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Kyle Shanahan talks Jimmy Garoppolo struggles, injury report, red zone offense

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The 49ers head coach met with the media Wednesday afternoon. We’ve got a full transcript.

Week 2 Media Availability

The 49ers preview Week 2 home opener against the Detroit Lions.

Posted by San Francisco 49ers on Wednesday, September 12, 2018

What was the thought process on LB Brock Coyle? Why IR for him?

“One, he had the concussion, and then, two, he broke a bone in his back. I know that’s very scary always, but it was a T-4 compression fracture. Six weeks until he can have contact again. He will recover at some time this year, but we know it’s going to be at least six weeks before he can have a chance to play football.”

Do you have an update on OL Mike Person and G Joshua Garnett?

“Yeah, they’re still questionable. They won’t practice today. But, they’ll be day-to-day. Hopefully, they’ll have a chance this Sunday.”

How about WR Marquise Goodwin?

Goodwin, same thing. He’s not practicing today. He’s in that same boat. Just to go through all of those; Brock to IR, we’ve got Garnett, Person, Goodwin and [LB] Malcolm [Smith] are all in the same boat. None of them are going to practice. They’ll all be questionable for the game. [OL Erik] Magnuson’s the only guy who didn’t play last week who we’ll try him out in indy today.”

The pick-six, obviously the receiver ran a different route than QB Jimmy Garoppolo was expecting, but do you want him to throw that pass, even if WR Kendrick Bourne was coming back for the ball? Is that the right thing to do in that situation?

“Yeah, no doubt. It’s what you have to do. When you’re hot and there’s an unblocked guy right in your face, you’ve got to get it out of your hands right away. That’s our hot route. You don’t have time to sit and look to see if they’re running the right route. You have to let it rip and trust the guy is going to do it.”

What has been his demeanor these last few days in terms of how he is dealing with teammates? Is he trying to hold them more accountable? Is he speaking up more? Is there any difference?

“Jimmy?”

Yeah.

“No, it’s been the exact same. I’d be disappointed if it was different. Jimmy tries his hardest every week. I know he didn’t have his best game last week, but he doesn’t need to come in here and make stuff up. He’s had some successful games in this league. He’s going to have plenty more. He just needs to get back to work. He went against a good defense, they made some good plays and we missed some. That’s what it was and now we’re ready to do better this week.”

Did Bourne miss a side adjustment on that play?

“No. It’s not a side adjustment, just the route he was supposed to run. He was supposed to run a five-yard in. Instead, he ran a five-yard stop. We call it the five-yard in and under route. Instead, he ran a thunder route.”

Did you watch the early Monday game?

“Yeah, I did. Once I got it on our computers early Tuesday. It got out of hand pretty fast, so there wasn’t a lot to watch.”

You saw the way it started. For a quarterback in his first throw to turn that around, it’s pretty impressive, isn’t it?

“Yeah, it was. He had a lot of help, too. That game got out of hand pretty fast in the third quarter, but it definitely wasn’t like the score. That was a 17-17 game on the Jets opening possession going in and they score, make it 24-17 with I think 10 minutes left in the third quarter. The next time they see the ball, it’s three minutes later and it’s 37-17. The Detroit defense hasn’t been on the field, so it was followed by a pick-six followed by a punt return and then followed by another interception that got them the ball on the 10. So, within three-and-a-half minutes, the game was over. Then, it was a quarter-and-a-half of just watching four-minute drill. I know that was frustrating for them, but to think that it was as bad as that score was, it wasn’t. That’s what happens when a team has five interceptions, one returned for a touchdown. They gave up two punt returns, one for a touchdown, the other one into the strike zone. It’s going to get out of hand fast when it was a lot tighter than that.”

I know you talked about this on Monday, but going back to the red zone stuff in Minnesota, do you feel like you have to overhaul your plan when you get down there or was it just something where they execute a little bit better and we’re not talking about the red zone this week?

“I think you guys could look at it. We fumbled on the one-yard line on second-and-goal from the one. [WR Pierre Garçon] P had a chance to make a pretty good play going up for it there in the end zone, which would have been a tough one. Then, we missed a throw to [TE George] Kittle at the end of the end zone. So, I think if we make all three of those, which we’re very more than capable of making the higher percentage of the time than not, then we had a great day in the red zone. That’s the entire NFL. It gets tougher down there, and when you have an opportunity and you miss it you will not have a good day in the red zone. Not going to reinvent the wheel, but we’re going to try and get better at that stuff.”

With Goodwin’s situation, will you be relying more on WR Dante Pettis? What do you expect from him now leading into Week 2 after his performance, having to step up?

“Just for us not to miss a beat. He got thrown in there right away because we lost ‘Quise pretty early. I thought he did a fairly good job, and he gave us a chance at times to win that game. I expect him to be better this week. It was his first game as a pro. He’s been great since he’s been here. I think he got thrown into the fire there. We knew he was going to play a lot, but he got thrown into the fire a little bit more than expected. We’re still not sure about ‘Quise this week, but I know Dante will be ready.”

