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Brock Purdy, Steve Wilks, Chris Foerster preview 49ers-Seahawks Week 14 matchup

Dec 7, 2023 at 6:04 PM--

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San Francisco 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy, defensive coordinator Steve Wilks, and offensive line coach and run game coordinator Chris Foerster spoke with reporters after Thursday's practice, as the team prepares for its Week 14 matchup against the Seattle Seahawks. Here is everything they had to say.

Transcripts provided by the San Francisco 49ers Communications staff.

QB Brock Purdy

Has anything changed since now you're considered an NFL MVP favorite?

"Nothing's changed. Yeah, I'm about my process and my week this week against the Seahawks and that's it."

How cool does it feel to run off the field in Philly last week, having all those Niner fans there chanting your name? That had to be kind of a cool moment for you?

"Yeah, I mean, just the support that you get from The Faithful and when we go on the road games, even if it's east coast, they show up and they're there all the way through. So to be able to pull out a great win like that and then run off the field and have them still be there supporting all of our guys running out was special for all of us."

On your first touchdown throw to WR Brandon Aiyuk, was that right where you wanted it where you knew he was going to have to lay out?

"I think we weren't necessarily both on the same page. I thought the defender [Philadelphia Eagles S Reed] Blankenship was actually going to try to undercut it and then he ended up stopping, so I just led him to make sure. And then B.A. sort of had to make a second effort to dive and get it. So, it was a great play on him. Yeah, I probably could have been a little better on the throw, but he saved me on it."

Head coach Kyle Shanahan was talking about WR Jauan Jennings yesterday and was saying that the only thing that holds him back is us. With the rest of the supporting cast, he's just not going to get the ball all that often but that he's always ready and he's always dependable. What's been your observation of him since you got here?

"Yeah, he's so consistent. J.J. brings so much juice and swagger to the team, like when he catches the ball and he converts a first down, everyone feeds off it and you could see it. He has fun playing the game, in meetings, around this place, in the locker room. J.J., he's got a different vibe to him and we all love it. We feed off it. So for him to be able to get those balls like he did in the game, some crucial third-down conversions and then obviously the touchdown, well worth it. We love him."

In the previous Seattle game, he had one where it didn't look like it was possible that he would make the first down, and I think he made maybe four guys miss by the time he got there. Do you recall that play? Did you have a look at it or were you out on your back or something at the time?

"Yeah, I threw the ball and we all just watched. And it's like, all right, you just sort of just see him make all these guys miss and keep going, but J.J.'s done that in multiple games dating back the last two years. You get him the ball and he makes guys miss and finds a way to get a first down somehow, someway. That dude's got some dog in him, he's got some fight and like I said, we all feed off it. J.J. just brings a lot of joy and drive and fire to this team, more than people know."

With his touchdown in the last game, the Eagles game, how aware are you of when a blitz is coming how well it's picked up? Is it just as simple as like, 'I was able to get the ball off, which is great,' or like when you go back and watch, 'wow, RB Christian McCaffrey stepped up and made this blitz pickup and that was even better than I realized?'

"Yeah, I mean obviously we have a protection called and then you could start to see like the coverage is tight, everyone's low, we know that I'm probably going to be hot so I know that Christian's going to get the A gap here, I'm going to be free with the guy off the edge. But, it's putting the trust and faith that the guys up front are all going to do their assignment, get their guy. I know this guy on the edge is going to be free, so now I've got to put my trust in J.J. in his route and know that I probably don't have time for a hitch. I've got to plant, do like a five plant, throw the ball, everyone's doing their job and convert. That's something that we've done since training camp. We did that all throughout OTAs and camp with drills on being hot, pass protections, all that kind of stuff and then it pays off on a crucial third down in Philadelphia in Week 13."

How much does that trust grow in terms of like maybe Week 1 you believe it's going to happen, but now you have all these examples of it happening? How does trust in kind of everybody doing exactly the right thing at the right time grow over the course of the season?

