49ers Head Coach Kyle Shanahan
What did you make of your offense’s work out there today?
“It was good work, it went back and forth. The defense did a good job coming up with some turnovers there in the two-minute drill, but I liked the work on both sides.”
Two dropped passes. Is that anything to concern you at this point or did you see it that way?
“Yeah, we’ve got to change everybody that had drops today. No. Yeah, don’t want them to drop it. A few had some drops today. I think a couple were contested, got them out, too, but it wasn’t clean there at the end.”
Will QB Nick Mullens be the primary guy with the first team in 11-on-11 tomorrow? Are you going back and forth between them?
“Yeah, nothing’s changed and we’ll do that going into training camp. So, I didn’t even notice who was out today.”
It was QB C.J. Beathard.
“It was? Then Nick will probably be tomorrow. I think that’s the rotation we’ve been doing. You’ll remind me, because I’m not as on top of it. They’re even, I know that. So, we just mix it up continuously.”
What did you think of C.J.’s practice today?
“From what I saw out there, I thought he did a good job. C.J.’s had a real good camp. He’s been playing real well. So has Nick, so I’ve been excited about both of them.”
When you look at that competition, has it started or do you really open your eyes in training camp to start that evaluation process?
“I mean, I know both of them so well, because we’ve been here two years with them and we’ve gotten a chance now to see both of them in practice and both of them in games, so I don’t think it really starts until you get to training camp. They’ve both been doing a real good job, both playing at a high level, so that’s been exciting. But, to sit there and really stress over, from a coaching standpoint, trying to make the decision, we’re not there yet because a lot could change. These guys have both proven that they can play in this league and we’re going to have to make a tough decision at the end of preseason to which one we want to give that number two job to. You don’t get to compete much during the season, there’s not enough reps. There’s scout team and things like that. You really, you hope [QB] Jimmy [Garoppolo] stays healthy so it’s irrelevant who’s the number two guy. But, the number two guy does get a lot more reps in practice and stuff, so that’s gonna be very important for them.”
Defensive coordinator Robert Saleh said a couple weeks ago that LB Kwon Alexander might be back before training camp. Have you guys, obviously you don’t have a concrete plan right now, but is that the idea for him and for RB Jerick McKinnon to start getting eased in?
“Yeah, that’s the idea. I mean, come back from vacation and get their physicals and we’ll test them out and hope the doctors clear them. If they do, they’ll be full go. We’ll obviously take care of them and have a plan with them coming back from an injury like that, but the goal is to hope they’re ready by the first day of camp. But, if there’s any hesitation at all, then we have no problem being patient with that and waiting until they are ready.”
Is that why, it seems like a lot of guys were missing in the Spring, but none of those--?
“Yeah, pretty much team-wide. Everyone we’re really hoping for that first day we can get them back. That’s why I joked with you guys in the beginning we’re having a really bad OTAs in terms of guys not being healthy for it. We’ve had so many healthy OTAs since we’ve been here, we’re hoping it’s the opposite for training camp.”
One last one. T Mike McGlinchey didn’t practice today. What’s going on with him?
“Yeah, we had this planned all along. He needed to get a PRP on his knee, so we just wanted to do it before camp. We thought this would give him enough time to recover and heal the right way. Something we’ve been planning on doing for a while, we just wanted to do it at the best time.”
Does WR Deebo Samuel have an injury?
“Yeah, he does. That’s why he’s not out there.”
What is it?
“He has a tweaked [hip]. I think it’s a tweaked [hip]. Is that it?”
“That was tough. Any others?”
McGlinchey had a what on his knee?
“A PRP. Yeah.”
“Just went above my expertise. It’s something the guys do a lot. It’s minor, but you know, you’ve got to stay off your knee for like three weeks after you do it. Now’s the time to do it leading up to camp.”
I was hoping to ask about offensive line coach John Benton. How far does your relationship with him go? Did you coach with him in Houston?
“Yeah, when I got to Houston, I was the receiver coach one year when he was O-Line coach. Actually, [former NFL head coach] Mike Sherman was O-Line coach. When Mike Sherman became coordinator, Ben became the O-Line coach, I was the quarterback coach that first year and then the next two years I was coordinator, Benton was the O-Line coach there.”
