The San Francisco 49ers held a press conference Thursday afternoon introducing their star free agent signings in Dee Ford & Kwon Alexander. They spoke for about 20 minutes. It was a little awkward. Both Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch clearly did not want to be there. For good reason. That was right as the signing of Jason Verrett and a few other deals were happening. They just weren’t to into the questions and it came off as disinterested. You can tell they truly believe in the players they signed, though.
The team really admires what Kwon Alexander brings to the table, plus a little info on his rehab
Shanahan on having to game plan for Alexander:
“He taught me a hard lesson that you’d better game plan for him, because I didn’t too well the first game of 2016, we started out 0-1 because of it. I remember him having 20 tackles. I think he had maybe 16, 18. It was so bad that [Atlanta Falcons WR] Julio [Jones] asked me after the game if he could play fullback and block him so I knew I needed a better plan the next time. Dee, always, when you can turn on the tape and he scared you as a coach because you could see how fast he gets off the ball. Not all pass rushers you can see that, but as soon as you press play, you can see it with Dee. I’m glad I don’t have to get freaked out watching that anymore.”
Here is Alexander on his ACL rehab:
I’m just taking it day by day. I’ve been grinding, working hard, and just pushing myself to get back. Just taking it day by day. Let it all work out for itself, and I’ll be back soon.
Here is a very informative video on the subject:
Why are GM John Lynch and the #49ers betting on Kwon Alexander’s health after an ACL repair? I detailed the outcomes, return to performance, and future risk for Kwon after ACL surgery. @NinersNation @TheNinersWire @grantcohn @MaioccoNBCS @SFNinerNoise pic.twitter.com/Aeb6ZXwZnM— Dr. Rajpal Brar, DPT (@3cbPerformance) March 14, 2019
Lynch and Shanahan both acknowledge that they’re looking for defenders that can get takeaways
Here’s Lynch on the two players being able to create turnovers and how important that is:
These are the type of players that we believe can reverse that trend. Starting with Kwon, he’s always had a propensity. He’s always around the ball. There’s so many things to like, but that is definitely something that jumps. And then Dee, he has a knack for getting the ball out. Eight forced fumbles last year, and as Kyle said, that first step is lethal. We think that can help our entire team get that virus going, where we’re taking away the ball on a regular basis.
Shanahan had my favorite quote right after:
Speed and violence affect the quarterback and make people do stupid things before they want to. Both of these guys have a lot of speed, and they both play very violent
That was fitting because a couple of days ago, Ford said “Now I’m going to be like a Ferrari, but with an 18-wheeler’s force.” Speaking of Ferrari’s
Dee Ford knows what his role is:
When asked if he liked what the 49ers envisioned his role was, the exchange between Ford and Shanahan was great:
DF: “Can I tell them? My role is to go that way. Nothing else.”
KA: “All gas, no brakes.”
DF: “Right, right, right. Very simple, man. Very simple.”
KS: “And “that way” is towards the quarterback.”
Earlier in the presser Ford said “my job is to go that way.”
Lynch on investing in a player coming off of an ACL injury
“That’s a fair question. I think we looked hard at it. We’ve adjusted our staff accordingly. We’ve announced some of those moves, some more to come. So, we’ve really tried to look at our structure and how we can best care for our players and give them every opportunity to stay healthy. Having said that, injuries happen. You know, when you get to free agency, you’re looking for players that are going to make your team better. The good news with a guy like Kwon is he has an ACL. Those things get better. He’s putting in the work. We had a physical that was very thorough, and our doctors came out feeling good about it, and that excited us even more because we got to the point where we were signing a contract with his parents, Peaches and Brod, Facetime, and it was fun. That’s just, we thought these guys were great players. We vetted it thoroughly, and we felt comfortable with it.”
Lynch doesn’t put too much stock in an injury as that is part of the game.