"Yeah, I think early on in the season, it's not that you have to knock off rust, but it's, man, you've got to play together, you've got to learn how guys move and can pick things up, especially with the guys up front. And then as the season goes, you start to feel like, all right, this is who we are. This is how my guys up front play. This is where I can step up in the pocket and then obviously trust them to pick up stuff that's coming late, like blitzes and whatnot. They've all done a great job throughout the year. I feel like we've all gotten better. Looking at the first game in Pittsburgh until now, we have gotten better. But, there's always still some areas where we can all be better and it starts with myself, with pocket movements and stuff. But yeah, definitely that trust and faith has gotten better since game one, so I'm really excited."

You've faced the Seahawks more than any other opponent now. What's your mindset when it comes to kind of a familiar foe like that?

"They've got good players, some really good dudes that have a lot of experience and stuff, obviously with [Seattle Seahawks LB] Bobby Wagner and then [Seattle Seahawks CB Quandre] Diggs in the backfield or in in the secondary. Some boys that are playing corner that have got some experience now under their belts. So for us it's like, man, they can make plays, they're smart, they play a bend but don't break kind of defense. And so, it's always a challenge when we play them every single time. It's not like, 'oh, we've beaten them, so we're just going to walk in this game.' It's not like that. It's the NFL. They're a team right now who needs to win and so do we. It's going to be a dog fight like it always is. We respect the heck out of Seattle and anytime we play them we know it's always going to be a dog fight. That's how we look at it."

Do you think you're representing the organization well right now, standing up there at the podium wearing a backwards hat?

"Man, I guess that's who I am and I think so."

Have you heard what the media is saying about that?

"Some guys have told me in the locker room and stuff, but I don't buy into all that kind of stuff. I'm just trying to play quarterback and win games."

Wednesday and Thursday is when you guys typically install. Is that a surprise to you as far as the game plan? Are you seeing it for the first time or does Kyle consult with you on Monday and Tuesday about some of the things that maybe you want in the game plan that week or is Wednesday your first day?

"Yeah, Wednesday's usually my first day. I'll go in and talk to him on the off days and just sort of get an idea of like what we're thinking. But then the first time I see the plays is on Wednesday and it's because they're doing all their studying and prep. They want everything to be perfect for when we see it for the first time. Do I like it? Yeah, I trust in them. I'd like them to prepare as coaches and give us the best game plan as possible, but it's worked since I've been here."

With the throw to Christian down the sideline on the little wheel route, Christian told me that there was an adjustment made on that play between you two before. Can you kind of specify what you did and how much did the trust aspect work into that because that ball seemed to come out before he was even close to making his move against the linebacker?

"Yeah, I mean earlier in the game he ran a route that wasn't exactly that route, but a route that was similar. And he said once we get to that third-down route that you're talking about he said I'm going to set him up like I did on this last route and sort of go outside a little bit and then take it up. So, we had talked about it on the sideline. He's the one that came up and told me what he expects and I trusted him. So once that third down came around, he made his move and then sure enough went up the field, got the backer to bite and it was a huge third-down conversion, so that was props to him."

You always talk about your process and then focusing on just the challenge of getting better. Are you able to appreciate just how well you have played and are playing?

"In a sense. But like I said before, there's always so many areas I feel like I can get better, really. Just within the operation of our offense, some reads, being consistent. I look at that last game and I look at the first two drives and it's like, man, we're a couple plays away from really having our foot on the gas pedal from the jump. And so, that's where I'm hard on myself and so I sort of look at those things and I always want to get better in that area. But at the same time, playing in the NFL, winning some games, you do have to take a step back and be able to look at it and be thankful for what's going on. Obviously we have a bigger goal in mind and that's where I have to stay even-keeled and keep chipping forward."

How quickly are you aware of what you should have done or could have done before you get there and like after the play's gone you're going to the bench to talk to coaches? How quickly do you know where you could have done better?

"I feel like in the heat of the moment, obviously if something doesn't go our way or my way in terms of my read, my throw, whatever it is and I'm jogging off the field it's like I feel like I sort of have an idea of like where I was wrong. But, I always love hearing feedback and stuff from [quarterbacks Coach Brian] Griese, [QB] Sam [Darnold] and [QB] Brandon [Allen] and then obviously Shanahan. Every once in a while he'll chime in, but I feel like it's sort of a thing whereas I'm jogging off, it's like, 'dude, you should have done this, you should have done that.' But, at the same time you play four quarters for a reason so I can't let it get to me. I have to learn from it quick and then make adjustments and then go try to be successful the next time I'm on the field."

