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Kyle Shanahan talks Jimmy Garoppolo surgery, Joe Staley’s effort, wide receivers

The 49ers head coach was around to answer questions in anticipation to Sunday’s game against the Arizona Cardinals. We have a full transcript.

Opening comments:

“[WR Dante] Pettis is the only one who is for sure out. Questionable is going to be [RB Matt] Breida, [WR Marquise] Goodwin, [T Mike] McGlinchey, [C/G Weston] Richburg, [T Joe] Staley, [CB Richard] Sherman and [DB Jimmie] Ward. Ward’s the new one. He tweaked his hammy at the end of practice yesterday. He’s had a history with it, so he didn’t practice today. We’ll see how it feels on Sunday.”

How did Joe Staley look today?

“He looked good. His first day out. All of them, the fact that they were out there, it’ll give them a chance to go on Sunday. We’ll see how they feel then. Hopefully they’ll feel two days better than they were today.”

And Goodwin, how is he coming along?

“About the same. It’ll without a doubt be a game-time decision. I’d say it’s 50-50.”

Do you guys go over at all the fact that the Cardinals have won seven in a row against you? Do you get into that kind of history thing to try to--?

“No. I just found that out, to tell you the truth, from you. No. I don’t look that far back. I know they got us the two games last year. So, we definitely remember those two well, me personally and the guys that were here last year. It’s a new coaching staff. Players change every year. You don’t go too much into that, but definitely would like to change that.”

When you were researching QB C.J. Beathard before the draft, I know obviously it starts with the tape, but when you did your deep background research, what did you find about just sort of how he is with his family? I know he has a young daughter and things like that. How much did that come up?

“Not too much. We knew the history with his last name and his grandfather and everything and all the athletes that have been in their family, and the talented voices they also have in their family. C.J. even has it a little bit. He sang at our player’s party at the end of training camp. So, he does a pretty good job. But, no, he’s from a special family. They’ve had a lot of people successful in a lot of different areas. You never know for sure until you get around someone, but he’s been very impressive since he’s been here. The way he handles himself, you can tell he was raised very well.”

How can someone who is sort of unassuming still be a good leader that galvanizes people around him?

“I think the biggest key in being a leader is being yourself. People will follow people who are themselves, that have special qualities. And that’s who C.J. is. He’s not going to come in and try to be anything different for someone else. He’s going to be the same guy he’s been his whole life. Who that is, is something people respect. So, there’s nothing he has to try to do. He’s not a loud guy, but if he thinks something is wrong you will see no hesitation with that guy to correct it. The way he goes about it, he’s not scared of confrontation. He’s himself and he’s confident in that. He does things the right way.”

Have you spoken with QB Jimmy Garoppolo since his procedure?

“Just texts. I haven’t got a chance to speak with him yet. I’ll actually probably call him on my ride home. Hopefully, he’ll be awake. We’ll see. He’s probably relaxing. But, I’m sure he’s doing alright. I heard good news about it. Not to get into any real, deep details or specifics, which I usually don’t remember or understand anyway, when I ask how the surgery went, they say, ‘As good as it could’ve for an ACL.’ They give you the thumbs up and say it was one of the best ones they’ve had. We expect it to be good news for an ACL surgery.”

What about the timeline? Is there a rough timeline?

“I haven’t gotten a timeline yet. I know you guys will probably hold me to it. I’m hoping that he’ll be able to get into OTAs and do some non-contact stuff with throwing the ball and everything. It’s always a little bit better when you’re dealing with a quarterback and stuff as opposed to other positions because you can get them in hopefully in seven-on-seven drills a little bit early and things like that, which helps those guys get involved a lot faster.”

So, roughly June would be something where he could do some of the stuff?

“Yeah. I’m also just guessing right now. I wouldn’t say for sure. When someone tells me that they felt very good about the surgery and how it went, then that’s usually about the normal timeline.”

You mentioned on the radio today that you’d love to have the guys on defense up the middle sort of play together and build continuity. Do you attribute some of the tackling issues or the unevenness on defense so far to the fact that so many guys have been shuffling in and out in the middle of the defense?

