San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan spoke to the media Wednesday afternoon to discuss the Florida weather, some injuries, Kentavius Street’s role, and much more.
You guys seemed to have some energy today. Is that something you’ve picked up on?
“Yeah, I thought so too. I mean, the fields are unbelievable and it’s beautiful weather. We’ve been in the hotel for a couple days. The players got out a little bit, but the coaches were ready to come out today and be out in this atmosphere. I think guys enjoyed it.”
It looked like you have a lot of guys back from injuries practicing today. Are you optimistic about how some of these guys are coming out today?
“Yeah, we’ve got a number of guys back. They look good out there today, they are still working through it. It’s been a while for some of them, but hopefully we can keep that going week by week here towards the end.”
As far as the body-clock schedule, is it like Ohio where you expect there to be a bit of a dip later this week and then an uplift?
“I felt that way in Ohio. I don’t know if it made sense or not, but that’s what I told the players, we’d get uplifted. I think we did. I feel good today, I think the players feel good, so you can ask them. I think we are getting used to it and we are ready to go.”
What did you do with CB Richard Sherman? It looks like he can walk again?
“Did some Mr. Miyagi stuff on him. We’ll see, though. Sherm always battles. You expect him to be out there and hopefully he’ll get better each day. I know he’s not there all the way yet, but he’s got a few more days to do it and hopefully he’ll be good on Sunday.”
How much leeway does he have to practice on a Wednesday, where a lot of veterans might take the day off?
“Yeah, he’s got a ton of leeway. Sherm knows his body better than anyone. You always ask the doctors. Can they protect themselves? If the doctor ever tells you he absolutely can’t do it, then it doesn’t matter what they say. You’ve got to protect them from themselves, but if they say they won’t get any worse, if the guy wants to do it, Sherm’s a guy who knows his body. He’s gone through it a lot and he’s done it for a while. We usually leave it to him.”
How do you go about looking at the running back situation? RB Raheem Mostert was so good on Sunday, you have RB Tevin Coleman who’s been starting a lot, and then you add RB Matt Breida to the mix. How do you just go about sorting your way through how you want to use those guys in games?
“We have to talk about it a lot. Especially with what [RB] Jeff Wilson [Jr.] has done, too. It’s very tough to use four backs. It’s tough to use three backs. You can kind of go in and designate a certain role for them all, but very rarely do all of them get the work. We started with Tevin last week, Raheem had a few good runs and we stuck with the hot hand. That’s why he got most of them. I’m sure if Tevin would have stayed in, he would have got a few going too, but that’s just how it is when you have a bunch of good backs. It’s something we’re definitely not complaining about.”
How did DL Dee Ford you look today? I mean, obviously some time off would help his knee, I assume.
“Yeah, I mean, the time off was always good for his knee. Just the wear and tear of the season and what had going in, helps the knee. We had to do that because of the hamstring, but he looked good out there today. We kept him limited so he didn’t do a ton, but it was a good start for him.”
Through the years when you’ve had kickers you’re not quite sure about, if affects how you’re calling plays. Obviously, K Robbie Gould’s not having his best season. Has it gotten to a point where it does enter your mind when you’re calling plays?
“No, it doesn’t. He hasn’t had the same numbers as he did the first two years because he might have been perfect the first two years. Maybe one miss. I can’t totally remember. But, all those misses this year haven’t been totally his fault either. I know he’s had some that have been, but others have been other guys. Whether it’s the snapper, the hold, and things like that. We’ve had a couple blocked. Last week was different, I mean that was a far one and the elements affected my decisions on a lot of things last week in the elements. But, nothing with Robbie. Robbie’s a pro, he’s done this for a long time and if we’re in his range, I will never hesitate for him to go.”
Did you anticipate having to bring up or sign a defensive lineman?
“Yeah, with our two guys down, that’s why it’d help to activate [DL] Kentavius [Street] today to get him out on the practice field. We still have three weeks to activate him on that, but just having him out there helped with bodies and stuff. We’ll see how that goes with him and how the other guys heal up here this week and for the weeks to follow before we have to make a decision on that.”
So, when you look at Street and also DL Kevin Givens or somebody on the practice squad, do you guys take that into consideration, which one? Are they basically competing for practice?
“Yes. We’re always going to put the guy up who we think fits the best in whatever position we need. They’re all a little bit different, but the two guys you mentioned are similar. So, it depends who we think fits our team better and can give us the best chance to win right now.”
How would you describe Street and what his best role would be on the team?
