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Kyle Shanahan on practice fights, quarterbacks, fan atmosphere at open practice, more

The 49ers head coach met with the media this weekend following the open practice. We have a full transcript, courtesy of 49ers PR. Watch video here.

You had some guys leave practice today, LB Malcom Smith, CB Rashard Robinson, any updates on where things stand for those guys?

“I think Rashard was just a little tightness, I believe, in his hamstring. That was more just being cautious with that. I think Malcolm’s seemed a little bit more serious. He’s going to get it checked out now. We’ll have more after he does that, but I have a feeling it’s going to be a little bit with Malcolm.”

Was it an upper body injury with him?

“Yeah. We think it was his chest area. You don’t know for sure, but that’s what it looked like.”

Did you like the players’ reaction to the energy, to the noise of the crowd?

“Yeah I did. We knew some people were going to be out there today which we were excited about. Definitely adds some more juice to camp. I really wanted to see how they would handle it. Are they going to go out there and freak out, and start making stuff up. It was good to see that they didn’t. They treated it like any other day. But, you try your hardest, but I know the guys were pumped to get out there. We walked out there and saw the fans out there, it definitely added a little juice for us to training camp.”

I know you went a lot of ones versus twos and vice versa, was that constructed the way wanted or did you want to see something in particular?

“No, that’s the way we’ve been doing it when we do non-scripted, move the ball type periods. You know, when we do our scripted team-run, team-pass, seven-on-seven, redzone, things like that it’s always ones-ones, twos-twos, threes-threes. When we get in more move the ball periods we go ones-twos, twos versus ones and then threes versus threes to end.”

You’ve talked in the past about every play has a rhyme or reason, setting up something else. Do you do that from day-to-day in training camp with your offense where you’re putting things in to show your defense different things?

“Yes. I mean, you’ve got to put in a whole package to teach your scheme. You can’t put everything in at once. Each day you put a little bit in and you try to marry it up as best as you can with what the defense is putting in that day so you both can attack each other the right way. There’s plenty of times where there’s certain plays that you want to call versus the defense but you know you’re like three days from getting there, and it’s very hard not to call them but you’ve got to wait until it comes in. You want to be competitive and win every day, but it’s also about teaching and trying to put these guys in the right situation to learn the schemes.”

You said that when you drafted QB C.J. Beathard that he was likely a developmental guy and probably wouldn’t be the backup right away. It seems like through camp QB Matt Barkley and C.J. have split reps with the twos. Where does it stand between those two guys in terms of the backup quarterback spot?

“Yeah, they’ve been competing. I think they’ve had even reps. I think it’s a good battle for us. We’ve been looking at it every day and they’re going to make it tough on us.”

What stood out about C.J. for you?

“Just throughout OTAs. We evaluated both through OTAs, wanted to see if he’d be ready to run with the twos a little bit more in training camp and he earned that through our 10 OTA practices and the mini camps he earned that. After we finish it all we go back and watch the tape and try to reevaluate it. We knew coming into training camp that it was what he had done at OTAs he earned the right to compete for that two spot”

How is rookie running back RB Matt Breida looking?

“Matt’s done a good job. You know, we’ve got some good competition there at running back. You know, Matt came in here as an undrafted guy so he’s coming in with a little bit of a chip on his shoulder. Since the first day he got here he’s attacked everything. The weight room, to the film room, and on the field. It’s good to see some of that pay off today for you guys.”

OL Joshua Garnett didn’t practice. Is that knee something that could linger?

“Yeah, I think he’s a little bit more in Malcom’s boat. Again, I don’t know exactly for sure, but I know there’s some stuff in his knee we’re probably going to have to clean up. I don’t think it’s anything long-term, but it’s going to be a little bit of time.”

The fear with Malcolm, is that long-term?

“Yeah, possibly. Yeah. Neither of them are good news, that’s for sure. But, we’re still holding out hope that they can help us this year.”

Defensive Coordinator Robert Saleh, since hiring him, what’s his biggest strength as a teacher to you?

“Robert’s a very smart, confident guy. He thinks about everything, he doesn’t just wing anything. He puts a lot of thought into everything he does. He’s very prepared. He’s very sound in what he thinks. If I make a quick, impulsive decision and tell him that something’s not good, he’s not just going to freak out and change. He’s pretty confident. He’s going to tell me why he likes it, why he needs it. He’s going to go look into it more, and that’s exactly what I’m looking for, a guy who believes in what he does, a guy who listens to everything and a guy who’s just pretty egoless and always just trying to do what’s best for the defense and best for his players.”

In the move the ball period it looked like the offense moved at least into the red zone every time except for maybe one. Offensive day would you say? Was that a sign that offense was ahead of the defense?

“Maybe yard-wise. I think we only got into the end zone once. I think the defense, they gave up some yards, gave up a couple keepers and things like that, but they kept us out of the end zone all those times except the one. Yards-wise the offense might have won the day, but what matters is the points. Unfortunately, there was only one score because they only kept score for the offense. So, we know that looks bad for the D, but I thought they did a good job getting them tired on those long drives and holding us twice down there.”

There was one play where WR Aldrick Robinson caught a ball and was able to get another 15 yards up-field. S Eric Reid put a hit on him. Should he have gone out of bounds?

