San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan spoke about some of the players coming off the PUP list, Deebo Samuel, whether he’s concerned about the offensive line, and much more on Wednesday before practice.
In terms of WR Deebo Samuel, he’s going to be practicing today? What are you expecting to see from him and what does he have to do to prove that he’s going to be able to play Sunday night for you?
“He’s healthy, so we just want to see him out there and get back in the swing of playing football. It’s been awhile since he has. I know he’s been working hard on his own with football and everything and with our trainers and everyone else with the rehab. We just need to see him go through three days and what type of shape he’s in and if he can protect himself, he’ll be out there.”
When you look at what’s happening with the Titans and that game being postponed for a day or two, the memo that went out from [executive vice president of football operations at the NFL] Troy Vincent threatening suspensions and the loss of draft picks if coaches don’t wear their face covering. There was a report that you and all the other coaches had appealed your fines from the first week. So, I was just kind of wondering about what your thought is on that with the NFL kind of raising the stakes now and making the punishment even greater? As well as, how did you do, do you think, on Sunday with those protocols in the face coverings?
“How many questions were in that?”
There was about seven or eight.
“No, I think we understand it all and I think it has to deal with the whole world. When we’re trying to pull off a season and it’s just a reminder how quick that can spread when people get it. It happened to the Titans this week and you see what happens and once that happens, you do have to shut things down and that is a huge deal. If you let that get out of hand, that would be very tough for our league finishing the season. Completely understand all the measures that are taken. Yeah, last week was the first time that I did it every single play, kept it on throughout the whole game. It’s not the most fun thing, as everyone realizes, but it’s definitely worth it and something we need to do. I feel a lot safer in the games and a lot safer in this building with us getting tested every day and everyone else in here. We’ve got to make sure that we are extremely smart outside of here, who we put ourselves around, what situations we put ourselves in because you’re going to get tested the next day you come back in the building, but you can’t be walking around here for 24 hours with us not knowing. That’s why it’s also important what we do in here, but it all makes sense to everybody and I think everyone completely understands that. I think we’re pretty clear on that now and no issues at all with it.”
What does a Jimmy Garoppolo need to do this week in order to be on the field on Sunday? Two days of practice, one day of practice?
“No, he’s just got to be able to be healthy in terms of he can run around and protect himself, make throws. Anytime you’re dealing with an ankle, you might feel all right when you’re standing there, but can you move around and get into the awkward positions without hurting yourself? That’s really what we’d have to see. It would be tough for us to see that and truly judge that if he didn’t get into practice. So, hopefully can get out there for at least one live period and we have those all the way up until Friday. So, we’ve just got to see that he’s healthy, but that won’t be able to happen if we can’t get him in practice.”
Is TE George Kittle still limited or will you be ramping him up this week as we move forward?
“No, he’s full go today. I think we’ll always be smart with him. We’re not just going to throw him in with his normal reps and everything, but he’s full go. He’ll be involved in it all and I’m excited to see him out there going.”
This is out there on social media, but I’ll own the question. It is mine. Does the scenario exist, whether Jimmy’s out for one or two more games in which QB Nick Mullens is so impressive that he could win the starting job?
“No, that scenario doesn’t exist, but I don’t think past one game either. So, that’s for you to do, but this is Jimmy’s team. He’s done a hell of a job for us and when he’s healthy, he’ll be playing again for us.”
Just knowing what Philadelphia Eagles QB Carson Wentz has done in the past in comparison to how he’s looked this season, how do you sort of approach preparing for him? If you were coaching a quarterback who had high highs in the past and was struggling this year, what would your coaching points be?
“We’re coaching like we’re playing against Carson Wentz, who is one of the better quarterbacks in this league. He was the best player in the league the year they won the Super Bowl. I think he’s done a lot of good things since. I know his numbers aren’t great this year and I know a lot of people are saying things about him, but when I watched the film, I’d see Carson Wentz. He’s a guy who can make a lot of plays. He’s very hard to take down, he’s got a strong arm, he competes as much as anyone in this league. I’ve got a ton of respect for him and anytime you get picks and stuff, which aren’t always on the quarterback, but when numbers are like that, that just goes with the territory. I would tell someone like that it would be somewhat easy to deal with because perception doesn’t have to be your reality. He’s a hell of a quarterback and I know how this league feels about him.”