This franchise has had Pro Football Hall of Fame QBs Joe Montana and Steve Young. You're on pace with your numbers to set franchise records and some of them would be like in the top-20 in NFL history, like passer rating, completion percentage and yards per attempt. Considering where you were not that long ago to that type of stuff, do you ever like have a moment where you're like, 'dang, this is pretty wild?'

"I mean, I guess in a sense. For me, I've always known that this whole thing, just life in itself is just a process. You can't just wake up one day and graduate high school and then be like, 'all right, I'm going to go play in the NFL in a couple years.' It's like, no, I have to go earn the respect for the guys in my in my college program. I've got to start. I've got to win games. I've got to get experience. Once I get to the NFL, there's a process of doing it all over again. And so, I've just taken it one step at a time and then once I get my opportunity all I'm focused on is trying to play quarterback and win games for the Niners and then all the other stuff sort of just happens as you go. I don't wake up in the morning thinking I'm going to do this or that. It's how can I be the best today? How can I handle my business for the guys in the locker room and this organization and everything else sort of falls into place."

Defensive Coordinator Steve Wilks

Opening comments:

"Good afternoon. You know how I feel about talking to you guys on Thursday in regards to the previous game. We are so far removed, but I will say that I was extremely proud of the coaches and players and how we performed. I thought the coaches did an outstanding job in our preparation in getting these guys ready to play. I thought the players did an outstanding job for us going out and executing. Everything we do starts up front. Our D-Line is really the focal point of this defense. You can't say enough about 54 [LB Fred Warner] and 57 [LB Dre Greenlaw] and what they do. The best two in the league. But I think there's a position group that gets overlooked quite a bit. The secondary, they're playing phenomenal football. I want to make sure that I recognize those guys with the performance that they have played with the last several weeks. I think Mooney [CB Charvarius Ward] is doing an outstanding job trying to mirror and follow the top receiver. Demo [DB Deommodore Lenoir] has been able to kick inside and play nickel because of the play that we're getting out of [CB] Ambry [Thomas] and stepping in and performing at a high level. So, kudos to those guys that are on the backend. You talk about Gip [S Tashaun Gipson Sr.] the leader back there, along with [S] Ji'Ayir [Brown] who has stepped up since Huff [S Talanoa Hufanga] has been out. Those guys are playing well. It's going to be a difficult task this week. A lot of respect for [Seattle Seahawks Head Coach] Pete Carroll and that coaching staff. Thanksgiving Day game has nothing to do with our performance and how we're going to play on Sunday, nor does last week. We've got to go earn this one. We've got to go earn this one. And with that, I'll take your questions."

Head coach Kyle Shanahan said after the game that what the D-Line did was so counter to its DNA, being so patient and kind of deliberate. Was that difficult in the week of practice to kind of get them to be other than what they're used to being?

"It is always hard to try to really deter from your identity, but it's all about the element that particular week, the situation and what's best for the defense. Kudos to those guys [defensive line coach Kris] Kocurek and [assistant defensive line coach Darryl] Tapp up front for number one, implementing the game plan and those guys going out and executing. It wasn't about trying to get stats this particular game. It was about making sure that we maintain our rush lanes and didn't rush past the quarterback, not giving them an opportunity to be able to step up inside the A and B gaps."

How do you go about coaching that or implementing that type of a game plan that is so kind of drastically different during the course of the year?

"It's just discipline and constant repetition of what you want. Again, I just thought the guys did a great job trying to execute and being very unselfish and doing their job this past weekend. So, I was excited to see that. And once again, I know a lot of times everything is predicated off production and sacks and those kind of things, but they executed the game plan. It was great."

How rare is it to find a group that is so unselfish like that?

"This whole group, this whole defense is that way. You can see even at the end of the game when [DL] Kalia [Davis] got his sack, K.D., everybody on the sideline was so excited. You even saw [WR] Deebo [Samuel], you saw [T] Trent [Williams], you saw Juice [FB Kyle Juszczyk]. Everybody was so excited for him. And that's just how this team is, very unselfish players."