If neither of your two guards are ready, is the plan to move T Mike McGlinchey back there again?

“I don’t know. We’ll see as this week goes. We know that’s an option. We found out that was an option last week. We’ve got two other tackles on our roster, too, so that gives us some leeway. We’re still not sure exactly about Garnett and Person. They’re going to be questionable all week. Magnuson is coming back, who is just going individual today so he’ll be questionable. Then, we took [OL Najee] Toran off of practice squad. There’s a lot of possibilities that depends on how people look in practice and also who is capable of going just based off of health.”

The other day, you were able to kind of jumpstart things by going to tempo a little bit at the beginning of the game. How do you kind of balance between, ‘Okay, we want to jumpstart the offense, but also, we want to make sure our defense gets a breather?’

“It’s just a gut feel. That wasn’t planned or anything. You’ve just got to play and you feel it and go. Sometimes that works out, and sometimes it’s the worst idea possible because very quickly good things can happen and very quickly bad things can happen. So, it’s just something that you try to dabble in, keep people off-balance. But, it’s just like anything. If defenses know what you’re doing and you commit to whatever and you don’t keep them off-balance they’ll stop that. We go in and out of it.”

Did you sign LB Terence Garvin to be the outside guy or can he do both?

“Mainly because we need a lot of flexibility right now, especially with Brock going on IR. It’s going to put a lot more pressure on [LB] Fred [Warner], who already took that last week. [LB] Elijah [Lee], who stepped in. We’re still not sure about Malcolm this week. We brought in Garvin, who has a lot of experience in the system. He played outside backer for Seattle. I’ve played against him a couple times, and he has some inside backer experience. So, he’s got the versatility there to help on all three. He’s also a good special teams player, so we were very fortunate that he was available for us.”

Jimmy doesn’t seem to be a guy who likes to throw the ball away, out of bounds or in the dirt. As the play caller, would you rather he does that sometimes or do you like the fact that he’s always pushing, always trying to turn nothing into something?

“I have mixed emotions about it. Guys make plays. When you get happy with guys who are making plays you can’t sit there and get mad at them every time that they don’t. That will handcuff them and that’s speaking out of both sides of my mouth as a coach. So, Jimmy has made a lot of plays when nothing has been there and my whole thing with that stuff is just about not guessing. If you see something, I always want a guy to see something, react, let it rip and don’t hesitate. If you make a mistake, just be able to understand why you did, be able to articulate it and we’ll see it on the tape and then we’ll learn why we don’t make that again. I don’t want guys just saying, ‘I need to make a play,’ and then throw the ball up, yell ‘500’ as they let it go and hope someone comes down with it. But, the game happens fast and he has a very good way of seeing the field. He’s got a quick release and that’s why he can make some things happen. Just like all players who do that, like I’ve said for a while, when you do that type of stuff, it happened with [Detroit Lions QB Matthew] Stafford two days ago, you can end up having a bad pick game.”

On the off-schedule touchdown to Pettis, obviously it’s off-schedule, but does Jimmy have a sense of where Pettis is going to go when the play breaks down like that?

“There’s grey rules because it’s organized chaos. I mean, it depends on where people ended up on the play. I’d love to say every time you have a scramble or an off-schedule play that this guy goes here, this guy goes there. But, what play did we call? Whatever you say, these guys could all be over there. So, they have to distribute the field with some people coming back to him, some people going deep. We’ve got a lot of rules with that. It’s five eligibles moving together and playing off of each other, but they can’t all go to the same spot. So, that’s stuff that you’ve got to work on.”

When you drafted Kittle last year, did you expect him to do what he’s doing or is there anything over his evolution that pleasantly surprised you?

“No, he was one of the top tight ends that we had in the draft and we had to go a different direction earlier. We were really disappointed earlier with some of the way things went down in the draft and we thought that there was no way that we were going to get him. Then when he was there in the fifth round, we were shocked and we were extremely happy. We brought him in here because we thought he was a very good passing tight end and he’s also a very good blocking tight end. So, he helps us a lot.”

You talk about wanting a quarterback to see things and not hesitate when it comes to making plays. Do you appreciate that about Matthew Stafford?

“Yeah, I appreciate that about all of the top guys. I like guys who aren’t scared to fail. They’re going to let it rip. They’re not going to just guess and gamble, but they’re trying to win the game and they try to see stuff and they try to let it rip. You do the best you can and then you live with the consequences. What you don’t want is someone who isn’t sure and they’re scared to get blamed so they sit there and take a sack. It’s really hard to win when you have that unless you depend on everyone else. So, you always want a quarterback who believes in himself, has the confidence to do it and isn’t scared of the result if it doesn’t work.”