“As an inside player. We used him on the outside in preseason to a degree just because we were so deep and stuff, but I see Street very similar to [DL] Solomon [Thomas] in terms of what they’re made to do is play inside, but in a pinch we use them on the outside also.”
As far as TE George Kittle’s health, he played a lot of snaps last week. Is he pretty much 100-percent?
“I definitely wouldn’t say he’s 100-precent, but he was full-go today, I think. Was he?”
No, he was limited.
“He was limited. We changed his reps a little bit. We’ve got to take care of George because of what he’s gone throughout the year with his injuries. He played, I think every snap last week with it, how hard he plays. George is a guy who’s not going to be 100-percent until the offseason, but we’ve got to be smart with that. He’s recovered from his stuff, but as you guys know there’s always pain tolerance he’s going to have to deal with.”
When you see him on the field, watching his film, does he look like he’s not hindered by his injuries at all?
“No, I thought George, the past game was a little sloppy for everybody with the elements and stuff, but that run game, that was as good of a run game as I’ve probably seen a tight end ever have. It was unbelievable.”
You guys are still in a position where if you just take care business, you’re in a good spot, but as you get close to the end, how much attention do you pay to scenarios and things like that?
“I probably will the last couple weeks. I’ve had a lot of people ask me about that this week because people think a lot of stuff has changed, but there’s no difference this week than last week. We’ve got ourselves in a position where going into last week we could control our own destiny and we’re in that same position this week. Nothing’s really changed on that. That’s stuff that until it does, you don’t really think about it. And with how good the teams are doing in the records in the NFC I know that’ll come down to the last couple week, which is a few weeks from now. Not worried about it, but when it does come to that, yeah we’ll address it with the team.”
How do you think you guys did against the read-option specifically with Baltimore Ravens QB Lamar Jackson?
“I don’t want to get into all the techniques and stuff, but we had to change our fronts up, play a little bit more of a front how we used to. We had more five guys on the line of scrimmage instead of four, that’d be the main difference.”
Do you expect to see a lot of New Orleans Saints QB Taysom Hill in this game? It seems like his snaps have been going up a little bit.
“Yeah, I think the same that he is in every game. He’s a factor every week for them whether it’s at quarterback or any of the positions except for O-Line is I think the only one I haven’t seen him play. He’s an unbelievable player on special teams. There’s no doubt we’re going to see him, we just don’t know exactly how.”
When you look at the Saints defense, what are the biggest challenges that QB Jimmy Garoppolo has to face when he’s looking at them?
“They’re a very good defense, they’ve got a lot of good players. I haven’t played them for a couple years. They’ve gotten a lot better, just the personnel that they’ve added, the guys that they’ve had have gotten a lot better and just matured a little bit. [New Orleans Saints defensive coordinator] Dennis Allen’s done it for a long time, he’s one of the best in the business at what he does, has a lot of scheme that he can put in that’s extremely sound, they play hard so it’s one of the better defenses we’re going to face this year.”
One of the cliché’s is that it’s a copycat league. Where is New Orleans Saint Head Coach Sean Payton in terms of how much people look to what he does offensively to maybe influence other play callers or schemers?
“He’s right up there at the top. Sean’s been one of the best, if not the best, for a very long time. You can see his personality in his play calling, how creative he is, how aggressive he is, and he’s going to keep coming at you every play and attack your coverages and he’s a guy I always try to watch pretty much every week.”
Have you taken plays that he’s used and implemented it in your offense?
“No, I don’t do that stuff (laughter). Yeah, I’ve taken a lot. We’ve all taken a lot. We’ll keep doing that too.”
As far as the atmosphere, you’ve been in the Superdome a few times. Where does that rank as far as challenges, as far as noise and everything?
“I mean, it’s right up there. They can get going big in there, especially when their team’s playing like they are. I’m very glad it’s an earlier game. It only gets worse the later it gets, but it won’t be much of a difference Sunday. It’s as loud as it can be. I think it was good for us to be in Baltimore the week before. I think that was the loudest stadium we’ve had to deal with so far this year. New Orleans will be the exact same, if not louder.”
What is your philosophy as far as why it gets louder later?
“They’re more rested. They play cornhole a lot longer.”
Is choosing IMG Academy, were the grass fields at all part of the decision making?
“Yeah, I mean with it being in December, we definitely don’t want to go somewhere where it was cold. We wanted to come somewhere warmer. The main thing was we just didn’t want to practice on turf all week. To be able to come to Florida and have the grass, this was unbelievable to have this place open for us. I did not know this was here and I still can’t believe it’s a high school. It’s pretty impressive.”