When you were assembling your staff here, what about coach Benton made you want to--?
“I mean, one, it’s always good when you’ve worked with someone, because you can have relationships with people whether you like people or not, but you never really know until you work with someone for at least a year. To be in that building with him for four years and to go through a bunch of stuff, you know, me especially as a first-year coordinator and things like that, John was a guy I relied on a lot and had to have a lot of discussions with on what we wanted to do protection-wise and things like that. Then I just kept in touch with him over the years. He’s been a number of other places, but he’s always been one of the better O-Line coaches in this league. When we had a chance to get him after our season ended in Atlanta, I didn’t hesitate.”
With DL Nick Bosa being out since early in OTAs, what guys on the edge have impressed you in his place?
“Really, all our guys. We’ve had, our group on the D-Line has been real good. [DL] Dee Ford obviously, coming out there, just his get off from the beginning, it’s been tough especially to block when you don’t have pads on and things like that. And they can’t get too close to the quarterback, which is always frustrating for them. The guys inside have done real good. [DL] Ronald Blair [III] has stepped it up, as he always does. I’d say every single guy on our roster looks like they have more experience, they look in better shape. When we’re talking about the D-Line, I think they all look bigger, stronger and faster and I think they all look extremely comfortable in what we’re doing. They’ve been very tough to go against these OTAs.”
Do you get the sense that those guys have kind of embraced the expectations? You guys have invested a lot of resources in that. Do you get the sense that they’ve embraced that?
“Yeah, definitely. And they should, because we have invested a lot of resources since we’ve been here and before we got here. There is some talent there. I think that they know they’re talented, too, and I think they’re getting a lot of confidence also. I think they believe in what they’re doing. They see that they’ve got a lot of strength on the outside and on the inside and guys know that. You can’t fool each other and they see the talent next to them, which they know they have to compete to get on that field. They know they’ve got some good guys next to them that can make their job easier.”
From last season heading into this year, what was on your to-do list for WR Dante Pettis to get himself ready for his second season?
“I was hoping going through, sometimes, especially receivers, it takes a while going through that rookie year just the difference and how to run routes, how to be on it every single play. The college game is a lot different. It’s a lot more spread out, there’s a lot more bubbles and things like that, the routes are a lot sloppier, there’s not as much man-to-man and stuff. It takes a while to get used to that. Pettis went through a lot of ups and downs throughout the year, especially with the injuries he battled and he finished very good. I was just hoping that with the way he finished he would learn and come back even hungrier and know that he had to do some other stuff differently. For him to get away from us for a few months, I was always texting with him telling him and he always says the right things, but you never really know. When I saw him the first week he got back to see the size that he had put on, not that he’s going to be real noticeable different to everyone, but he worked while he was gone. He worked while he was away. He tried to get bigger. He worked more at his routes and he came here with the idea of ‘Hey, I’m not just coming here to get better back in shape, I’m coming here to get better’. So, when he came back, he was in such good shape that since he’s been here over these last two months, he’s gotten better in every area. He did have a little setback. I think he tweaked his hamstring a few weeks ago. He battled through that. Now he’s leaving hopefully one more practice he can leave healthy and have another good month where he keeps getting better and has no setbacks with tissue injuries.”
What form of coaching does he respond better to, the kick in the butt or the pat on the back?
“A little bit of both. I mean, Dante’s extremely smart, so you need to know what you’re talking about when you talk to him. It’s okay to give a kick in the butt as long as you’re saying something that makes sense. I mean, you’ve got to make sense to Dante, he’s got to think about it. He wants to do what’s right and he wants to do what works. If you just yell at him to yell at him, like, he’s going to be respectful, but that’s probably not going to make him better. You’ve got to really teach him and show him. He’s a guy who wants to think about it and he’s a laid-back guy which, I think, can be his biggest strength, because a lot doesn’t get to him. Every time when he’s a little too laid back, you might need to kick him in the butt just a little bit because a lot of things come easy to Dante. I want him sometimes a little more stressed out. But, it’s kind of cool that he’s not, because he’s a talented dude and he hasn’t had to be that stressed out. We’re trying to get the most out of him and we see that happening.”
