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Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Brock Purdy, Steve Wilks preview 49ers-Chiefs Super Bowl 58 matchup

Feb 2, 2024 at 6:14 PM--

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San Francisco 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy and defensive coordinator Steve Wilks spoke with reporters after Friday's practice, as the team prepares for Super Bowl 58 against the Kansas City Chiefs. Here is everything they had to say.

Transcripts provided by the San Francisco 49ers Communications staff.

QB Brock Purdy

Yesterday, 49ers CEO Jed York was telling a story that head coach Kyle Shanahan came up to him the first week of training camp and said QB Brock Purdy's the best quarterback on the roster already. When did you have an idea of how much Kyle believed in you?

"When I first got here, I was obviously just trying to learn the playbook and compete every day as hard as I could on the field. And then, over time, I didn't really know ever. I was going through the preseason games. He wasn't really saying much. Obviously, he was trying to develop [Dallas Cowboys QB] Trey [Lance] as best as he could and all that and we were all being there for Trey and helping Trey out. And then when the season sort of came around and I found out I made the team, I was like, oh, okay, I think he respects the way I play and how I handle things. And that was really about it. And then, I got my opportunity against Miami and we sort of talked after that and that's sort of when he started telling me like, 'hey, since you've been here, you've been doing everything right.' That kind of thing. So that was really about it though."

How much has the 2019 Super Bowl been used on tape from Kyle this week? Or is that too far back?

"When you talk about sort of just the history of the two teams, we've talked about it, the Super Bowl and the stage and sort of how that game went. But in terms of like scheme and stuff, it's different, I'd say. We're obviously studying this year's team against the Chiefs and what they've done the last however many games this year. And yeah, so that's really where our mindset is at and moving forward."

Your life has been pretty much a whirlwind for the last year and now it's like a tornado basically going into the Super Bowl, everything that goes into it. Kyle had talked about everybody wanting their affairs in order before you go there. Are you all fixed up with your family, everybody from Arizona that's going? Are you a part of that at all? What do you know about that part of it?

"Yeah, I don't have a big group or anything going to the Super Bowl, it's really just my immediate family, my fiancé's immediate family. That's really about it. So, obviously it's a big game and trying to handle everything up until we leave and get on the plane to go to Vegas. Just in terms of who's going to the game, all that kind of stuff. Obviously, our scheme and what we're trying to do against the Chiefs so that when we get on the plane and we're going through all this stuff throughout the week we understand what we're trying to do and the plays that we're running and all that stuff. So, I think it's huge and Kyle's harped on it. Like, we want to handle everything before we get on this plane this week as if we were playing this week. So, it's been good. It's been efficient."

It seemed like LB Fred Warner had an extended huddle with you guys yesterday before practice started. What's been his message to the team and what's been the overall message from the veterans about this week and the practices this week?

"Yeah, I mean obviously every practice, every moment matters. We all understand the stage that this game is going to be played on and you don't want to get to Vegas and with all the stuff going on let all that other stuff on the outside get in the way. And so, Fred and all the vets really have been just harping on every moment right now, this week is huge. And so, at the same time, who we are as a team is good enough and we just have to continue to do what we've done all year, every single practice, nothing lackadaisical or just chill at practice. Still bring the intensity and everything every day as best as we can. So, that's what Fred has harped on and that's what all the vets have been saying too. And we're totally behind it. Everyone else is. Obviously, I think once we get to Vegas we'll start feeling it even more, but at the same time, we have to do what we've done all season long because that's good enough."

What crossover have you had with Kansas City Chiefs Patrick Mahomes over your career? Did you talk to him after that game in 2022?

"I haven't talked to him or anything. So, obviously respect the heck out of who he is and as a player and what he's done in the league. It's fun to watch, but I haven't had any interaction with him."

Does TE George Kittle's personality keep things loose on game days?

"Yeah. He keeps it fun, man. Like, he just has a good perspective on playing the game of football. Obviously, you have to be so detailed in what you do and every little play and moment is huge. We all get that. But George sort of brings us back to, 'Hey, we're playing a game, we can have fun with this.' We have such a good team and you never know if we're going to have a team like this again kind of thing. So, he is like, let's enjoy every single snap that we have together, every drive, every game. And sometimes I'm a little annoyed, I'm like, come on dude, let's get into it. But he brings me back down to having some fun with the game. So we all love it."

I don't know if you can quantify it, but how important is it to have sort of a variety of leaders and communicators and the different styles people have on this team?

