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Kyle Shanahan talks Mike McGlinchey, Seattle, Arik Armstead, turning 39

The 49ers head coach had his final press conference before Sunday’s game against the Seattle Seahawks. We have a full transcript.

Opening comments:

“Alright guys, [S Jaquiski] Tartt’s going to be out this week. Questionable will be [RB Matt] Breida, [WR Marquise] Goodwin, [LB Mark] Nzeocha, [DL Cassius] Marsh, [WR Dante] Pettis and [CB] K’Waun [Williams].”

Was Tartt out at practice today?

“Yeah, he was out there. But, didn’t do much.”

Is your plan to just kind of let the younger defensive guys roll with it and get an encore after what they did?

“Yeah, the same as last week. The guys who were out there, the guys who got those opportunities, I thought they did a good job. They’ll continue with that.”

How was T Mike McGlinchey’s rendition of happy birthday?

“It was rough. He actually tried to tell me to sing it to myself. Well, I’m not a rookie. They made him sing it, which was just as painful for me. But, I got it a few times today.”

Happy birthday, by the way.

“Thank you. I appreciate it.”

39, Kyle?


That’s a fun age.

“It is. All these last few ones have been fun. I’m sure next year will be more fun. It’s actually the first birthday I’ve had in a while that I’ll be out of the office with the sun up. Friday is the best day you could have one. So, I’ve had some bad luck with my birthdays with football games and stuff when we’ve played on Sunday.”

Do you have any big plans for the afternoon?

“Just same as always. Just race home in about an hour and just hang with the fam.”

You’ve heard a lot about Seattle having not lost to the 49ers for quite some time. Is that something that you bring up to the team? How do you handle that?

“No, I’ve brought it up to the team. I don’t think it’s something I have to bring up to the team. I think they’re very well aware of it. I think you hear it every time anyone speaks of the Seahawks. It’s something that we’re not proud of. It’s been since 2013. I know not all of us have been here since then, but it doesn’t really matter. It’s something that’s not going to go away until we win. We’re not going to have that opportunity to do that again after Sunday for another year. I’m glad we have another opportunity and hopefully we don’t have to hear that after this weekend.”

What’s been your experience with the tight end position? Now, we’ve got two guys on pace to break a record. Ten years ago, it wasn’t like that. Who was the first guy really that was kind of a precursor to what we’re seeing TE George Kittle and Kansas City Chiefs TE Travis Kelce do now, playing all over the field?

“I’m not totally sure. I would guess [former NFL TE] Shannon Sharpe, maybe. I’ve been coaching 15 years, or 16, one of those two. I don’t feel like it’s changed much since I’ve been in. We had a lot of success with [former NFL TE] Owen Daniels when we were in Houston. Had a couple years of [former NFL TE Chris] Cooley and [former NFL TE] Fred [Davis] in Washington. Tight end is a very important position, just like a pass-catching running back is. There’s five eligibles. Corners usually guard receivers and safeties and linebackers guard tight ends and running backs. So, the more you can use those five effectively, however it is, I don’t see why that’s taken so long and I don’t see that ever changing.”

How important has T Joe Staley been to T Mike McGlinchey’s development?

“I’m sure Joe would say extremely important. I’m just joking. Joe’s been great, though, for Mike. Naturally, I think they hit it off as friends. I think they both like each other. They both respect each other. I think it’s neat that they’re both playing tackle. I’m sure Joe can see a little bit of himself in him, just coming in as a first-round pick. They’ve hit it off. I think it’s been great because Mike does look up to him, I think. You’d have to ask him. They hang together. They bounce a lot of things off each other. I think it’s neat for the other reasons, too. You’ve got a young tackle. I think they compete with each other. They are friends, but they also give each other a lot of, I’m always at a loss for words when I can’t swear. They mess with each other a lot. It’s been a good back and forth where I think they both bring the best out of each other.”

Is Staley getting better as he gets more used to this system, still?