“Yeah, of course. But, that’s not everything. But, that’s any team. When you have guys in and out, whether it’s starters or backups or stuff, that’s always going to affect teams. I compare up the middle in our defense very similar to how I compare our offensive line. When you’re running zone scheme with five guys and usually a tight end right next to him, it’s how the six of those guys move together and how they can adjust to things on the move. When you play three-deep defense and you have two hook linebackers who sit in the middle who are almost responsible for in-between the hashes to about three yards inside the numbers, that’s a lot of space for two guys reading eyes. Then you’ve got a safety in the middle who’s working with them and then you’ve got a guy coming down, a strong safety, who will rock and roll like this. So, it’s four guys who move with the quarterback’s eyes. You can’t defend everything. So, when a quarterback looks somewhere, you guys have got to move together to move back. That’s also tied into the rush and how quick the rush can get there. So, when you play those type of schemes, the longer guys play together, the better they do. That was one of the best things Seattle had going for them. You can see that with Jacksonville. They have a number of guys, it started with [Los Angeles Chargers defensive coordinator] Gus [Bradley] being there, but since they brought in the new guys and everything, and kept most of the defensive staff, it’s been a lot of the same players over and over again. We saw that in Carolina with a different scheme just going against [Carolina Panthers LB Luke] Kuechly and [Carolina Panthers LB] Thomas Davis year after year, they all start to move together. That’s what they’re going though in Arizona too, just like us. It’s a great scheme. They’ve got some good players, but it takes time for 11 guys to work together.”

You suggested this on the radio this morning, but are you impressed by the effort that Joe Staley is showing to try to get back for Sunday’s game?

“Yes, very impressed. I know it means a lot to him. I know he had a serious injury last week where I know he wanted to come back in the second half but he couldn’t. I know he’s done everything this week to get himself ready to go. Today was his first day of practice. I know I said on the radio this morning, I got in pretty early and it’s rare you see a player in the weight room at 5:40 just doing stuff to try to get ready for practice. I know today was important to him just to give himself a chance to get out there because very rarely if you can’t show anything on Friday in practice, very rarely is it even an option to play on Sunday. So, he showed enough, he worked hard to where he was able to show enough so at least now we have a chance to play him on Sunday.”

What kind of things could he do there at 5:40 to get ready for practice?

“I’d have to guess. I’ve checked out of that for a long time. He’s probably in the Cryo Chamber where they freeze him, do stuff like that. He’s probably doing a bunch of weird bends and things like that that I’m sure Joe will tell you all about if you ask him. But, everything he can do to get his body ready to work.”

There was a unique ESPN report saying that people in the league wanted you guys to trade for a higher profile quarterback like Philadelphia Eagles QB Nick Foles because you’ve got all of these primetime games coming up. I assume you don’t care that much about TV ratings, but do you even know about that and what is your reaction to that?

“Probably the same as right now, I laughed a little bit. It’s very comical. I wish we could worry about that stuff and help people out. That’s definitely the last of our worries. If you guys judge us on ratings and everything and they gave us a trophy at the end of the year, a Super Bowl trophy for ratings, then I would maybe think that way. But, that’s not how it works.”

As far as the X position, if Goodwin isn’t able to play, is that WR Richie James Jr.?

“Richie James will definitely be involved. With Pettis being out, we have until one o’clock tomorrow to decide. But [WR Victor] Bolden [Jr.] will have an opportunity too to come up possibly. We’ve got to make that decision by one if we want to go with Bolden. So, we’ve kind of got to guess a little bit with how Quise is going to go based off of Sunday. So, a lot of stuff goes into that, but we’ve got to decide on Bolden by one o’clock tomorrow.”

You’re comfortable now with WR Kendrick Bourne being able to play other spots?

“Yes. It’s not just him. It’s a challenge for any receiver to be moved around a ton in games. It does put a lot of pressure on them so you would always like to make it easier for guys. But, I was very impressed with him last week for stepping up and doing that when he wasn’t preparing all week to do that. So, he showed he had the ability to do that last week and if need be this week, he’s definitely more prepared for it. I expect him to do the same if not better.”