With Mooney, is there something he's been doing differently that's really just taken his game to another level the last couple of months?

"I don't want to say so much different, besides, yeah, definitely going with the number one receiver. I think his level of confidence is there. I think he's playing with great technique, eyes in the right spot. I think he's just really locked in and focused."

Shanahan was saying that since the Bye DT Javon Kinlaw has gotten a little bit better and better. You're there watching them early in practice. What exactly is Kinlaw doing over this last month that is noticeable?

"Well, I can really go back even beyond that and I know you guys heard me talk about Kinlaw back in the spring when we were talking about guys who I think are going to have a great year. I think the number one thing with him is he's healthy, unlike he's been in the past. And then there's one word that you're alluding to, which is he's playing consistent. He's really been consistent these last couple of weeks. I love the way he's playing with lower pad level. Really as we talk about all the time, trying to create a new line of scrimmage, playing on their side of the ball. Everything we do is about penetration and you can see that with him."

On Kinlaw's sack, Philadelphia Eagles QB Jalen Hurts held the ball for a long time and you guys had held up on the back end with tremendous coverage. How did you get from Cincinnati where it seemed like everybody was open to where you guys are at now in coverage? What kinds of things did you work on to get from there to here?

"I think everything is different, maybe based off the call. We always have a certain term and terminology as we call plaster when the quarterback starts to scramble and get outside the pocket. That's been a point of the emphasis the last couple of weeks, particularly with Jalen Hurts with his ability to extend plays. It's the same thing with [Seattle Seahawks QB] Geno [Smith]. So, we've got to do a great job in coverage and then when he's ready to try to start winning with his legs, we've got to do a great job on the backend for his plaster and staying with the receivers. That's what you saw this past week."

What does S Logan Ryan add to your defense?

"A lot of experience, two Super Bowls and a wealth of knowledge where he can communicate and talk to these young guys, particularly on the backend. And then also just understanding he's coming into a culture that he's probably used to. These guys know how to work. They go about their business a different way each and every day. So, I think with him coming in, it's going to be a smooth and easy transition for him."

What have you seen from Ji'Ayir Brown as a full-time starter?

"I like the word confidence. He's very confident. I love how he's communicating and talking. He has really taken the initiative to be that vocal guy back there. We always say all the time the formation is talking to you, you've got to listen with your eyes. It's telling you certain things. He's communicating and verbalizing that with guys out there, which is allowing him to be able to play fast and be in position to make plays."

Kalia Davis, we haven't seen a lot of him, but he's obviously a very talented player. What do you like about his game?

"Man, Kalia has really the whole time when he wasn't in there, he kept that mindset of just waiting for his opportunity. For him to seize it the way he did this past week was glorifying for not only him, but for everybody. Good pad level. He's very strong. I love the way he comes off the ball, uses his hands well, and good lateral movement where he can shed and get down the line of scrimmage and chase things down. So, he's going to be getting a lot of reps here coming up soon."

The Seahawks have only had one game since you saw them last, but it was a really good game, obviously. Was there anything that popped out or jumped off the screen to you?

"Explosive plays. [Seattle Seahawks WR] DK [Metcalf], of course we know at any time he can make those kind of plays, that's what popped off. I know they're running the ball well, trying to run it more. That was really Coach Carroll's mindset and trying to get these guys going which is going to open up the play action for him. I assume [Seattle Seahawks RB Kenneth] Walker's [III] going to be back. That's my mindset. That's our mindset. It's going to be a difficult task. And like I said before, Thanksgiving Day, last week doesn't have anything to do with how we're going to perform and win this football game. That's our mentality. So, we're going to have to go out and earn it and I know it's going to be a tough, hard battle."

Run Game Coordinator/Offensive Line Chris Foerster

Head Coach Kyle Shanahan has said RB Christian McCaffrey's mentality is that of like a walk-on or undrafted guy, like still trying to prove himself. Obviously elite players have special qualities, but that seems pretty rare to not seemingly ever feel like you've arrived or ease up even a little. Is that unique in your experience?