Kind of in that same grain, WR Trent Taylor obviously didn’t meet his own expectations last year. He feels better, faster, it looks like that connection with Jimmy Garoppolo has kind of rekindled.
“Yeah, I mean, Trent, it was so hard for Trent last year just because he was battling that back thing all of last offseason, so he missed a whole offseason of working out, which is a huge deal. I mean, it was the same thing that happened to [CB Richard Sherman] Sherm last year, and Trent spent his whole time away healthy. He had no setbacks with his back, so we could see the first day he got back here when he ran routes that he was feeling better. Each day, he’s been able to stack those days up of trying to get better, not just trying to get his back to feel better. Now Trent is right back to where we expected him to be after his rookie year. He had a good rookie year, but we expected him to come back better. We still thought he needed to improve in a number of ways after his rookie year, and when he came back, he just came back hurt. That was tough, and he took a step back. We expect him to get back to his rookie year and we expect him to be better. And he’s on his way to doing that right now.”
You got Jimmy some reps behind the offensive line. There were no pass rushers there obviously, but is that a significant landmark in his comeback and in his workload this offseason? When did you decide to implement that?
“That was just because we decided to do two-minute for the first time today, and he hasn’t been cleared by the doctors to be out there with a defensive line rushing him. That’s why all he did was seven-on-seven for the eight OTAs we had. I think it was like 163 reps, so he got a lot of seven-on-seven. Today, we wanted to do two-minute, so instead of making it an entire seven-on-seven two-minute period just so Jimmy could get in there, we let the whole team do it. When Jimmy’s reps got up, we just didn’t have a pass rush just so the O-Line could hear it. It’s not all competing, there’s a lot of scheme and stuff that goes into them hearing the calls and stuff like that, so we wanted to get live action with him.”
One more receiver question. With WR Marquise Goodwin, is this a new, a different plan this season than the previous two seasons with him? Are you going in with a different idea of who he will be on your team?
“No, I think we always have a pretty good idea of who Quise will be and what he can do. The benefit this year is that there’s other people to take some pressure off. You know, Quise, since we’ve gotten him here, he’s had to play a lot more than you would like. He’s had to do some routes a lot more than you would like. He’s capable of doing it all, but you like to put people on what they’re best at and things like that. We haven’t had the necessary depth here and some players to take off that. That’s what we tried to do more this offseason. It’s what we tried to do last offseason. We drafted a receiver two years in a row in the second round hoping that can take some of the pressure off of Quise.”
What have you seen from him? He had a nice day today, it seemed like.
“I mean, Quise looks good all the time in the offseason because he’s healthy, he can run, and he’s extremely hard to cover. When Quise is like that, he plays at a very high level and I think Quise had been in a good spot. He’s been great here in his third year, being around the guys, having a lot more youth in that room, too. He’s been great with the new coaches and I think Quise and us, we’re just hoping that we can just keep this going and keep him healthy. I think it’ll be easier to do that with some of the other guys that we brought in.”
What’s the plan with WR Jalen Hurd when you get him back healthy? There’s been a lot of discussion about him having a bunch of different roles. Are you going to ease him into one thing in particular and then expand him from there or are you putting a lot on his plate?
“No, he’s got to show that he can play one position first. He hasn’t been out there and he’s got to make this team as a receiver first. There’s other guys he’s got to beat out. Once he shows that he can learn the offense and that he’s better than other people at certain things, then you’ll give him that. Just because someone’s built that way doesn’t mean that they get it. He’s got to be better than people. He’s got a long way to go until he proves that.”
Is it going to be all three receiver spots or is it going to be mostly F where you put him?
“It’s all different because all three of those positions we can move anywhere we want. We’ll probably play him at Z and F. If we motion the tight end, then it looks like he’s X, but he’s still Z or F. So, it’s all the same.”
Is TE Garrett Celek still in the concussion protocol?
“He is, but he can’t get tested to get out of it yet. He can’t until we put pads on and stuff like that since he missed his last protocol test. You can’t do it again until like a certain month period. We can’t do that until training camp. However, that’s irrelevant right now because he had his back surgery and he’s going to be out for some time with that. He should, we’ll see how it goes, I don’t know, but I’m more worried about him coming back from the back. That’s going to be a little longer.”
How long is that recovery?