"It's awesome because you get to talk to guys all the time about their experiences throughout their years and their career. Obviously, their experiences here. I'm talking to [DL] Arik Armstead and what it was like in 2019 for him, and obviously even when he first got here and what it was like until now. And same with George and Fred, [LB] Dre Greenlaw, his rookie year playing the Super Bowl. Same with [WR] Deebo [Samuel]. Like, you've got all these guys that have played in big moments and big games and all those things have added up to their experiences and you get to ask about them to them. And so, everyone's got a little different perspective and maturity to them. So for me, as a young guy in the league, it's pretty fun. And I'm very blessed to have those kind of guys because I get to ask them and everyone's got a new perspective on it and everyone's mature and everyone understands what it takes. So, for all of us young guys on the team, we're very lucky to have those older guys to sort of put their arms around us and sort of teach us the way."

How much have you asked just this week, particularly about the Super Bowl and what kind of lessons have you taken from those conversations?

"I've asked a bunch of guys really throughout the last couple weeks and so just as the playoffs has rolled around, the big games, the moments, what changes, what their mindsets are. I've asked almost all the guys. And so, I've taken something away from every single guy. I'm not really going say specific things from specific people, but all I can say is the leadership and the experience with these guys here, you could tell how much the guys are hungry for one because you never know when an opportunity like this comes around. Like Trent Williams, he's played forever and he hasn't had an opportunity to go to the Super Bowl and play in one yet. So, this is huge but every single guy's got a cool perspective."

Have you reached out to any quarterbacks who have been through this? Just get their perspective on what this week's going be like?

"I've talked to [former NFL QB] Kurt Warner just through some interviews and stuff, sort of what he went through throughout his Super Bowl experiences. [Former 49ers QB] Steve Young, a tiny bit, nothing crazy yet. Hopefully I'll be able to reach out to him and talk. But outside of that, it's been such a whirlwind with our games played and practices and everything now and who we are as a team."

The last two games, you guys have gotten off to slow starts, but you've finished fast. How do you reverse that? How do you get off to a faster start in this game? Is there anything that you can think of that would maybe help you guys get off to a faster start on that?

"I feel like all of us, we're sort of learning just that chip on our shoulder, the mindset of our backs being against the wall and we need it. That's when our best style of ball comes out and we all step up to the plate and play our best. So, whatever that mindset is early on, we need to get to it. And so, obviously we need to do a better job with third downs early in the game and converting on those and staying on the field. But I mean, when we needed to come back, we step it up, we pick it up, the intensity, everyone's just on it and on point. So, if we can have that kind of mindset early on, just like we have all year and come out firing away, I think that's when our defense plays well with that. So that's something that we all have to talk about and be better at for sure. And that starts with me."

Jed York told a story yesterday about when one of the first meetings happened with the team here in Santa Clara that your parents were there taking notes and he saw that and thought it was different. How much have your parents helped you and supported you throughout this journey and how are they going to support you this week going into your biggest game?

"Obviously everything that I do in my life, what I believe and knowing that I'm loved by my parents, it's been huge for me. It sort of allows me to just go and play and know that they've always got my back. That's been huge for me. And so, obviously their perspective on life and how they've handled their life, I've looked up to that a lot. And so, obviously when I first got here, they were just working hard, just like I was in terms of how parents in the NFL can support their kid and they've done a great job and a tremendous job with that. And obviously this week more than anything, they're going to love on me, support me, and win or lose they're going to always have my back and as a player and as a person to know that it's huge."

I spoke to your mom this weekend and she mentioned that when she asked you what do you wanted to do, you kept saying, I want play football. And as a mom, she was very concerned and asked what's your plan B? But you never had one. At that moment. Did you ever imagine you would actually be playing football and on your way to a Super Bowl?

"For me, my mindset was I'm going to give it my all. I'm going to give it my shot. That's up to God if he's going to allow me to play football or not or go a different direction. And so that was my honest point to my mom. I was like, I'm going to give it my all and I don't know what plan B is, but God will lead me where he needs me if it's not to be. So, I kept telling my mom that and so in the back of her mind I'm sure she was a little worried, but more than anything, I know that she supports me and loves me and it's been a blessing this last year and a half with her supporting me through it all."

Did you see the billboards of you in Arizona last week?

"Yeah. So we know, we know the guy that did that. His name's Kevin Row, he's the man. But yeah, he's just got my support out there and he's a family friend, so he put 'Let's Go Brock Purdy' on all his billboards around Arizona and a bunch of family friends were reaching out about it, so it was pretty cool."

You threw that pass to WR Brandon Aiyuk because you trusted him. If you actually talked to guys that he went to even junior college with, they thought it was a great catch, but they said we saw that all the time in practice. Is that kind of why you trusted him because you've seen that too?

