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Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports


Kyle Shanahan provides final updates ahead of 49ers-Packers Divisional Playoff matchup

Jan 18, 2024 at 4:42 PM--


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San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan spoke with reporters after Thursday's practice, providing final updates ahead of the team's Divisional Playoff matchup against the Green Bay Packers. Here is everything he had to say.

Transcript provided by the San Francisco 49ers Communications staff.

Opening comments:

"Injuries for the game: [DL] Clelin Ferrell will be out and [LB Dre] Greenlaw is questionable."

Does that mean S George Odum is full?

"Everyone else is full."

You'll make a move with him tomorrow?

"Yes."

You do it Saturday at 1:00 pm?

"Yeah, Saturday by 1:00 pm, I believe is the last time."

The whole rest versus rust thing, every time this season you guys came off significant rest, you had a pretty dominant performance. How much did those experiences kind of factor in how you managed the last couple weeks?

"Not much. I think we've had some dominant performances we've had when we've had no rest. I think we've played bad when we've had no rest. But, you try to go with how you feel your team is and our team's ready to go. So, excited to see how we play."

You guys are going to get a lot of rain over the next three days. How have you felt about the field and how it's played in the rain in the past in the stadium?

"Good. Most of the fields are the same. The ones that are real bad, but ours is good. I think it's held up well and very similar to our practice field. [Director of groundskeeping Matt] Greiner's the man."

Green Bay Packers QB Jordan Love started the Dallas game real fast and he looks like he's in great rhythm. You normally defer to taking the ball to the second half. Would you consider taking the ball at the beginning of this game to try to disrupt his rhythm?

"Nope."

When was the last time you did pick receiving the ball?

"I think he can have rhythm in the beginning of the third quarter too. I think he had some good rhythm on the second drive, also. I don't think it's because he started with the ball personally, but that's just everyone's preference. It's always good to get up to a big lead. It's also good to score at the end of the second quarter and get the ball first, just like Dallas did, which would've got them right back into it if they did score in the opening third and Green Bay didn't answer. If I felt our team was struggling in something that would change your mind. I usually think that's just coincidence. When you play good football, usually you score. When things don't happen, you don't."

When was the last time you remember that you did receive the ball to open the game?

"I would guess probably preseason."

The only time from your whole seven years here?

"Probably. I can't remember. It doesn't stick out. I'd have to probably have a big reason for it. Yeah, probably just preseason."

What's the advantage of deferring? Is it just the opportunity to get the ball back?

"Yeah, just to kind of lap them. That's the advantage. If not, I think it usually plays out even. But you've got a chance to get an extra possession. I didn't used to know this or think it, but just listening to people for the last 15 years. I didn't think about it all growing up or when I first got into the League, but watching it all now and really studying it since I was in Atlanta, I just feel pretty strong about it."

Quarterbacks coach Brian Griese had said some of his sideline discussions in-game with QB Brock Purdy get heated. Brock seemed to suggest those are one-way conversations. Do you have any sense of how fired up or intense Griese is during games? How much of how he pushes Brock and the standard he has for him has helped him?

"I don't know exactly how it goes over there. They're usually sitting down talking, but I get pretty heated. Griese handles me pretty well. So I don't think he's out of control or anything. If he was, I definitely would've pushed that button a number of times. Brock has that in him too. Brock's a competitive dude. It's not like he's just going to sit there. I think we're all kind of similar. We like to have honest real talks and when you do it throughout a football game it's intense. You expect to have that. If you ever work with someone who you don't have those type of conversations with, it's usually not that genuine of a relationship. I love those guys' relationships. I think they've been great together. I think when you're like that and you're consistently like that, I think guys really appreciate that because it's how I'd want people to be with me just so you can get the most out of yourself."

When you hired defensive coordinator Steve Wilks you wanted him to continue what you've been doing defensively for the most part. What kind of challenge is that for a coach who comes into a spot where he can't bring his own staff and then also still kind of try to put his imprint on it? What has that process been like?

"I think it's a huge challenge, especially when you've done football for a while. Steve can do whatever he wants schematically and has a lot of experience in places he has been. But when you do come into a place that's had some players in some spots for a while, the position coach has been with those players for a while and that's what we were looking for. I don't want to change the whole staff. So he had to come in and feel it out too and just see how he looked at it. The challenges are you're going to always do what's natural to you. If you don't it's really hard to do what's right in the heat of battle. But in order to kind of get on the same page, you've really got to spend a whole offseason just asking questions, watching film. Something I always sold to him hard was the stuff I always heard from my dad growing up. I know he came out here in '92, lived in the Marriott for about five months before we moved out and he got five months to learn the Niners offense that wasn't changing. He was the only guy who came in and he sat there for three months and called [former QB] Steve [Young] in and interviewed him what he thought the offense was. He called [former WR] Jerry [Rice] and asked him what he thought the offense was. He did it to [former FB] Tom Rathman. He did it to every player. Then he watched 10 years of tape, which we have too. It's recorded every meeting that [New York Jets head coach Robert] Saleh's had, [Houston Texans head coach] DeMeco's [Ryans] had, I've had. So there's things you can see and work at that allow you to kind of have an idea where everyone else is coming from. When you hear that, everyone has a different view of how it affects their area, but when you kind of hear everybody's area and get the big picture for yourself and understand it and now you grasp it. Then you go into the games and you gained all that knowledge. But now it's naturally you is going to be mixed with what you did all offseason. How that comes out throughout the year on how you adjust with injuries, what you're going against. It's a ton of work, but it's a ton of work to get ready for these 17 games and hopefully you get more. He put in the work. It's been awesome going through the ride with him this year."

