San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan met with the media Monday afternoon to discuss Jimmy Garoppolo’s performance, injuries, Lamar Jackson, and what he plans to do at offensive tackle.
“The injuries from the game; [DL] Damontre Moore, I ended up finding out about him after I left, but he has a fractured forearm, so he’s going to have surgery this week and he’ll have to go on IR. [DL] Jullian Taylor, we think it’s just a jaw contusion right now, we’ve got to do a few more evaluations on him, and [OL Mike] Person is a stinger so we’ll re-evaluate him on Wednesday also.”
With Damontre Moore going on IR, going outside the building?
“No, we’ll most likely, probably today or tomorrow bring up [DL] Jeremiah Valoaga. He was with us in training camp, he’s been on practice squad all year and is ready to go.”
Last night you said QB Jimmy Garoppolo’s performance was flawless. After you’ve looked at the film now?
“It was very good. No one’s ever done flawless, but I was short on words. He played very well. I think it was one of his better games here. He was very efficient in everything he did and when he got opportunities for big plays he didn’t miss any of them and he took care of the ball as good as he has so it was great.”
Did you think that not making the mistakes that he’s had in the past is just progress going forward?
“Yeah, I think so. I also think it’s easier for a quarterback not to do that too when everyone’s playing better around him also. I think everything was going, the run game and the pass game. I think the one area we probably did struggle in the most was third down. I don’t think we had as good of looks on those. They had a pretty good plan. When everyone plays good around him he doesn’t have to be as risky, which is still tough, but he did as good as he could with it.”
T Joe Staley said he was going to get checked today to see if he can keep practicing. Has that already happened and what’s his status going in to the week?
“I’m not sure if that’s happened. I know he’s working out with those guys on the side, I’m not sure if he’s done it already. He’s probably doing it right about now, but I don’t decide all on Monday. We’ll see how he feels and we’ll try it again on Wednesday. I know he’s got a chance this week, but we’ll see what happens. I’m still hoping for it, but not at all counting on it.”
If he doesn’t, is OL Daniel Brunskill the most likely option?
“That’s the way the tape looked and the way they finished that game. But, both of those guys have played well for us. We’ll base it off the three days of practice.”
Was OL Justin Skule banged up or injured in any way going into that game?
“Yeah, he’s been banged up, just the wear and tear like a lot of guys out there. But, he’s not using it as an excuse. By no means did he play bad, he just didn’t do as good as he could and we thought Brunskill gave us a better chance at the time and he came in and took advantage of his opportunity.”
How did TE George Kittle come out the game?
“George came out good. I know after you’re always in a little bit of pain when you play trough that stuff, but didn’t seem like he had any setbacks. I haven’t gotten to talk to him today, but just talking to [head athletic trainer] Dustin [Little] and stuff, he didn’t have any setbacks and should be good to go this week. I know we’ll have to be smart with him and how we practice him just like last week, but hopefully we should get the same situation.”
How close was K Robbie Gould to being back and what’s his status?
“I think he’s real close. Like I said last week, if it was probably another position he would have gone. I know Robbie wants to go, but we’re going to be smart with that and we’re going to make sure that he is 100-percent and I think he’s getting very close to there. I know he was close to that last week so we’ll see how he is here on Wednesday.”
With Damontre Moore, a quick two-game stint here, he did seem to make the most of his opportunity when he was in there. What was it like to have him for two games and what are his spirits like right now?
“I know he’s really down because he wanted to be a part of this for the rest of the year. I mean, he will be going on IR, it’s not like he disappears, but he won’t be able to go out there anymore. It was just really cool how he played these two weeks. It was exactly like the preseason. I mean, he just put everything on the line, doing everything he could to earn a job. What he’s done in these two weeks here, just coming right off the street, coming in, playing at a high level, getting a huge turnover for us the first week. He did some real good things last week. I can’t tell you how impressed we were that, we didn’t know he had a broken forearm until after my press conference yesterday because the guy never told anybody because he didn’t know it was broken. He knew there was some pain in there, but he just kept playing and then after the game he noticed it was hurting a little bit and went in to get some guys to check it out and it was broken. To just watch him on tape playing with that shows you that he’s a special dude.”
At what point did it look like he broke it?
“You can’t really see the exact play that he did it. I think from what he told the trainers is the one that [Green Bay Packers QB] Aaron [Rodgers] scrambled on that we ended up getting that penalty, the one on [CB Richard Sherman] Sherm in the end zone.”
Brunskill hasn’t played a lot left tackle, he’s mostly played on right. How did he do over there? I know its similar but--?
“He did a real good job. I know we put him in, I know when we put him in. In the second half I forgot that he was still in there, which shows, in my opinion how good he did. When you don’t bring up a tackle’s name, when you don’t mention him it all, it means he’s covering his guy up and his guy’s not making plays. Then when we watched the tape it was nice. He hadn’t had a bunch of reps at left tackle, definitely some technical things and stuff and a few things in the run game that he can get better at, but he did a real good job.”