“I want to say like two months.”
Two months from today he may be ready possibly?
“I don’t know. I’m guessing. It’s a serious surgery dealing with the back. Some stuff that Trent went through last year and some stuff that Celek went through before we got here. I think like five years ago he had a surgery like this on his back. I want to say then, it was during the season, he missed, I think I was told six to eight weeks and he’s having something similar now.”
This is a random question, I apologize for that, but going back to your very first coaching job at UCLA, are there one of two things that you took from that experience that helped you get where you are now?
“I try to take everything from every experience. Back then, I was like, I was right out of college, so everything I wanted to show I would put cleats on and try to demonstrate it. You’re just, you’re still wanting to play. It’s neat because you’re close to age with all those guys, so you can relate to them a lot more. But, you’re learning so much more, so you can help bring stuff to the table to them that you don’t always have that connection as you get a lot older. But, I also didn’t know as much then. I was a GA and just getting into it, but I think you start to realize when you can help people and teach them stuff, and you can answer questions that help people, it doesn’t matter whether you’re a GA, a head coach, a quality control, a coordinator or whether you’re talking to a walk on or [former NFL RB] Maurice Jones-Drew or [Green Bay Packers TE] Marcedes Lewis. If you can say something that helps people and makes sense to them, they will respect you and listen to you. That’s why I don’t think appearance or age or whatever matters if you know what you’re talking about. That’s why I don’t think you have to be a guy who MF’s people if you know what you’re talking about. I feel like I’ve always taken that from my young age and tried to be consistent with that.”
Do you have an update on K Robbie Gould and if not, I think there was some talk or speculation that he might walk in here a couple days before Week 1. If so, are you comfortable, kind of, with that plan?
“Yeah, definitely. I mean, obviously, I’d much rather Robbie be here and doing everything. We love having him around. But, I understand how he feels and what’s going on. If that’s the way he would like to do it, no problem with that at all. We’d always rather it be perfect the way we want it, but if he doesn’t want to show up until Week 1, it is what it is. I’ll take a very god kicker at any time, whether it’s Week 1 or third down just one play before we’re about to have to kick. Robbie’s a hell of a kicker and nothing’s really changed on that. I just really hope he shows up by the time we play Week 1.”
I know he hasn’t practiced in a while, but what have your impressions been of Nick Bosa and just how is he absorbing what he can absorb at this point in the process?
“For not being out there very much, I’ve been very impressed. He’s been one of the guys, he’s not too loud, doesn’t try to stand out, but also doesn’t sit there and hide in the corner. He’s one of the guys. I think he’s fit in very well and I think he’s very attentive in his meetings. I think he enjoys football. He’s not a guy who’s falling asleep in the meetings just because he can’t practice that day. He enjoys watching it and watching other people and learning from other people. He’s handled himself great so far.”
Is just the nature of that position something where maybe it’s easier for him to pick it up after not practicing as opposed to something like receiver, where so much is just predicated on timing?
“Yeah, definitely. I mean, I think there’s not as many variables that go into it. You’ve got to beat the guy in front of you and if you don’t know what you’re doing, but you beat the guy in front of you every single time, you’re going to be alright where there’s more to that at another position. I mean, everybody wants to be out there and get reps, that’s what you need to get better. We’ll get him healthy and it’ll make him hopefully better for him to get reps in training camp.”
Did TE Tyree Mayfield have an issue with the heat today? Did you get any word on him?
“Yeah, he did.”
49ers backup quarterback C.J. Beathard
You connected well with WR Marquise Goodwin today a couple times. Then there was kind of a little case of the drops a little later. Can you just give a summary of today’s practice?
“There were a lot of ups and downs in today’s practice as there is in any practice. Kind of like in a game, the offense has nice plays, the defense will come back with a couple good plays. They had a couple of nice strips there towards the end. But, I don’t think we’d be a good all-around team if we were just killing the defense every practice or if they were just beating up on us. I think it’s a good competition out there when, you know, we get our plays and when they get theirs, their right share of plays.”
Is it difficult to practice and do everything that you’re doing knowing that there is going to be a pretty significant competition between you and QB Nick Mullens come training camp?