“Yes, I definitely think Staley, I thought Staley had a good year last year and I think he’s improved a lot this year.”

Do you guys do anything to prepare for what might be a wet field on Sunday?

“Not really. You can sit and wet the balls and stuff. We had a few of those practices last week, playing in rain. But no, we just try to have a crisp practice out there. We know what to expect. We have seen the weather reports and everything. It had taken a while to rain and then it’s been raining a ton so our grass has been much slicker this year. We’ve had guys slipping a ton for the last month or so, which at first bothered us. But, I told the guys today that I’m so on it, we planned to do this, we’ve gotten our practice field this way knowing it would prepare them for Sunday because I’m sure the stadium will be like that with the rain and everything. So, that’s where our preparation has been.”

How has Matt looked this week, coming back from the ankle?

“Much better than last week. Last week he couldn’t practice at all and he’s been limited throughout the week and he’s been able to go. So, hopefully he’ll be healthy enough for Sunday.”

Picking up DL Arik Armstead’s fifth-year option indicated that you wanted him back next year, but it didn’t guarantee it. Has the way he’s played this year solidified anything as far as next season with him?

“I wouldn’t say anything on our team is solidified. We’re going to take all of that into account at the end of the year. But, Armstead is a very good player who, there’s no doubt that I don’t want to lose him and I don’t think anyone in this building wants to lose good players. Hopefully that’ll work out. It’s not as simple as just him though. It has to do with how you want to allocate everything. But, the one thing I do know is that I’ve been very happy with how Arik has played this year. I still think he can get a lot better and hopefully it’s here with us.”

Is an extension an option as well?

“Again, that’s for everybody, an extension is always a possibility. It’s something that I haven’t talked with our guys about and haven’t been thinking about it this time.”

With him, the sack numbers haven’t been there, but he seems like he’s still been disruptive in the passing game. It’s a similar situation with DL DeForest Buckner last year. He only had three sacks, but he was really disruptive. Is there a parallel to be made there? Could Armstead, could you see a significant rise in his sack numbers?

“Yeah, I believe so. He has the ability to and I think he’s shown it on tape also. I think guys get into that groove where they can consistently get 10 sacks a year, not many people. He does have that type of ability so I think that’s what people hope for. But, that’s not just something that you do. That takes a while and it takes guys some time playing in this league, playing different positions, to really find their groove. I do see that chance for Arik. The main thing I like to look for is are you getting better or are you getting worse? I’ve seen someone that we’ve been here for two years with him. We’ve moved him in some different positions and I see a guy who is only getting better. If that continues, I think his expectations of things should naturally take care of itself because he has that ability.”

I’m curious about your thoughts on Kansas City Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes as far as, people say he’s revolutionizing, maybe going a bit too far, but he’s very unique in some of the things he can do. Is there a comparison for him out there and do you think he’s moving the quarterback position in a different direction?

“He’s extremely talented and there’s been extremely talented people. So, I wouldn’t say revolutionary. But, I’d say what everyone is saying is right on. I mean, I haven’t sat and studied him, his NFL game, which would give a much better answer. But, what you can see that’s very obvious is how talented he is. He reminds me, just the way he moves, the way he throws, the way he looks in the pocket, he looks like [former Denver Broncos QB] John Elway to me. I’m not saying he’s John Elway, but if I would compare him to someone, just the arm talent, the mobility, his lower half and how he sits with his shoulders, it’s who he reminds me of when I watch him move.”

Have you ever seen anybody throw a no look pass?


Who have you seen?

“[Former NFL QB] Jeff Garcia used to do it all the time. I remember one specifically, [former NFL QB] Rex Grossman did it in a game. He used to always do it in practice. He ran off the sidelines and told me he did it in the game. I didn’t believe him, but when we saw the tape, it was right on. Guys do it. It’s great in zone. I do it all the time in group install. It’s really good for zone coverages and you better know what peoples’ responsibility is and where they are.”