How much of a leap has LB Fred Warner taken in his second season, particularly these last few weeks?
“I think a lot. That’s what you expect out of a guy in his second year, especially with how much he played his first year. But, it doesn’t always go that way. Sometimes, guys have a real good first year and they relax a little bit thinking they figured it out and then you get extremely humbled the second year. Fred got to play a ton and exceeded expectations, I think, with everyone his first year. Then he was just even more hungry, came back like a 10-year vet and came back better mentally, better physically and I think it’s shown to everyone in every game.”
Is there something with him that, you know, it comes in splash plays now? Last year, you talked a lot about getting guys lined up and all that stuff, but is there something you see in him that’s allowing him to make more of those “get the ball out” type of stuff?
“Yeah, definitely. It’s very similar with quarterbacks and stuff. You’ve got a lot of stuff to do out there and you’re thinking a lot. When you think a lot, sometimes it’s hard to just play with a clear mind and just cut it loose. Fred, I think he does that at times, but this year even more than anything, he doesn’t miss a beat in getting us lined up and making the calls and stuff. I think it’s pretty second nature for him which allows him to play even faster. The more you do that, the faster you get at things and I think he’s running sideline to sideline and he’s hitting and he’s making a lot of plays in the run and pass game.”
It seems like he’s almost patented that sort of punch where he did that in Tampa Bay to the start of the season and he did it again this week. How much does that help the running backs, especially in training camp, dealing with just that level of aggression?
“It helps a ton. It’s very irritating, too, because sometimes they miss and hit him in the ribs like left and right, hit their forearms. When our backs get here who haven’t been here, they aren’t used to it and they think guys are being over the top on them and then they start to realize that all 11 of our defensive guys try to do that every play. Our backs just get used to it, so it’s great training for our guys and it’s great training for our defense, too. Fred’s probably the best one at it.”
With the holiday this week, how does that impact the week of preparation?
“Not a lot just because our Thursday schedules are a little bit earlier, anyways. We try to go out and do everything fast as that is, so we get the guys out fairly early on Thursdays as it is. I’ll probably move it up about a half an hour, try and get them home by about 2:30-3:00 so it doesn’t affect their day that much. The history of doing it, it can affect their Friday sometimes. Sometimes, they come in a little more tired, a little heavier, so you really try to stress and hope some of these guys who really enjoy eating don’t get too excited and feel like they have to eat everything that day. We’ll stress that pretty hard.”
What’s DL Dee Ford’s status this week?
“I think he’s very similar to the other guys in that group. Robbie, [RB Matt] Breida and Staley, I think they’ve all got a chance to go this week, but I still, just me throwing a number out there, it’s still going to be 50-50. Usually when you have a hamstring, that usually takes a couple weeks and I think it will be two weeks on Sunday. He’s definitely got a chance.”
Have you had time this season just to turn on the Ravens film and watch the offense to see what they do with QB Lamar Jackson now?
“Yeah, we watch stuff sporadically just to get ideas and stuff and some run looks and things like that. Don’t do a lot of that with the Ravens, because I don’t want to be tempted to use our quarterback that way. Not because I don’t believe in it, because I don’t think that’s his area of expertise. Once he gets that down, though, we’ll run the ball even better. No, I keep messing with him on that. They do some real cool stuff, stuff that’s real interesting. I know [Baltimore Ravens offensive coordinator] Greg’s [Roman] always been creative with that stuff and the tools he has with it along with the tight ends that they have and how physical they are, I’ve got a pretty good idea of how it’s going to look. That’s what we’re going to be looking at here over the next day and a half. I enjoy looking at how impressive it is in the scheme, but it’s not going to be that fun thinking of how to stop it.”
How much better, I mean the defensive line has obviously taken a big jump, but just in terms of staying true to their rushing lanes and not allowing Rodgers to escape, has that been a particular area of improvement that they’ve made?
“Yes, just to tee off on the quarterback the way we do, if you just do that and that’s all you talk about, it can become pretty irresponsible pretty fast when you just have four guys running by him. So, you want guys to rush the quarterback like their hair’s on fire and go crazy, but it’s got to be somewhat of a controlled chaos because if you don’t honor your lanes in that pocket, most quarterbacks, but especially someone like Aaron, they’ll break that and make you pay right away.”
What was your takeaway from watching the tape of the pass rush and I can’t imagine you were expecting to limit Rodgers to just 104 yards?