"It is unique, yeah. He's a very unique guy, but I say this, he's also very confident in his ability and very much has a chip on his shoulder to show everybody how good he is. But his work ethic is one of, it's never good enough. It's really cool. It's really cool to see a guy that's really shooting for perfection and he is not afraid to say that he's fallen short, but he's always progressing, always working, so that's really impressive to watch how hard he works, how diligent he is. I mean, there's so many little things that he does on [WR] Deebo [Samuel], the last screen pass touchdown that we ran Christian's on the backside and he fakes a like a flare screen and that backside linebacker who almost caught Deebo as Deebo was coming up to score. There was a guy that was right there, they had to outrun. I think he's going to outrun him either way. If Christian dogs that just a little bit, if Christian doesn't, I mean how much time was left in the game and how many plays did Christian play? He took out of there with his hands in the air, like he was catching the screen and pulled that linebacker out of there. That's why we scored. I mean the guys did a nice job blocking it, but ultimately the play went in because of Christian. Every little thing he looks at as what he can do better and that is rare. That's really rare and that's why he's a great player."

Kyle was talking about how that is the best player he's ever been around without the ball in his hands. When you think about what he does with the ball in his hands, that's pretty remarkable. Is that just one example?

"That's one example. Exactly. One example. There was a day it was really funny. Kyle pointed it out and he does it all over the field and I don't watch, I'm locked in more on the guys up front most days. I don't know what the play was, I can't picture, but he was releasing on the backside to block somebody. Actually, it was a run play or something that we had a draw or I don't remember what the play was. He was going to block somebody and when he was running out to block him, he set up and started to act like he was going to run a route so the guy would look to cover and then he went and blocked him. It's just every little thing he can look to gain an advantage or look to what he can do without the ball in his hands. He does. It's outstanding."

What did you think of Philadelphia Eagles DT Jalen Carter? Seems like you guys kept him pretty quiet. He's enormously talented. What did you think of the job you guys did?

"Well, I think the guys did a really good job. I think the game went well for us. We started off and obviously had a couple series there that weren't as good. And Jalen's a very talented and good player and he did have some good plays in there. Our guys just managed to convert on some third downs, keep them on the field, work our plan and do things we talked about doing. And [OL] Aaron [Banks] did a nice job and wherever they put him, the guys really battled and did a good job against him."

A couple times it popped out that OL Spencer Burford was finishing plays way down the field, even on the Deebo touchdown you referred to. Is that if it's been something he's been doing all year or is there a point of emphasis of like, Hey, we need you to finish more here. Is that an area that he's grown in?

"He's grown in that area. I mean, he always did. I said it last year, there's always a couple times it happens with guys. It's like you're getting to the point of contact, you're getting to the point of doing your assignment and you're just not quite finishing. You're just not quite getting on a guy and staying on him. An old coach, [former NFL coach] Dennis Green of mine used to say, blocking the guy is no more. He said, 'Chris, you can talk all this stuff about being an O-lineman and techniques and all that. He said, but when the ball carrier gets there, are you on your guy?' And he doesn't make the tackle. That's what I tell my guys. So I get all this, but guys, your guy made the tackle or your guy got in on the tackle, so that's not good enough. So whatever we have to do to make sure your guy that you were responsible for isn't hitting the guy at the end of the play. And that I think eventually rings true with guys who realize, oh, I have to keep doing this, blocking him for a little bit, then letting him go and letting him run and run and maybe he gets in on the tackle later isn't acceptable. And everything we do in our offense comes from Kyle that everybody's expected to finish, everybody's expected. Our plays last because of the wide zone, it's longer. You start on the left hash and the ball goes out to the numbers and then it runs downfield and everybody has to block their guys all that far and it ends up being just a little bit longer that we have to maintain our contact and our blocks and it's a process for young guys coming in to learn that."

Was that as good of a game the offensive line played this year?

