San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan spoke about his optimism for Jimmy Garoppolo playing this week, Richard Sherman’s status, not getting lost in the moment during a game, and much more.
In terms of Jimmy, has anything changed in terms of your optimism for him on Sunday?
“Well, the fact he’s coming out today and getting a little more reps, it has. I haven’t seen him yet. He did a good job in walkthrough and we’ll see how he goes, if we’re going to throw him in there today. That’ll give me more of an opinion at least.”
With all the things going around the league with COVID, what changes have you guys made, if any, just in terms of the protocols you guys are following and how much more, maybe, more aware are guys about making sure that they do all the right things?
“I think it’s just a reminder on how on it everyone has to be. I think you’re as on it as much as you can the first day of training camp and the longer people go, just human nature when nothing bad happens, you start to relax a little bit. I think the reminder for everyone here over these last 10 days just heightens your awareness of it. Just like it was the first day of training camp. So, the only things that have really changed, we can’t wear our gaiters in the building anymore. That’s why I got this on. We can wear them on Sundays, but not in the building. Besides that, guys alone in the hallways have got to keep their masks on and everything like that, but besides that, no protocols have changed with what we’ve been doing.”
A two-part question about the interior line. Do you still expect C Weston Richburg back on the timetable, like week seven or whatever it is with the PUP list? With OL Dan Brunskill next to him, how would you evaluate how he’s done so far this year, especially considering the fact that he’s pretty new at guard and I know he had to play a lot of center and kind of mix it up there during training camp?
“Yeah. I am hoping Richburg can get back, there hasn’t been any setbacks. So, I haven’t gone out there and evaluated him, but I’m still planning on him coming back around that time. As far as Brunskill and the whole O-Line, kind of the same thing with how everyone’s been doing. I think he’s done a solid job. He got a lot of playing time last year at tackle and some guard, but I think just as a whole, we need to be crisper. Need to be more on it. I know he did a lot of center throughout training camp and got most of his reps there and now he’s getting more at guard, but he’s been good. I think the more we play, the more we keep going, as long as we can all stay healthy, I think the whole O-Line will get better and Dan included.”
If Jimmy can’t go, have you made a decision who would be your starter?
“Yes, I have, but I’m going to hold that just because there is a difference between them and if Jimmy can’t go, I’d like Miami to find that out on Sunday. I’ve decided that. We’ll get both of them reps because both of them do have to be ready in case Jimmy doesn’t go, but if not, you guys will find that answer on which one’s not dressed.”
There was a report last week, I think about DL Nick Bosa and that there was some cartilage damage along with the ACL. What can you tell us about how his surgery, how DL Solomon Thomas’ surgery went and anything about their prognosis at this stage?
“No. You’re the King of asking me more details than I take in. I know that it was an ACL that was the main thing. I know there was some other stuff to both of them, not exactly the specifics, but I do know they both had their surgery and I’ve been told that both of them went extremely successful, which you rarely don’t hear that. I know it was clean and that’s about all I know. Sorry.”
Regarding Jimmie Ward’s wrist, is there any concern he can’t play Sunday?
“We weren’t concerned at all just because it was just sore. That’s why we didn’t talk about it, but today it was sore and the fact that it was getting a little worse and not better, we just want to do some tests on it. I’m pretty optimistic about it. We’re doing this more for precautionary reasons right now, but he is going to be held out of practice today. So, we’ll see.”
On Monday you talked about the aggressiveness of your running game. I think the way I read that is you try to create big plays, big explosive plays through the running game. Can you elaborate on that and just explain what your mindset is when it comes to designing your running scheme?
“We come off the ball. We don’t kind of plot around, if that makes sense. Our O-Linemen come off the ball just as aggressively as our running back comes off the ball, just as aggressively as our receivers do. Sometimes, as aggressively as the D-Linemen do. Sometimes D-Linemen two gap and play what we call frog stances and sometimes they’re attacking and going right at us, similar to our defense. That’s how our O-Line is on offense. We involve the receivers and everything because we really try to score on every run play. It doesn’t happen very much, but that’s the idea that some people- your mentality is a little bit, just try to block it for two or three and see if the back can create and turn it into more. I think we’re just a little bit aggressive with how we come off and attack, which I think does lead to a lot of success, but it also puts pressure on guys too. When you ask guys to do that left and right, it makes them vulnerable to looking bad, which is why I like the guys that we have. They don’t sit there and play cautious. They don’t, ‘Hey, let me not come off the ball and not go all out on this so I can just stay in front of the guy and make sure I don’t get a bad grade,’ on whatever you guys read for grades and then just hope the back can [former Detroit Lions RB] Barry Sanders it and create. Our guys really come off and go for it. When you do that, you’re going to win some and you’re going to lose some.”