“I thought our pass rush tied with our coverage was as good as it’s been. I think we’ve done that a lot this year, so I think that’s why our defense is having a pretty special year. But, it goes hand-in-hand. We had a couple blitzes, too, that the quarterback’s got to get rid of it right away, you’ve got two guys to the back and you’ve got a free hitter, so they’ve got to throw hot. Sometimes you bring guys in to help with that or to help with the defensive ends. Now, we’ve got seven guys covering three guys. Mixing all that up, it’s tough on any quarterback and it always starts with the defensive rush. If you can get there, you can have seven guys mixing up man and zone. I think all 11 were tied real well together and that’s the results we’ve been getting.”
How did CB Ahkello Witherspoon do?
“I thought Ahkello did a real good job. We knew we were going to try to get him in about four series in that game. He ended up getting a little bit more than that, especially with [CB] Emmanuel [Moseley] going in and out some. Sherm went out I think for a play or two also. I was impressed with him. He’s still not all the way there back yet, which we understand. It will take some time, especially as a corner, but when he got in there it was nice that he could play a little more and I think he’s getting close to being fully back.”
How do you anticipate, something similar moving forward?
“Yeah, I see something similar. Like I’ve said, Ahkello is our guy and once he gets fully back there, then I definitely think he’ll give us the best chance to win and he’ll be out there the most. Moseley’s also done a hell of a job in showing this league that he’s a real good player that plays at a starter level. So, that’s not a decision that you make until it’s without a doubt clear.”
Was Moseley injured at all?
“He sprained his ankle the week before. There’s some wear and tear on that, so you go in and out a little bit with that. I think he did a little on special teams and that kind of allowed the natural substitution with that, but he ended up coming back out.”
How valuable was it for you to have DL D.J. Jones back in there?
“It’s great. D.J. is a stud. He plays very well. I think a lot of you guys notice him because he makes a ton of plays. I still think he can get a lot better. The more D.J. can stay healthy, the more he can stay in shape by staying healthy, the more he can do that play in and play out. When he goes, and he’s fresh, I know how our O-Linemen feel about him. He’s as tough as anyone to block as there is in this league.”
Did you enjoy when the Packers called the timeout and let you sub D.J. back in there for that fourth down?
“We did appreciate that. It was perfect.”
Any decisions on the practice windows for DL Kentavius Street and CB Jason Verrett?
“Yeah, we’ll bring them up if we have an injury at one of those positions. I think they are both healthy enough that they could go now and get back into practice. You’ve got to decide in the last three weeks. If we lost a corner in this game, then we’d probably activate his practice window and if we lost an inside player at D-Line, we’d probably do the same for Street. We’re just waiting for that.”
Is there any deadline on when you would have to, I mean obviously before three weeks before the end of the season to do it, but is there any, do you have to do it at some point if you’re going to do it at all?
“I’m pretty sure that’s it. I mean, you can’t activate in the playoffs. You’ve got three weeks to do it, so I’m pretty sure the last choice to do it would be three weeks before the end of the season.”
What kind of groove has WR Deebo Samuel gotten in these last few weeks and where do you think he’s made the improvement to give himself those opportunities?
“I mean, Deebo’s just gotten better and better each week. I thought yesterday it was a tough game for him, just because he wasn’t able to practice at all, all week. That was his first time having that experience of that, which definitely led to some mistakes and stuff during the game. But, you kind of expect that as a coach and that’s kind of my decision on how much we should play him when he doesn’t get to practice much. I take some responsibility in that, but also, when the ball goes to him, regardless of how he feels or what’s going on, you know Deebo is going to catch it, you know he’s going to make a play. He’s a guy we trust a lot out there but we still expect him to keep getting a lot better and keep owning this offense more and more. He’s a guy who plays the right way, he’s a guy who has got a lot of ability and he’s a guy we are going to count on the rest of this year.”
You have a couple offensive linemen that have goofy personalities. C/G Weston Richburg doesn’t strike me as quite as jolly as some of those other guys. How would you describe his personality?
“Him and Person lead the league in saltiness. Both of them. They’re very grouchy. They like to be upset. That’s why we make fun of them a lot. It just pisses them off and it’s really how we all communicate.”
Perfect for an offensive lineman?
When you have guys that don’t practice throughout the week, like you had WR Emmanuel Sanders, Samuel, how hard is it for you to get them going at the beginning of the game and game plan around that?
“It depends. You get an idea. Sometimes you don’t know how guys are going to play injured. We haven’t had that with Deebo or Emmanuel too much. We had that with Emmanuel last week for the first time versus Arizona, so had an idea. That was Deebo’s first time. Kittle, had a pretty good idea. We’ve been through that before with Kittle, but all three of them were pros. All three of them went out there, they competed. You can’t tell that they’re hurt, but it’s something you’ve just got to harp on hard because no matter how smart you are or no matter how much you work at it, if you don’t go through it physically, whether you are even just jogging through it, t’s very tough in the heat of battle to not make mistakes. Everyone knows that in football, so that’s why you challenge those guys to practice, because it does help them. But, they were in a situation last week where their only chance to play was really to not practice.”