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Shanahan hopes Breida can get healthy enough to suit up against the Cardinals

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The 49ers head coach provided some injury updates and discussed arizona

Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images

San Francisco 49eers head coach Kyle Shanahan gave updates on two of the team’s running backs ahead of Thursday’s game against the Cardinals, and discussed how he and the staff are preparing on a short week.

Opening comments:

“Injuries today: not practicing, [RB] Raheem [Mostert] is not going to, [FB Kyle Juszczyk] Juice is not practicing, [T Mike] McGlinchey’s not practicing, [T Joe] Staley will be limited, [CB Ahkello] Witherspoon’s not practicing, [DL] Dee Ford will be limited, [RB Matt] Breida’s not practicing, [TE Levine] Toilolo’s not practicing and [OL Justin] Skule will be limited.”

Did Raheem aggravate the knee injury he had during the game?

“He had another one, a quad.”

What are your feelings on the availability of Joe for Thursday night?

“Probably pretty close to last week. I know he was limited all last week, limited this week. Without us having a full-speed practice, it’s going to be kind of tough to simulate some stuff here in this day and a half. So, we’ll see how he feels. I put him more in doubtful whenever I have to do that, but there’s still a chance.”

What are your thoughts on Breida’s availability this week?

“If we had to go today, it wouldn’t be good, but staying optimistic on that. Hopefully he’ll be limited tomorrow and hopefully he’ll be ready to go.”

For Juszczyk and McGlinchey, is November 11th still that target date?

“Yes, Seattle? Yes.”

Two weeks ago, this Halloween game seemed like the day you wanted to get Joe back. Were there any setbacks? What’s changed as to why he’s--?

“No setbacks, I think it was just tough not having a full practice this week. I think if we did, I think I’d be and he would be a little more optimistic about it. I’m sure he could if we just committed to it, but it’s pretty risky when we don’t put him through a bunch of stuff today and tomorrow. We weren’t able to do enough last week, so all that stuff plays into it.”

Did you say Witherspoon did have a setback?

“No, he didn’t. No, yeah he didn’t.”

Is it fair to say you’re shooting for that Seattle game too for him?

“Yeah, we feel very good about the Seattle game and we’re pushing a little bit this week, but we’ll see how it goes.”

It’s 13 minutes away from the trade deadline. Are we holding our breaths on anything?

“There’s always a possibility, but I’m down here feeling patient right now, so I don’t think much is going to happen here in these 13 minutes, but there could be. Never say never, but I’d be surprised if something did.”

Coming off a game where almost everything went right, is it a challenge at all to get your players refocused quickly for a short week?

“No, I think it’s actually almost easier. We didn’t even talk about that game today. Yesterday about halfway through the day, I forgot that it was the day before. I’m still confused on what day it is right now. It’s different when you play these Thursday games. Sunday ends so fast and Monday those guys are resting so we don’t get to see them, but we put everything in yesterday and it’s been kind of crazy all morning trying to get a bunch in. We’re going to go out here and practice a little bit later and then tomorrow, we’ll try to make tomorrow a Friday and Saturday combined. Sunday will be here fast.”

Because of the short turnaround, is it more challenging physically or mentally to get ready for a Thursday game?

“I think both. Physically is the obvious part. There’s a reason people don’t play football this close together all the time. It takes a while for the body to recover, so that’s what the players are doing and working with our guys on. I think sleep is huge, but the mental part is huge also. If you just think about the physical part and we usually do this stuff over six days and you’re doing it over two days. That’ll catch up to you in the middle of the game if you don’t find a way to sit and focus. You can’t put the guys through full-speed reps. Sometimes slow-speed reps can be a little more boring, so it’s harder to focus mentally, so you’ve got to find a way to focus, get stuff out of it, or you’ll make mistakes on Thursday.”

How would you describe the vibe in the stadium on Sunday given all that’s happening here with the fires and the power outages? What energy would you describe you had from the fans?

“I thought it was great. I think all three of our games have been great. They’ve been loud, it’s been loud from the beginning to end and we have really enjoyed playing in our stadium this year.”

When you watch the tape of Carolina, obviously a score like that everything went pretty well. What didn’t you like, though? Were there things that you saw that you didn’t like?

“I’m struggling to remember the game right now. You threw me off, but I mean, yeah, I didn’t like the turnover we had with the interception. Obviously, the missed PAT. We punted a few times. It wasn’t perfect.”

What do you see from the Cardinals offense? It seems pretty unique to the NFL.

“Yeah, they do a little bit of everything. It’s not what everyone talked about how it’s just going to be they aerate offense and stuff. I think they do spread it out a lot and use their speed very well, but they also get under center at times, they do a lot of plays that I’ve seen throughout my career in the NFL, so I think they’re mixing in a lot of stuff. I think they’ve done a real good job with it and they definitely take advantage of the quarterback’s talents and it’s been impressive so far.”

When you prepare for a team that utilizes 10-personnel as often as they do, what’s the balance that you need to find between maybe running nickel and sticking with what you’re good at while also adjusting to their personnel?

“It’s a little bit of both. I mean, you always want to do what you’re good at, but you don’t want the offense to know what they’re getting every single snap, too. You want to keep people off-balance, but never at the expense of putting your players in bad positions.”

How extensive of a practice are you going to have today? Are you going to have it inside the stadium because it’s later today in the afternoon to try and get the time element going?

“Yes, and that we have lights in our stadium and we don’t on the practice field. The main thing started with, and I feel like sleep is so important on these quick turnarounds, so we wanted the guys to sleep in a little bit more than usual and then we’ve still got to take a while to put all our stuff in, so then we decided to start practice at the time of kickoff, kind of worked out that way and it’s getting dark a little bit earlier here so we’ll just go in the stadium since it’s only a walk-through anyways, so we can be under the lights.”

