San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan spoke to the media after Friday’s walkthrough to discuss how Jimmy Garoppolo looked during the week, Deebo Samuel’s illness, what Dre Greenlaw brings to the table, how he broke the news to the backup quarterbacks, and much more.
How did QB Jimmy Garoppolo make it through the week? I assume he’s your starting quarterback on Sunday.
“Oh yeah, he did a good job. Each day he got better. Never felt too sore the next day. So, we needed to hear that today and see him out there today and we feel good to go and he’ll be starting Sunday.”
In terms of Raheem, how did he look at practice and what’s going to go into that decision on Sunday?
“Really just how he’s feeling then. He got a little bit more work today. He was able to get through it. We didn’t put him through everything, but really want to see how that responds tomorrow, how he wakes up tomorrow and how he feels on Sunday.”
How is Deebo doing?
“Deebo is good. He was on Zoom in our meetings today, so he says he has no symptoms, feeling great. So, he’s got one more test to pass. I think he did it today. We’ll get the results tomorrow on that, and then he should be allowed back in our building.”
Just to clarify, are the protocols different, a lot different this year than they normally are for illnesses? This obviously isn’t COVID related because he’d be on that list, but do you guys have to go through more kind of screening just to clear somebody who’s feeling ill?
“Yeah, definitely. That’s going to most likely be the biggest issues and my biggest worries. Deebo, he was sick, so I think he was just a little achy. I think he might have had a fever at night. Especially with flu season coming up, that’s going to be common, but if you have symptoms, you’re automatically out of the building, I think, for at least two days, because you need to pass two tests to confirm it’s not COVID and anyone who’s been around you also needs to be out for those two days. So, that’s going to be the case with that stuff. I remember there was about 12 of us who were sick last year versus Minnesota in that game. So, we’re going to have to deal with that stuff as it goes, so hopefully we’ll get some luck with it.”
With all the moving pieces, different pieces, guys coming in, guys coming out, how much more challenging is it for you to game plan for this week?
“It is a challenge, but it’s just part of it. We kind of expected it going into the year. You do have experience with this stuff in the past when you’re not sure whether guys are going to be up or not because they’re just trying to battle through injuries and stuff. A little bit more with the COVID rules and things like that, which we expected going into the year. It’s also a challenge for special teams, too, because when it’s not just one guy or two guys, they’re all kind of connected and with who you can promote off practice squad and things like that, makes everything pretty fluid. We’ll know for sure on Saturday night, but it’s not as much game planning. It’s just kind of hard sometimes to decide on the practice reps and stuff like that, to where this guy’s going on special teams, but one guy gets sick or something happens. It’s a little bit of a chain reaction at a number of positions.”
Do you have a new number two quarterback?
“Yeah, this week [QB] C.J. [Beathard] will be up. Still haven’t decided with all the situations where we address two or three. Most likely we’ll go with two and I’ll go with C.J. this week.”
Was that a tough bit of news to deliver it to QB Nick Mullens? I mean, just a week ago he was the starting quarterback.
“Yeah, it’s always tough to deliver to any of those guys, but I think Nick understands the situation, understands the business. It sounds dreadful and the end of the world probably to a normal person and anyone who cares about Nick, but I try to put it in perspective with Nick. He didn’t have his best game. C.J. has been there before, Jimmy has been there before. Nick just had a rough game and I think he played better than it looked. It’s never as bad as it seems, but that’s kind of the life of a backup. C.J., I thought, did some real good things for us. Played through a number of games injured. Couldn’t go one night versus Oakland and Nick came in and seized his opportunity and C.J. hasn’t gotten a chance since then because of that. It’s kind of, regardless of what goes on in practice, when two guys are capable and they both are pretty close in different ways, it’s kind of tough to earn that spot in practice and really tough if you don’t have preseason games and rarely get in like they did last year. They never really got in. So, Nick understands. C.J. has been through that since that Oakland game and C.J. came in and played well and I know Nick’s happy for C.J. because they’re close and respect each other. Nick’s not going to make too big a deal of it, but next time he ever gets this opportunity, he’ll be ready.”
TE George Kittle said, I guess it was Sunday, T Trent Williams mentioned yesterday, that the Eagles did things, as far as their defensive line, that they didn’t necessarily show on film the first three games and George had mentioned, teams are kind of attacking you guys a little bit differently throughout the season. I’m sure it’s not like, ‘Geez, I’ve never seen this before,’ but I guess are teams are throwing a little different wrinkles or trying to mess up whatever it is, the run game specifically?
“Yeah. Teams do that all the time. I think the Eagles were actually less than any of the other teams that had been this year, just as far as their fronts and everything and what they do. A lot of teams don’t face 21 personnel very much and they know they’re going to see it a lot in our game. So, we’ve got to always be ready for them having a new plan because it’s not something that they face as much, so you don’t get as much clips of it. So, I think our team has gotten used to ‘Hey just because they play something in a certain way on tape, don’t expect that they’re going to do that versus us.’ When it is like that, I think we’ve had pretty good success and that’s why our guys are always ready to adjust and kind of expecting something to be different.”
RB Jerick McKinnon has done really well at breaking tackles and being elusive, but he spent the most time on average behind the line of scrimmage on each run. Do you need to see him attack the line of scrimmage quicker?
“Everyone has different styles. Sometimes guys who hit it extremely fast, it’s great when the lane’s there because you gash them right away. But when it’s not there, they run into the backs of everybody, and if they had a little bit more patience and stuff, they could have got eight yards instead of negative two yards. So, you’ve got to take the pluses and minuses with each guy’s style. There’s nothing Jet’s doing that we’re trying to correct. I don’t think he’s gotten a ton of great looks in the two games he’s been in. I think he’s done a good job when he hasn’t had good looks, create some stuff. And there’s a couple that he’s left out there that he knows that he maybe could have hit a little bit more, but by no means has it been anything that- everyone’s got a little bit different style and sometimes it helps them. Sometimes it hurts them and that’s the story for all the guys.”
With all the talk about the offensive line play this week, how do you think they responded to the week of practice and what you guys are asking for them based on how they played on Sunday night?
“I think they responded great. To kind of be under the spotlight on Sunday Night Football when everybody’s watching and not to have the success that they’re used to having in the run game and in pass protection. Sometimes guys are going to be a little bit of sensitive coming in. It’s not fun for people to get called out like that and our guys couldn’t have been more the opposite. We’ve got some men in our group, some guys who are very accountable. You could tell that they came in on Tuesday just on their own when they’re not supposed to be around us, just detailing stuff up, putting in more work in. It’s kind of hard to think that they could put more work in, because those guys are as good of a group in terms of work and preparations as I’ve been around, but those guys, through adversity, they’ve gotten stronger. We had a great week of practice. Love how they came out yesterday in our team run. Had a good day to day on Friday and I’m pumped to see them play on Sunday.”
I might’ve missed it, you didn’t mention LB Dre Greenlaw in the injury report, right? How important is it to get him back? What would have you missed without him on the field?
“Yeah. He’s full go. Dre is a hell of a player. Everyone knows what he did for us last year. He’s a guy who doesn’t mess up. He does his job. He’s a very sure tackler and he also has a knack for making plays. So, getting Dre back’s huge and can’t wait to get him in there.”
Lot of injuries in your defensive backs group. Are you going to make a move before tomorrow? I know you have until one.
“Yeah, we’re going to have to make a move, at least one. Again, that is probably our most fluid situation at DB, but we have up until one tomorrow to do it. So, I know we’re going to make at least one, possibly two. We’ll see how some of these guys did after practice, how they’re feeling based off the training room and we’ll make our decisions and we’ll go.”