in B.A. You watch the film, the separation that he creates, you get the ball in his hands, obviously the second gear that he has to pull away from DBs or whoever's on the field. He does it all. And I think he's just one of the most underrated receivers I think in the NFL. We have so many playmakers, like [TE George] Kittle, [RB Christian] McCaffrey, [WR] Deebo [Samuel], but B.A. and what he's done in his production as a receiver, he's got it. And so, I have all the confidence in the world in him and he's always where he needs to be and as a quarterback that's all you could ask for."

He was just saying that he feels like you have a really good feel for how he's going to run every route. How do you get to that place with a receiver and how did you make it work with him specifically?

"I know people say this all the time, but it's just reps on reps. Practice. It started out I think in camp for us when I got back it was just studying how B.A. runs, how he breaks in and out of breaks. He is different from Deebo, he is different from George. And so, sort of just taking note of that. And then B.A.'s just got length, man, he's got range. And so, I know where he can get to and where I shouldn't throw the ball and where he's not going to be. And then obviously the games and stuff and the experience that we had last year together, we've built on that, I feel like. But, throwing with anticipation is huge for me. And so, he understands that. And when I let the ball go he gets to where he needs to be and we've made it happen."

When you say studying how he runs, what do you mean exactly by that?

"Yeah, like certain breaks. There's receivers that run up and chop, chop and then break out, so it may take another hitch or so. With B.A., I feel like he can cut on a dime and get in and out of things pretty quickly. And then just his speed, his explosion off the line gets DBs to push back and that makes it easier to create separation. And as a quarterback, I can sort of see where he is going to be. It makes it easier for me. So, those are the little things as a quarterback what you look and study for on film."

At what point in your recovery did you feel like you could throw a 50-yard pass in the air right where you wanted to?

"I'd probably say a couple weeks before camp started. There were times where I was ripping it around 50 yards to where I wanted it to be. To do it consistently, I feel like that was during camp. I was still trying to get to that point, build up that arm strength and everything and sort of work out the fatigue kind of thing. It's been a work in progress starting back to camp, but I feel like once the season hit I was able to do it."

Does it feel stronger now than last year and then did the Bye Week really refresh it too?

"Yeah. I do feel like just my pre and post routine of throwing has allowed my arm to get stronger just in general. Obviously, after the surgery it was recovered, but just my habits and stuff of what I've done in the NFL compared to college, it's a night and day difference and I feel like it has helped my arm get stronger. Then obviously with the Bye Week too, that was huge, just to let my arm rest up and feel fresh again. So, all of those components added in, I feel like my arm has gotten stronger."

Between series, what do you like to do or what's an essential part of what you do between series on the sideline?

"You come off and obviously look on the iPad of the pictures that we get, just like any other team, and we're going over what we think they're doing and what our plan of attack is. And then sort of just talk to the quarterbacks, [quarterbacks coach Brian] Griese, of what they're thinking and what they're seeing in real time, not just on the iPad. Pick their brain a little bit and then sort of just regroup, breathe a little bit. I take breathing pretty seriously. And so, from that moment on, just getting back into the state of mind of going back out and making consistent decisions, the right decisions consistently. So, that's what I do is try to get my mind right and not try to be so consumed with how the other team is doing or anything. Just what am I doing? What do I have to do on this next drive against the defense?"

When you say you take breathing pretty seriously, do you mean you meditate or have you been coached on that?

"Yeah, here within our team we work with Ian and Dr. Royer. They do a great job with just teaching us how to breathe pretty consistently. And it sort of just helps with our heart rates and being able to be in the present, not getting caught up in what's going on around us, but being where we're at. They just sort of teach us how to breathe and have consistent breath. So that helps me."

Deebo was saying that in the offseason, a lot of people were saying that you guys wanted to really add to deep ball, that was a kind of a priority for you. Why was that important and how do you think it maybe has helped this offense take another step forward?

"Yeah, I think it's just another component the defense has to be aware about and respect in a sense. You can obviously open up a lot of other things when there's a threat of going deep. And that's just what it is. We have a personnel where we can go deep and we have some speed. And so, there's opportunities when the defense gives the right look for us, and when we have the right play on, let's let it rip and let's take a shot, let's take an opportunity. Even if it's not a completion, it's showing them we can stretch the ball down field. So yeah, it's something that we've obviously looked at on film and be like we can do it. We have the personnel to do it. Let's take it serious and give it a go. It's something that we looked at in the off season and I mean, we've always had a plan every game dating back to last year. It's always been a thing. So, we've just got to be aggressive and take the right shots at the right time."

You mentioned opening things up. Are you seeing that, especially here recently since you started to hit those fairly consistently?

"Yeah, I think our offense has always done a good job within the short, the quick game, the intermediate game. But to be able to hit some deep balls, yeah, I think it definitely does put in the back of the minds of DBs like, man, they can go deep and we've got to respect it. And then it has opened up some things that I think we've seen the last couple games. The intermediate game looking pretty good just in terms of the defense respecting our deep ball. So, I think it's real."

The last Seahawks game was very early in your starting career. What was the atmosphere like and how has it helped you prepare this week? Because that stadium can be so tough to play in.

"It's a great environment, hostile environment, and so it's just more about being on top of your details, the pre-snap operation, speaking clearly in the huddle breaking the huddle on time, making sure we're all on the right page with the snap points and all that stuff. So, it's crucial, especially when you're in that kind of environment. There's a lot of easy ways to get distracted and that crowd is obviously going to do what they can to try to get us offbeat. And so, yeah, it's one of those games where every single play matters. Everybody has to be paying attention to detail because if not you'll slip up and it won't be pretty."

Last year in Seattle, what throws and/or plays could you not do just due to your injury? I know you said you told head coach Kyle Shanahan there were certain things you just couldn't do. I guess, what plays were kind of off the table for you?

"Anything that just made me really coil up and absolutely rip it. I feel like the quick game, the intermediate, all that kind of stuff I was able to do, but to really launch a ball or to roll left was sort of tough and throwing on the run going to my left just the way I positioned my body and then it tweaking on that rib. So, that was something that we sort of accounted for. But, outside of that I felt pretty good with the adrenaline of the game and was able to make it happen."

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