"I don't know. [Laughs]. The guys played okay. They did a good job. I mean, this group of guys, I don't ever want to, I'm not bad mouthing. I know you guys know that I love this group. They really work hard for us every single day. But we're a work in progress still. There was a lot of good things in that game. We managed the crowd. The two tackles did a really nice job on those guys and the interior players, they had some beasts in there and they were a challenge. [QB] Brock [Purdy] did a good job with getting the ball out. Kyle did a good job getting the play calls. It all works together when we look good nine times out of 10 it's because everything else around us is going well. The guys were serious-minded. They wanted to go and do it. I was honest with them. I told them and I didn't say it then, if I look back at that championship game from a year ago, I was nervous we weren't going to block them as well. I didn't know how it was going to play it. We never got a chance to see because the game went a different direction, obviously with the injury to Brock. And then we went in there and the guys did a good job. Now that's one game. The guys did a nice job, but I'm not going to crown anybody yet."

T Trent Williams was saying that the last time you guys played Seattle, that Banks was really banged up going through that game, kind of played through it, but he felt like it was a really kind of a turning point game for Aaron because he was able to tough it out and still perform. In what ways have you seen him grow in terms of putting it on the line and those types of things?

"Yeah, Aaron last year did great. I mean, he came through everything last year and had a really nice season last year and came out as one of our better linemen. And the energy that he plays with on game day, the enthusiasm, the effort he plays with, it's outstanding and he continues to work at his craft to get better at it. That was big for him because a lot of times – there's injury and hurt, right? And I'll flat tell you the story. He and I are talking about when he's coming out, getting ready to play the game and he's like, we went out, we were working during the week. We were in the stadium, it was a short week and we had a couple guys stay out and push on him to see if he was ready, if he's able to anchor. And he calls me that night, he goes, I just don't think I can play. I can't anchor. And I said, okay, let's talk about how many times in a game you're going to be one-on-one by yourself needing to anchor where [C] Jake [Brendel] won't be there, Trent won't be there, or we're running the ball where the anchor really doesn't matter and all these things. And I said, we're talking about five to 10% of the game. I'm not telling you to play hurt, which I wasn't. That's a point where like Trent said, I could play at 75 or 80%. Well, for Aaron that's like 90 or 95% because there's five or 10% of that game that he might struggle with. But it was good to get out there and start playing and get over that hump. And that's part of a process for a young guy. Injured and hurt is two different things. And nobody's asking. I said, Aaron, I'm not asking you, if you don't feel comfortable playing this game, don't play this game. And if the trainers, but he'd been cleared medically, but there were some parts of his game he didn't feel comfortable with, but that's part of the process you learn you say, I can play this way. I've told you guys a story before about [former Baltimore Ravens OL] Jonathan Ogden and he's like, this guy I can play at this percentage, this guy, I can't. And Trent, to his credit, Trent in the Cleveland game, he was at whatever percentage he was, if it wasn't [Cleveland Browns DE] Myles Garrett, he probably would've looked a lot, but he went out there and really didn't look great for the majority of the game, but knew he had to tough it out in those instances. Well, that's a guy that's done this enough to say he's not putting himself at risk. He's not going to hurt himself anymore knowing he is not a hundred percent, but he can do most things well enough that we could have success. And then, it's my job, Trent in the championship game a couple years ago against the Rams probably shouldn't have been out there and it was his first championship game. It was really hard for me to say Trent, and everybody was like, but we have to let the guy, he's a warrior, let's let him tough it out. He's done it before, but he really couldn't perform at a level that was acceptable. And he's even said it, [OL] Colton [McKivitz] probably should have played more in that game. And that's a tradeoff. Like I said, none of us are trying to – that's a long answer, but I want to make sure it's very clear. None of us are asking a guy to play hurt. None of us are. But the 100% in this league is everybody gets hurt and everybody has to play through bumps and bruises and you have to figure that out. And that's what happened with Aaron. That's part of one of the many things that he's grown in that process."

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By Marc Adams
Mar 2

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy had a remarkable 2023 season. It was his first full season as the starter, and Purdy did not disappoint, passing for 4,280 yards and 31 touchdowns. He also led the league in passer rating at 113.0. And Purdy became the 49ers' first Pro Bowl QB since Jeff Garcia was selected in 2002. Matt Maiocco, of NBC Sports Bay Area, recently sat down with 49ers GM John Lynch, for the latest episode of 49ers Talk. They talked about the season Purdy had, and how different this offseason is compared to last offseason, when Purdy was coming off a torn UCL suffered in the NFC Championship Game. There was plenty of speculation as to whether or not Purdy would play


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