“Oh, definitely. You better go out of bounds. Once you go inside you’re totally on your own. I couldn’t totally see it from my angle, it looked like he picked up 20 more yards. He went on his own and overcame coaching right there and did a good job. But, he can’t do that too much. It’s definitely the wrong decision until he proves us it’s right.”

What have you seen from Brandon OL Brandon Fusco since he’s been here?

“He’s done a good job. He came in here, he’s just grinded each day. He doesn’t say much. He goes about his job. He works, and he’s just a very reliable guy. When practice is over, you don’t notice him much, which is, to me, how I want it to be with the O-Line. I’m going to keep my eyes downfield and he’s doing his job. His man’s rarely making the play and you know what you’re getting with him.”

Is he kind of in the same category as G Zane Beadles, both guys who have started in this league?

“Yeah, they’ve both played football. They’re definitely both guys the game’s not too big for. You want to see how they do, and they’re both doing a new scheme and being asked to use some new techniques that they haven’t done before. It’s always neat with veterans who have had success in this league, when they’re willing to do that. They’re okay being uncomfortable, with being uncomfortable. They’ve been a little bit, we’ve gotten them out of their shell a little bit. When you do that it starts off bad, but they’re pretty mentally strong, confident people. They’ve both grinded with what we’ve asked them to do and now you can see it coming around and them getting better each day.”

You and general manager John Lynch said LB NaVorro Bowman would be competing for that starting spot. How has he responded to that and what have your impressions been of him?

“Bo has been great. He doesn’t say a whole lot. He just goes out there and does his job. Prepares for practice the right way every day. He competes. Looked like he made a lot of plays out there today too, especially in that team-run period. I’ve been very pleased with Bo and how he’s worked and the way he’s prepared himself to put himself in a situation to have a good year.”

We’ve seen a couple guys get upset at each other and start to square off but then back away from throwing punches or anything like that. Do you have a policy for on-field fights? Have you warned them against that type of thing?

“I try to treat it like a game. Guys don’t have to show us they’re tough by getting in a fight. If you’re scared to fight you’re not going to be tough enough to be on the team, so you don’t have to show us that. I want, we want to piss people off during the play, but the tougher guy is usually the guy who can get the other guy to get a penalty. You can’t just do that on game day. You’ve got to live every day like that. You can’t just turn that on and off. We’ve got a lot of competitive, tough guys who I think are ready to fight all the time. It’s can you use that energy the right way, use that anger on the field the right way and make sure you’re bothering other people and allowing them to get the penalties and not our own team.”

As someone who spent some of your youth here and now you’re back, can you talk about just the fan support particularly in the Santa Clara area, and in the South Bay?

“I didn’t totally know what to expect today, but it was real cool. You know, I drive in every morning and on the wall I see ‘Faithful Then and Faithful Now’ and I always think about that because that’s how I used to always feel back in the day. I grew up a fan of two teams. I was with the Broncos when I was real young, then it became the Niners going into middle school and high school. I was strong with them too. That’s how I always felt being a Niner Faithful growing up and now it’s kind of always weird when I drive in the morning and see ‘Faithful Then and Faithful Now’ because it kind of hits me and it’s like ‘Wow I am back here.’ I kind of feel that a little bit each day. You would think it’s worn off some, but getting into the stadium today and seeing all those fans out there was real cool. Got a lot of old feelings and it was neat to be around the Niner Faithful again.”

It looks like QB Brian Hoyer is on the same page with WR Marquise Goodwin and WR Pierre Garçon. How do you think that chemistry has been building throughout camp so far?

“They’ve put in a lot of work. They did it in OTAs right when we got here. They got it when the coaches got away for five weeks, and when they were on their own I know they met and worked. All of them came in at training camp with a chip on their shoulder, ready to go. I think all three of them have developed confidence with each other, and it hasn’t been fake because it’s been through their preparation at work that they put in. It’s good to see some good results with that.”

Through these move the ball drills you’re putting together a succession of long plays together. What have you seen good and bad from the team through those?

“I’m hoping they’re going to be long plays because we’re really trying to condition the team. So, there’s a couple times on those drives that there probably would’ve been a sack, which is going to get you into second or third-and-long and then the odds of punting are extremely high. So, when it’s very obvious I call a sack because you’ve got to owe it to those guys. But, if it’s close we kind of let it go because we want to get those long drives going and get our guys in football shape. There were a couple long ones today, I know one in particular [CB] K’Waun [Williams] had a sack on that definitely would’ve stopped one of those drives. But, we let it go because we wanted to push him a little bit. So, it’s a fine line. Some of those D-Linemen are going to get mad at me if I do that too much because they’re grinding every play. So, there’s a fine line with it, but we’re also trying to get work out there too and not just totally focus on winning the drill.”

With OL Trent Brown, did you initially have any worries about whether he was going to fit your scheme, and if so, how’s he kind of answered those?

“Yeah. I mean, I think when you have a big guy who’s that long, everyone can see his pass protection ability. But, we run the ball a lot and we ask a lot of our linemen to really run numbers to numbers. I didn’t know how it would be when you look at a big guy like him. I’ve never had a guy like that. There’s not many people on the planet like that too, to tell you the truth. But, you never know. When we got here and we asked him to cut down weight, he cut down. He lost as much weight as anyone in our building. He’s gone at it each day, he’s continued to lose weight in camp and he’s showing us that, we knew he was a good pass protector, but he’s shown us he can help us in the run game too.”