Last year, given the struggles down the stretch against guys like Atlanta Falcons DT Grady Jarrett and Kansas City Chiefs DT Chris Jones, do you feel that your interior offensive line is improved and ready for the challenge against a guy like Philadelphia Eagles DT Fletcher Cox?
“Yeah, I think we’re ready for the challenge. Without a doubt. I think we’re ready for any challenge, but I don’t care who’s going against Fletcher Cox. If you become one dimensional and he can just tee off and he’s getting a lot of one-on-ones and things, it really doesn’t matter. He’s that good of a player and he’s got a bunch of real good guys around him and he has a scheme that completely fits his skillset. So, it’s a challenge for our entire team, not just our offensive line. We’ve got to be in a situation where we can be balanced and make them play everything, not just the pass and that is a challenge for everyone who’s dressed.”
Do you still anticipate that Jordan Reed and Dee Ford may have to be placed on IR later this week? What was your impression of DL Dion Jordan and DL Ziggy Ansah?
“I do expect them to go on IR later this week. Jordan and Ziggy, I was very happy with. They both came in there. Jordan’s been with us throughout training camp, got picked up, got taken to the main roster off the practice squad. He’s just been working, waiting for his opportunity. He knew it would come eventually, it came in the third week and he got on the stat sheet with a sack. He had a fumble recovery, played very hard and did his job. Ziggy had been here a limited time, but he came in, pushed the pocket well, got some pressure on the quarterback and we’re real excited to have both of them here going forward.”
Was waiving LS Kyle Nelson a difficult decision for you or was it something you felt was inevitable?
“We felt it was a little inevitable after the game and everything. It was always difficult because of what Kyle’s meant to the organization, how good of a guy Kyle is, how good of a player that he’s been and it doesn’t mean he can’t be going forward. It’s always hard from the personal relationship that we’ve had with him and he knew the deal and it was just a tough game for him. Usually something like that, you do have to move on and give someone else an opportunity, but Kyle handled it great. I wish him the best. I don’t think that this league will see the last of him though.”
Regarding Kyle, were there inconsistencies that we weren’t seeing, that a layman doesn’t see in practice or was it just one bad game and you just can’t have that type of game in the NFL?
“I think that there’s only 32 of them, and there’s a number of guys trying to get in. It’s very similar to the kicker position and people can get hot and cold. Kyle hasn’t been playing as good as he has in the past. It was kind of trending a little bit that way. If you see things trending that way, just a little bit, you try to make a decision before it hurts you. I think you guys saw what happened on Sunday. So, fortunately we were able to win the game and you’ve just got to make sure that doesn’t happen again. It doesn’t mean that he won’t get out of it, and I actually believe he will, but it’s something that you just can’t risk. Then you’ve got to decide. We’ve been sticking with it and I think that was the writing on the wall, that game, that we just had to make a tough decision and move on for now.”
We’re used to watching a Shanahan rushing offense have success and that really hasn’t happened this year outside of a few explosive runs. It seems like the offensive line is struggling trying to open holes. What would you attribute that to? And are you concerned about the struggles of the running game?
“No, but we definitely need to do better. I thought we had a chance to run for a lot of yards versus the Jets and I thought we missed a couple. Got a couple of called back and then we had way too many negatives. Last week verse the Giants, I thought they did some fronts that caught us off a little bit. Some stuff just from coaching-wise, we didn’t put the guys through. Sometimes they had about six bigs on the line of scrimmage and they had a pretty good defensive line front. I know we could’ve done better, which I challenged the O-Line with. I challenged everybody with, but I also think it was extremely important that we threw the ball well, too, because you want to attack the weaknesses of defense. When people put their strength in stopping the run, you better make them pay in the pass. Fortunately, we were able to do that versus the Giants. We should have ran it better versus the Jets, but I thought that’s what we needed to do in the Giants game.”
I know they’re a few weeks away from having their windows able to open, but the three guys on PUP, how are they coming along from what you know?
“Which guys again?”
The three guys on PUP, DL Jullian Taylor, OL Weston Richburg and DL Ronald Blair III.
“I think, from what I hear, they’re coming along great. It’s not going to be here in the next week or so, but I know we’re a few weeks away on it, but their progress is how it was at the beginning. They’ve had no setbacks. So, hopefully halfway through the season, they’ll be ready to help us.”