"Yeah. I mean, you can go back to camp, OTAs, you name it. The kind of catches that B.A. makes at practice, it's pretty insane. Just his range and his ability to move in the air, all of it, all into one. And so yeah, when there's a moment like that, he's definitely one of the guys I can trust to just throw it up 50/50 and B.A.'s going to make a play. So, he is very acrobatic. He can track a ball really well, all of it. And so, like I said, one of the most underrated receivers in the league, I think he's one of the best in the league for me to just throw a ball up like that. You definitely as a quarterback know and trust that he's going to come down with it."

Those intermediate throws that are kind of over a linebacker, between the safety caught between the hash marks, and sometimes there like four or five defenders kind of in the area, does that take a certain level? I mean, obviously you have to trust that your guy's going to be there. Does it take gut sometimes to let that ball go when there's that much traffic and they're not game manager throws?

"Yeah, I mean at the end of the day, I think it's anticipation, it's trust with your receivers. We run these routes time and time again, like I said, going back to OTAs and camp and stuff. So that's where it starts. And then once you get in the heat of battle, obviously I think it comes down to film study, what the coverage is saying as I'm dropping back and where I'm anticipating the guy to be and to trust my guy to get under it over a backer, all those kinds of things, they all come into that play. So, it's not like I'm just dropping back and throwing blind and hoping my guy's going to be there. No. It comes down to understanding what the defense is doing, what we're trying to do, where my guy's going be and throwing it on time more than anything. So that's what it comes down to."

Defensive Coordinator Steve Wilks

Opening comments:

"I'm excited about this opportunity along with everyone else, but of course we are looking to go finish the job. I know you guys have a lot of questions in regards to last week as well as this week so I'll open up the floor."

How big of a challenge does Kansas City Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes offer you guys?

"Well, it is definitely a challenge. Not only him, you look at [Kansas City Chiefs TE Travis] Kelce, you talk about two First-Ballot Hall of Famers there. We definitely have to prepare and be ready. It's different things that we have to do. Number one, he's doing a tremendous job, really extended plays. We talked all week. It's two plays within one down. When the ball snaps and then once he starts to scramble. So he's phenomenal. The best I've ever seen for just buying time, winning with his feet and getting the ball where it needs to go down the field."

There's a lot of improvisation between those two, Mahomes and Kelce. When two players have that, what can you do on defense? It seems like any sort of set plan can be foiled by adlibbing?

"They do adlib and that they do a great job of it. But we still have to have a great plan. We've still got to execute and finish. When they start to adlib we've got to do a great job of really plastering the man within our zone and really straining to make sure we finish the rep."

What's unique about their relationship that they know exactly where the other one is going on the field? Have you seen a relationship between a quarterback and a tight end like that?

"With anything, it's time. You build a strong relationship over time and they seem to be in sync with one another in regards to Mahomes could be going to his right and Kelce really is going to his right as well, and he's throwing the opposite way. They're always on point with one another. So that's the point that we're trying to emphasize in practice is that the down is never over. You've got to be ready to extend it down once Mahomes starts scrambling."

How important is it to have somebody like CB Charvarius 'Mooney' Ward in the secondary who's been through this and won a Super Bowl?

"It is great. His experience being there before, I'm sure he shared that with the players. But the key thing with all of us is not to get so caught up with the emotions of this game to where it overwhelms us. We've got to go out there and execute and have a calm demeanor about ourselves, but also a sense of urgency."

Head coach Kyle Shanahan, LB Fred Warner and DL Nick Bosa spoke yesterday about how they felt that effort and pursuit was an issue for the defense in the NFC Championship Game. What do you attribute that to? What do you feel that was?

"I think you really have to ask them individually. Collectively as a team, I can tell you as a defense it's unacceptable. Alright. We talked about that. I wish I could tell these guys on play four, on play 27, this is what's going to happen. You don't know. So we've got to make sure that we play every down as if it's going to be the difference in the ball game. And you could see on those particular plays, it wasn't to our standard. Those guys understand and know that and quite honestly it was embarrassing."

With the screen game and short passes the Chiefs like to run, what makes them so successful with that and how do you kind of counteract that?

"Well, one is just getting the ball out quickly and into their playmaker's hands. Once again, just trying to get things on the perimeter with Kelce and, then having those lead blockers. So we've got to do a great job setting the edges as we talked about all year on the perimeter. Whether it's the toss sweep, jet sweep or the actual screen game itself. So that's something that we've been emphasizing."

Did you feel the linebackers not necessarily the D-Line setting the edges, but getting more vertical up the field was better or was it roughly the same as last week?

"We had some spurts where we did it well and then we showed some where we're inconsistent. It's just really about trying to pull the trigger. Sometimes on those permanent games, it's not anything dealing with the scheme. It's just that individual ready to go make a play and just got to pull the trigger."

How does Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid use motion and things like that differently maybe than other coaches and how big of a challenge is that?