“No. I don’t think, I mean me and Nick are friends, good friends off the field. I think our whole room is just a really good group of guys in general and we’re all friends off the field and at the end of the day you’re just out there playing football and doing the best you can do with your reps and it’s just fun when you’re out on the field.”
Can you evaluate how you think you’ve done over the last couple months?
“Yeah, I thought I’ve had a good OTAs. I feel comfortable about it, I feel real good about it and I’ve got one more tomorrow. I hope we finish up strong tomorrow.”
Do you think that competition is helping you?
“Yeah, I really do. I think anytime you have competition, especially from guys that are in the room, good players, it makes you better, it really does.”
How much more is this going to ramp up when you guys get to camp and pass rushers can actually get to you and you’ve got to time yourself in the pocket?
“I mean, anytime you’re playing live it’s different, definitely. It’s also different when you’re not going up against your defense every single day. So, it’ll be nice when you get out there against the real opponents and you can feel what it feels like to get hit again, but I’m looking forward to it.”
This being your third year in the system, are you experiencing your understanding of it expanding and are you guys able to do a little bit with more just in terms of play book and more complicated things?
“Yeah, definitely. I think with each year comes better knowledge of the game and we’ve got three quote unquote veteran guys right now that have played significant snaps in games and I think that just ramps up what [head coach] Kyle [Shanahan] can throw at us and what we can handle, because we’ve been in the system for three years now.”
And WR Dante Pettis and TE George Kittle have talked about the learning curve from their rookie season to their second and third years and how much easier it comes to them later on. I assume you are experiencing the same thing?
“Oh yeah, no doubt, every year you just feel that much more comfortable with the offense and the system and just with the guys that you’re around. You know guys a lot better. You know how Dante runs routes, George, all these guys that you kind of know when they’re going to break and you just feel a lot more comfortable with these guys.”
Who coaches you guys up mainly in the quarterback room now that Denver Broncos offensive coordinator Rich Scangarello is gone? I know you have a few different coaches in there.
“Yeah, we have more coaches than players right now it seems like. But [quarterbacks coach] Shane [Day] is our quarterback coach so he’s in there with us all the time. [Passing game coordinator] Mike LaFleur is in there all the time with us. [Offensive assistant] Bobby Slowik is in there with us all the time and then Kyle pops in for most of the big tape meetings. Some days before practice we’ll just be talking about what we’re thinking today in practice, but when it comes to watching tape, dissecting tape, Kyle’s in there usually with us.”
It’s not like one coach is assigned one quarterback?
“No, it’s just kind of collective input and it makes us all better.”
What is Shane like as a coach?
“He’s awesome. He’s got a lot of energy, a big energy guy, real smart, real intellectual. I think he’s made us all better. He harps on details a lot and I think that makes us all better in the long run.”
You said he was working with you on your pocket awareness. What steps has he taken to help you with that?
“Just drills every day. Working on movement drills, throwing off parallel platforms because a lot of times you’re gonna have to throw with a guy in your face or backing up and whatnot and just kind of feeling the pocket stepping up and stuff like that.”
Have you sensed any extra excitement from QB Jimmy Garoppolo being out there, maybe the first time back or something like that where he’s very happy to be out there?
“He’s been out there the whole time. What do you mean?”
Just like when he’s on the field, something that he missed, like he hasn’t been out there until these OTAs and stuff.
“Oh, oh. I mean, I think any of us get mad when we miss something. Obviously, I think whoever it happens to is the most mad at themselves. If I miss something I’ll be more mad at myself than anybody else out there could be mad at me and likewise goes for Jimmy and Nick. I know that’s how they think and any competitor would say the same.”
With you being friends with Nick is it one of those things where you leave work at work, you guys don’t talk about?
“Yeah, 100-percent. We pretty much hang out every night in the hotel, because we’re in a hotel only a couple rooms down the hall. On the weekends we golf pretty much every weekend with a group of four guys. We’re real close off the field for sure.”
“I mean, actually we’re pretty competitive on that, but it’s pretty even. Most of the time we’ll go with four guys and [QB] Wilton Speight is actually a really good golfer, we found out he’s really good. So, it will be me and Nick playing best ball versus Wilton and someone who’s not as good but he’s decent, don’t want to drop any names [WR] Max McCaffrey.”