With the new COVID rules in terms of workouts and basically limiting how many guys you can bring in and being able to actually get them in the same game week, how do you navigate that? Do you think that’s actually tenable for the rest of the season?
“Not at the rate we’re going. You hope the luck changes a little bit on that and no, that’s a huge, huge challenge. That’s what we’re all working through and trying to figure out how to deal with that. I don’t have a better answer on how to do it with the situation our league and world is in right now. But, when you only have so many guys and we have six more guys on practice squad, which does help, but that’s definitely not the answer. We’ve been through that already and there’s guys that are going to be playing on our team that aren’t here right now at sometime in this year. So, that stuff is a big deal. When it takes six days to get them in any ways, it makes it harder and you’re also going to be limited with how much you bring. So, I totally understand the rules and what we have to do. But yeah, it is a big deal and it’s something that every team’s going to have to adjust to and find the best way to make it work.”
How did WR Deebo Samuel come out of the game on Sunday? And is your plan to just ramp him up gradually as you go forward?
“Yeah, obviously we want to get him out there more, but with a guy who hurt his foot back in the summer and hadn’t been out there running enough, had to wait for a long time to do that. Then we had to shut him down for a little bit a few weeks ago and it just wasn’t smart to put him out there a ton, but he looks so great in practice. I mean he looked a hundred percent. We went into the game with a plan to go 20 to 30 plays and somehow [wide receivers coach] Wes [Welker] hit miraculously 25 on the dot. So, he was pretty accurate with it. We would love to give more, but we’ve got to be smart with that and see how this week goes with him, but he did a good job. He was ready to go. He made all his assignments and when he got the opportunity, he broke tackles and made some plays, too.”
What’s your assessment of how DT Javon Kinlaw has done through the first four games here?
“I think Kinlaw has done a good job. Each week, I think, he’s improved. Going against us all camp, then he sees a different offense each week, which I think has helped him a little bit, starting to understand some of the blocking schemes and stuff with the league. He’s going to have a good career here. I’m real excited about him and just expect him to keep climbing and getting better as this year goes.”
Within the context of your scheme, how much does the quarterback influence a good rushing performance? For example, when you guys were at your peak against Green Bay last year, how much credit would you give to Jimmy Garoppolo for making the right reads at the line of scrimmage and things like that?
“That’s a lot of pressure we put on them during the week. That’s more about your study habits and going into it and we don’t ask them to just think of it a lot out there. You call a couple plays and there are certain things that lead them to one play or the other, just rules that you give them, stuff you can say to them in the huddle and things like that. So, it’s very important that they prepare the right way and put a lot of time into that. Then usually, if you prepare the right way, which all our guys have every game, they’re pretty automatic in the run game with the checks and stuff once we get to Sunday.”
There was a play in the second half against the Eagles where it seemed like you were pretty upset about a non-holding call on defense and it looked like you got almost all the way out to the numbers to complain. So, I was wondering how difficult is it for you personally to let those calls go and move on to the next play, especially as a play caller?
“It’s part of the game. You’re used to it. I think you get better at it as you get older. You have no choice, especially when you’re calling the plays. There’s a play clock, so it’s actually, it’s a little easier for me when I’m calling the plays. Sometimes I’m going so hard, I might scare some of the coaches that I’m going to blackout and not remember I have to do it, but I’m pretty used to it. I can go from zero to a hundred pretty fast or a hundred back to zero yelling and then all of a sudden, it just clicks in and you call the play and then you usually go back to it. When the defense is up, I can linger a little bit longer because it’s going to linger as long as it can because those things are big deals. They’re part of the game, but I’m constantly trying to get it right.”
Apologies if you hit on this earlier. What’s CB Richard Sherman’s status? Is he going to practice this week and I think he said that the initial plan, confirming what you said on Monday, was to get him back for the Rams game?
“Yes. He was hoping he can get back and practice this week. Just looking at him yesterday and stuff, we’re going to hold him a little bit longer. I’m hoping he continues to improve and I’m hoping he’ll be ready for next week. I’d be surprised if he got in later in this week.”