"I don't want to say what he used differently. I think all offensive coaches try to create different dynamics with the motion. It could be trying to get a receiver off press. It could be really trying to if you're a big-man team, trying to disrupt your timing, as far as who you have within the bunch or stack formations. They do a lot of that. We have to do a great job with our communication, making sure that we're on the same page."

You speak of the emotions going into the Super Bowl and just controlling them. You're about to take this trip over to Las Vegas and it's an entire week of media, publicity and basically a celebration. So how do you keep these players focused before they even leave Santa Clara on what's happening on Sunday?

"Kyle does a great job of that from a standpoint of painting a picture that needs to be painted each week. This is a normal week for us. Our approach is as if we're playing this week. You did mention there is somewhat of a circus once we get there with the media and all that stuff and having to go through the fan fair of that process the early part of the week. I don't really consider it to be a celebration until after we win. We'll get our guys locked back in on Wednesday as we approach and get ready for practice."

What do you think of Kansas City's run game? It seems like it's become more of a featured part of their attack.

"[Kansas City Chiefs RB Isaac] Pacheco, I think he's phenomenal. The guy runs hard between the tackles, outside. We talked all week, we've got a gang tackle this guy. He's not going to go down on first contact. A lot of respect for him, just watching him over the years or last year. Then also just seeing what he's done this year is just he's phenomenal."

What are you seeing from DT Javon Kinlaw? It seems like he has done a nice job at protecting LB Dre Greenlaw and Warner's legs and just absorbing the interior guys. How has he looked in the last couple games to you?

"I thought he's performed well. He's been doing a great job for us all year. I'm happy about his performance. Looking for that consistency in the Super Bowl. When you talk about the guys up front, we do have to do a great job of keeping the double teams off. But likewise, our linebackers have got to do a good job of getting downhill and getting the double teams off as well. So it's hand in hand in what we're trying to do with the D-Line and the linebackers."

How would you describe Mooney's personality and just kind of what guy type of guy he is?

"Mooney, he's real consistent and he has somewhat of a laid-back demeanor, but extremely focused. I was watching tape yesterday, I was telling the coaches you can tell somewhat the excitement of going against his old team because you could see a different gear yesterday and just how he was going about his just technique and running to the ball and things like that. So, I love Mooney. I love his preparation and what he brings each and every week. Second-Team All-Pro, Pro Bowl player, well deserving."

What's challenging about stopping a run against a team that uses two and three tight end formations?

"When you're talking about challenging, I think rather one tight end, two tight ends, it's challenging as a whole just because of what we just talked about with the running back. They create different dynamics when they come to 13. And to be quite honest, what you just mentioned, sometimes it's not really the case they get in that 13, all of a sudden they spread you out and it looks like 11. So you may try to bring in an extra lineman, all of a sudden now you're really defending 11 personnel. So we've got to really get a feel for what they're doing throughout the course of the game and continue to try to stay on schedule."

General manager John Lynch said earlier that Mooney has an innocence to him. Do you think that contributes to his laid-back personality and do you see that?

"Yeah, I do. A true innocence. But, I still say he has that dog in him once he gets on the field. I love his demeanor once he gets out there. He's physical. He's tough. He fits our DNA for sure."

How many films do you want to watch in a game of this magnitude because Mahomes threw 14 picks this year, but he hasn't thrown one in like four or five games. Is there anything that you've seen that he's changed from early in the year to late in the year?

"I think you take your time to really dig through a lot of stuff. We watch a lot of tape as coaches together and separate. Going back to previous Super Bowls, to whether it's Tampa, it's us, previous years. This system hasn't changed. Their system hasn't changed. So you try to figure out things that may have hurt you in the past and feeling like they may try to exploit that. So, you watch a lot of tape."

From a defensive coordinator's point of view, when you're looking at the 49ers offense like you did last year, they obviously have a lot of talented guys at skill positions. Where does T Trent Williams come into play when you're making a defensive scheme game plan?

"One of the best tackles to play the game. I think First-Ballot Hall of Famer. You definitely have to know exactly where he is in the standpoint of trying to create different matchups. Stunts to his side. Different things. You know they're going to run the ball there. When it comes to pass pro, he can definitely take care of the best rusher one-on-one by himself. So, I don't know how much you can really do to avoid him in that situation. You just know he is there and run opposite."

The Ravens had an elite unit and the defensive coordinator is getting a job in Seattle. I think people have an instinct to say, copy game plans and how much validity is there to see a team do something well on defense? Do you copy it or is it something where you see what try and fits into your scheme from that?

"I think it's a combination of both. We just talked about how much tape you watch. So you go back and as you're watching tape, you're trying to figure out what created problems for them. Whether it's against the Ravens. Whether it's last year. Whether it's two years ago. Then you take that data and you try to incorporate that into what you do schematically. So, I think you're right. It's a combination of both."

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