How are you as a head coach able to evaluate how well he's grasping it? Is it from practice or like is there a way for you to kind of gauge that as the season goes?

"Yeah, all of it. Just practice probably the most thing. Games, watching them after. What changes in practice that week. Just the adjustments. That's what football always is. Just compared to our side, we have a system, but what is that system? It depends what week we're in and depends who's healthy. All those types of things. So you've got to constantly be adjusting. But, you just get a feel on who understands what's been going on, who can work with the other guys and really how the players react."

Was your dad able to install his own blocking scheme in '92 or was that up to former offensive line coach Bob McKittrick?

"No, they didn't do that until they went to Denver."

You mentioned you never call fake punts? Why don't you?

"I don't never."

You haven't here.

"I actually did once."

Did it happen?

"We checked out of it. I didn't know there was a check out of it. It was one of my biggest arguments on the sidelines, which I was embarrassed about because I was actually mic'd up that day. So I got to hear it and I couldn't believe how bad it was. But, maybe we did call that one. Maybe I'm just messing with you guys with [P] Mitch [Wishnowsky] and maybe we'll have some this weekend."

You generally have a philosophy about that?

"Yeah, I don't like to trick people into winning the game. You want to have game plan stuff and try to make it the easiest for the players. That's why if something's there and it's consistent and you feel like it, then no doubt. But it rarely is like that. The time I thought it was, we checked out of it. It's not about rolling the dice. We'll have no problem doing that type of stuff. But you do it if you have to. I think why would you do that stuff if you feel you've got a bunch of other ways to win the game because to make a risk when those types of things can easily lose you to the game, you got to do that stuff if you feel that's what it takes to win. But I don't think we've been in that situation for a little bit and it's probably like, the one I remember calling was I think our second year when we finished 4-12."

It's very rare that you have a full speed padded practice at this time of the year. How much of being able to do that a couple times going to help you in going into Saturday?

"Oh, it's huge. We need to do it when you have so many guys who didn't get enough reps our last game on the Sunday versus the Rams. Just having those times, I think it helps a ton. These guys got a full padded 70 plays or what it is just a few days ago in a game. Pads are very important to people, to a team and how they play. We practice almost the same way without them. So that's why we can get away with it. But when you miss the games and you don't get stuff like that, I think it's crucial. One of our best practices I can remember was a full padded one in Miami before the Super Bowl, just a couple days. You take those extra weeks off and stuff. Most of the guys want the pads on by then. Usually by the second period it's like, 'all right, that's enough. We can take them off.' But guys want to feel it, they complain a little bit about it, not all of them, but also I have some guys undercover who want me to put the pads on. They just don't want their peers to get mad at them. So they try to send me hints. Then I usually call them out so they blame it on them and not me."

FB Kyle Juszczyk said that when he's not touching the ball a lot, it's easy for him to get down on his offensive contributions. He's talked to you about that. What do you remember about those conversations and how have you seen his growth maybe in that area?

"Kyle is such a good football player. I think he's better at fullback now than when he got here. I think when he got here he was the best fullback in the league. He's changed his body at times. He's always looking to adjust to each offseason. You think as he gets older he still comes back like ready to go. He's always been able to make plays. We gave him a lot more opportunities back in the day and not because he was younger because I know he can make those same plays. We just have more guys. Kyle's a cool dude because he understands the guys. He understands some of the weapons we have. But, every time we go to Kyle, when do you guys see him not make the play? He almost always does. If you're like that as an athlete, you definitely want more. I know how bad he does. He's a guy who doesn't shy away from anything, who truly believes he can win the game for us at any moment. When you truly believe that, it's really tough and when you've proven it to not to get those ops. So I get how that wears on him. I love that he will come and talk to me about it every once in a while. But the cool thing about Kyle is when I'm honest with him and I tell the reasons he doesn't disagree. He understands some of the people that are around here that do get the ball a little bit more. Then it's easy because he's a smart guy who'll do anything to help us win. When you say something that makes sense that helps us win, then it's good."

Several of the players have said that they really love the plan this week. Is that part of your job to not just to come up with a plan but to sell them on the plan verbally in meetings prior to them hitting the field?

"I hope not. Maybe when I was 28 and I was up there and guys weren't so sure. If I have to sell the plan and stuff then I'm wasting a lot of energy. Our guys know the deal. Hopefully they like the plan most weeks. We put everything on tape and we try to show everything. We don't put a lot of bad stuff on there. So I think you naturally are always trying to sell it, but I don't really think of it like that. You're trying to get guys motivated to perform and confidence going into a game. When you can get them to believe in the plan they go into the game with a lot more confidence."

You've have a lot of players get awards, All-Pro and all that. I imagine WR Brandon Aiyuk getting All-Pro hits a little bit different. What was it like for him?

"I was so happy for B.A. because I know how disappointed he was that he didn't get Pro Bowl or the First-Team. I don't think much about that stuff because I don't take that stuff, for lack of a better word, I think it's kind of a joke. Just in terms of it's not automatic. There's so many good players who haven't made it and then there's some guys in years that shouldn't have who do. Most of the time they get it right. But it's such a big deal when it's said and done. When you're done playing, all you guys talk about are people's careers, not just you guys, me, everybody. It's how many Pro Bowls? How many All-Pros? How many playoff wins? How many Super Bowl wins? All that stuff. When it comes to voting and stuff, I feel for those guys because it is a big deal. But just because they don't make it doesn't mean you weren't one of the best players in the league. I think he got that news at first with the Pro Bowl. But the All-Pro is the real one. I was just so happy he got that because he definitely deserved both. I think he'll get it next year too because of it."



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