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Jeremy Reper-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Shanahan previews 49ers-Commanders Week 17 matchup

Dec 27, 2023 at 4:37 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 17 matchup against the Washington Commanders. Here is everything he had to say.

Transcript provided by the San Francisco 49ers Communications staff.

Opening comments:

"All right, the guys who won't practice today: [DL] Arik Armstead, foot and knee, [WR] Jauan Jennings, concussion, [OL] Aaron Banks, toe, [OL], Jaylon Moore, concussion. Then one you guys didn't get from yesterday, I believe, [S] Ji'Ayir Brown has a knee sprain. He won't practice today. [WR] Deebo [Samuel] has a neck which he will be limited. The other guys who are limited: [DL] Javon Hargrave, hamstring, [LB], Oren Burks, knee, [CB], Ambry Thomas, knee and hand, [T], Trent Williams, groin, and Deebo, neck."

To clarify, Deebo won't practice or he's limited?

"He's limited. Sorry if I said that a confusing way."

Is Trent listed as limited an encouraging sign for his availability for Sunday?

"I hope so."

He won't take today off?

"We're going to walk through. We're just going to go out there and walk through some stuff. So, most people can do that."

With Ji'Ayir, is there concern that it's long-term?

"There's concern. We're not ruling him out this week, but there's concern. That's why he can't go today."

What impact has DL Chase Young had on your defense?

"I think he's had a great impact. I think he's played the run well. I think he's played the pass well. He's helped with the rotations, just keeping everyone out there effective and fresher. I'm real happy to have him."

Will DL Sebastian Joseph-Day practice today and do you feel fortunate to get a player of that caliber in Week 17?

"Yeah we do, especially with some of the injuries we've had. Waiting on Armstead to hopefully be able to come back, we've been banged up there. He's caused us a lot of problems over the years playing against him. So, it's nice to get him in our building now especially at a time where we need some depth and we need some players."

You've got two real big regular season games coming up that will determine playoff seating. It's high-stakes football. Do you find this time of year fun?

"I find it about the same as everything else. It's all fun, but do you enjoy it in the moment when you're just grinding, you're working, you're so locked in? I think you enjoy the process, you enjoy competing and you enjoy accomplishing things together. So, it's fun to go through all this stuff. We all enjoy what we do, but there's nothing easy about it. I think that's when you get to the offseason, people are ready for it. But I think that's why after a little time off, everyone's got that itch to come back because this is the part of the sport I think that we're all addicted to. Just that collective grind of working together to accomplish something bigger than yourself."

I suppose with QB Brock Purdy, they're going to always say you have to move beyond what happened in the past. But for a guy with still a relatively short sample size to have arguably his worst game, where is he mentally and what does he have to do moving forward?

"He's just got to move forward and treat it as a game. We review the game. He does it on his own before I see him. I got some time to watch it with him yesterday. I know it's always tough when you have four picks, no touchdowns, especially when you have four of them by two minutes into the third quarter. But, you also look into at all of them, you talk to him about why they happened, what happened. When you look in that game, it's not a hard thing for him to bounce back from and get to work this week. There's a couple bad plays, the first one in particular. But when you get a look at the tape, there's nothing, that's very similar to coaching than what we do every week."

The Ravens had struggled against two backs defending the run. Did Baltimore Ravens defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald give you guys different fronts or different looks that you didn't anticipate? In hindsight after watching film, do you wish that you had run it with two backs at them a little bit more in that first half?

"No, that's just how it goes. It's never that you plan on not doing something. The first two plays of the game were a pass. The next three plays were going to be a run if you go by our openers. But, the first two plays only got us three yards. So then it's third-and-seven. I think we got a 54-yarder that got us to the 28-yard line. We had a top call on the 28-yard line, that's a different area from our openers. So we went right to that, got another, I think 13-yarder and we had a top call on the 15-yard line that's different than our openers. So, you end up opening the game up with five straight passes. Then I think we went to three straight runs after that. Then we had a couple turnovers. So, it just plays out that way. There's no we decided to go less two back or one back. It's what happens when you don't go on drives."

As the season goes on everybody looks from the outside and sees how much RB Christian McCaffrey's been playing and think they might have to back off a little bit. You never have. With 70 snaps the other night, he looks as good as he did several weeks ago. Are you surprised or impressed? What's been your observation on his durability and how hard he's been able to play for this long?

"Definitely. I've been impressed since he's gotten here. The guy is insane in how hard he prepares, not just in the season, but I saw him like a week after the season last year and he had a drink with me and he actually had a second one. He is like, 'well, only got like four more days left, so I'm going to have a couple for the next four days.' I'm like, 'dude we just finished like five days ago.' He gives himself like 12 days off and he is like right back to preparing and every aspect he goes through. He also made it very clear to me when he got here, his injuries aren't because of wear and tear. They're because of freak things that happened. I'm not saying that for us, but that's how he is. He strongly believes that. He strongly prepares that way. He's proven himself right in everything I've dealt with him on."

How scary is a team like Washington that has absolutely nothing to lose when you guys play them at this point in the year?

"Oh, I think all teams are scary, but especially in that situation. When people have nothing to lose, first of all everyone always has things to lose because usually when people say there's nothing to lose, there's a lot of guys playing for their jobs too and those guys know that. Even veterans who don't think that they are they usually find out at the end of the season that they were. So you've always got guys who are playing hard. I know they're playing a quarterback who's won a lot of games in this league. I know they've got some players on their defense, so they have just a good of chance to win every week as any other team."

What has Brock learned from the uncharacteristic performance he had against the Ravens?

"I thought the biggest thing for Brock was the way it went in the first half. I thought just between Brock and I just talking where I thought he struggled the most was after the four picks. I thought his first pick was a bad mistake. I thought the next three were unfortunate ones that you don't make excuses for, there's just tough football plays and they made some good football plays. But it's tough to play a lot of football after you have four picks and stuff, especially when you're down versus that type of defense. I think that was the best experience for him. How to feel that, to know what's happened, to know why it's happened, and still have to go out there and sling it around and play. I think that's the best experience you can get from that game."

With Banks, when he hurt his toe and he missed a few weeks. Are you expecting something similar this week or this time?

"I'm hoping not. What did I say he was today? Oh yeah, not practicing, but he's not ruled out this week. Hopefully he'll be limited the next day, which basically I'm saying it's not quite as bad as last time, but last time was pretty bad. We've got to see how it goes in these next couple days."

What are your options at safety if Ji'Ayir can't go?

"Well, we've got someone on practice squad. We've moved other positions there, a nickel and corner, to have some depth there. We've got some options."

Is CB Isaiah Oliver a possibility?

"Yeah, Oliver's a possibility."

Is S Logan Ryan a possibility?

"Anybody who says they're a corner or safety is a possibility. If those guys go down, then I would say a linebacker is a possibility. [General manager John] Lynch will be after that (laughter)."
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