What was the week like for you and your assistants? Do you guys have to sleep over, do anything drastic like that to get ready?

“Thursday’s usually, we always do it every once in a while, but every year we usually sleep here on Thursday night games. You usually, hopefully you enjoy Sunday and then you come in and you expect a rough few days. Coaches enjoy Thursday games because you’ll go through hell for four days if we can get a day off, and usually you get a couple days off from a Thursday night game. We’re not complaining about having to do that since you get a little rest at the end. You just hope when you’re resting it’s after a victory.”

Where do you sleep?

“On my couch. I’m the head coach, I’ve got a couch in my office. It’s nice.”

When you look at the film of the Cardinals defense, you see how they compete. And even last week against the Saints, it was 10-6 midway through the third quarter until that fourth-and-one and then they had a couple three-and-outs after that. What is it about facing this defense that you know is not going to really give up on any play?

“I know it’s a huge challenge. I never look at the numbers right away, I just watch the tape and I thought they were ranked very high in a lot of areas. I know they haven’t been. Teams have gotten some yards and stuff and some big plays and things like that, but when you turn on the tape, I see as good of a defense as we’ve played this year. [Arizona Cardinals LB] Chandler Jones is rushing the quarterback as good as anyone in this league. [Arizona Cardinals CB] Patrick Peterson is the best corner if not tied for the best. He’s been doing that for a while and he’s back. [Arizona Cardinals defensive coordinator] Vance [Joseph] does a lot of things schematically. That game versus the saints, they came to play and they played very well against the Saints. That was a very low scoring, tight game until the end and then just a couple things that happened that made the score look a little bit different. When you watch the silent tape, you realize it is a very good defense.”

The team was ranked 29th in red zone percentage scoring before Sunday and you went 4-5 on Sunday. What changed?

“Got in the end zone more. There’s no drastic answer that people have. Sometimes things work, sometimes they don’t. I thought things were clicking pretty good and when we didn’t have the right looks, guys made some plays also. I think we had one touchdown called back and I think we were still able to score that drive. I think we’ve had about four called back this year down there, because of penalties and stuff and we were able to overcome it this week, which helps. We’re halfway through the year. Hopefully, that number will change by the end of the year, but last week was a good step in the right direction.”

Was there ever any doubt that the Cardinals weren’t going to take DL Nick Bosa? Did you ever think that they would take Nick Bosa?

“I was worried about it until the pick. I had a pretty good feeling and hoped that they were going in the direction that they did. Not that I wanted to play against [Arizona Cardinals QB] Kyler [Murray] either. We knew we weren’t taking a quarterback, so we were really hoping Nick was going to be there, but they kept it close to their vest, so you never truly knew until the end. I think both teams were real happy.”

I assume you had a contingency plan, whether it would be a guy that you liked at that spot or moving back?

“Maybe. We would’ve done something.”

Do you have any thoughts on that call on P Mitch Wishnowsky, the head to head?

“Yeah, it’s just kind of how the league is right now. I mean, I think that’s kind of tough to avoid, it seems a little bit like it’s on both guys a little bit. That’s nothing against the league, I’m just saying it’s just how the NFL is right now. He’s going hard to try and make a stop, the guy’s running hard and he lowers his head. That’s kind of physics to me. We’ve got to teach him to go lower, maybe take out his legs and stuff in that situation, but that’s a little bit of just playing football right there.”

That said, you only had four penalties on Sunday, you only had two the week before. What do you attribute the low amount of penalties this year to?

“Just unbelievable discipline. You never know, similar to what I said in the red zone, it’s not like we’re doing something just totally new. You just keep trying to harp on things and you coach it and when you mess up you always try to point it out and hope guys learn from their mistakes. I think it’s a little bit of guys playing more, guys doing better. Usually the better you get, the less penalties you make. I think our guys have been very conscientious of it and sometimes you’re just, it’s how the luck goes with the refs, too.”

How do you feel about the trade deadline, what you guys did do, and what you decided not to do? How does it kind of fit into the big picture and what you guys are trying to accomplish?

“The same as it is every year. The trade deadline is always here at this time and there’s always a lot of talk. I’ve been a part of teams where sometimes something happens, usually something doesn’t. It’s real tough to do things in the league without making a lot of huge risks on it for not as much reward. That’s why there’s usually a lot more talk than action, but I was very excited with what we got done last week. Would’ve been excited if we did anything today because if we did, it would’ve been good for our team. The fact that nothing came up is usually what you expect.”

You got a quarterback two years ago at the trade deadline. It seems like he’s really in sync with you now in terms of commanding the offense. How much easier is it to relay play calls and the confidence in him to execute them?

“I mean, the more [QB] Jimmy [Garoppolo] gets out there, the more our team gets out there with him, the easier everything gets. I always say it, but the more reps you get and if you’re good at what you do, usually you get better at it. Jimmy got that a little the first year, missed it last year with his injury and he was able to get seven in so far this year. Hopefully that continues.”

New season, new team. How much do you bring up to your guys that you haven’t been beaten in eight games, eight straight games?

“I haven’t brought it up. I don’t think I need to. Our guys, they don’t need any added motivation. I think our guys are the same every week and this is a huge one just like it was a couple days ago.”

Have you seen DL D.J. Jones show that kind of burst that he did on that sack at any point in his time here?

“He’s got a little burst. He can come off the ball and he can move some. He holds that A-gap very well for us, but he can make some plays in the pass game, too. It was nice that he got out and showed everyone else that, because with all the guys running around him sometimes he gets forgotten about.”