San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch spoke to the media one last time Thursday morning. The opening question was how Jimmy Garoppolo has been getting a lot of heat this week where is Shanahan’s support in Jimmy, and if there could be any offseason moves made:
Same as it was the day before the Super Bowl. He was on his way to Super Bowl MVP. We all know we all didn’t make those plays at the end, but we made those plays all year. Our whole team, and that’s one of the reasons we were there. Whenever you don’t make those plays near the end like that, first and foremost, the quarterback is going to get attacked, then usually the play-caller. We understand that’s how it goes.
Shanahan on if he is embracing the loss of the Super Bowl and how hard it will be to get back:
Yeah, definitely. There’s a reason not a lot of teams have done it. It’s not an easy thing to do. But I also think we have a lot of different people that other teams have. I look back to our first season, a stat I mention a lot when we started 0-9, no team had ever finished 3-13, and we finished 6-10. So I look at little things like that. We have a lot of stats that prove we’re different people.
Shanahan on why it’s so difficult to get back to the Super Bowl:
One, in general, how hard it is to get there. Just because you go one year doesn’t mean you’ll get there the next year. Look at how much teams change on a year-to-year basis. How much injuries play into it, how much calls by the ref plays into it. It’s how everything little thing goes. It’s not just a seven-game series. It’s one game, and that’s what is different to me in football than all other sports. I think guys want to relax too long, which is why it’s important to me that we do take a few weeks off, but are cognizant of getting back to work. We have the right guys where we’re not going to have to convince them [to get back to work.] We have guys that wish we were playing this week. We’re fired up to go, and we can handle the losses. We want to put ourselves in that position again.
Shanahan on his evaluation of the offensive line:
It was good enough for us to go and have a chance to win the Super Bowl. We’ll try and get better in every aspect, but our o-line is one of the reasons we were second in the league in running the ball. I think we were pretty effective on third down throughout the year. I know we weren’t on Sunday at the Super Bowl, but throughout the year, we were. It’s hard to do that stuff without a good o-line.
The follow-up question was if there was any concern that the team struggled against really elite interior defensive linemen:
I think everyone struggles against elite interior guys; I don’t care what guard you have in this league. When you have a guard 1-on-1 with a player like that [Chris Jones,] there’s about five in this league at the most that are like that; those guys are tough to handle. That’s why you have to be balanced and mix stuff up. He had his plays, but we also had our plays too.
Shanahan was asked if we would have handled not calling a timeout at the end of the first half any differently in hindsight:
Absolutely not. I think that is one of the reasons we were up ten points going into the fourth quarter. I was as confident in that situation as anything we’ve done all year. I mean that strongly. That’s something you work on for two weeks when studying that team in that situation. You’re not going to give the ball back to them no matter what in that situation. The way he did that 3rd & 15 at the end of the game is how he does the two-minute drive. I felt extremely good with how we went. Not using a timeout, there was a no-brainer. If we would have got an explosive run on that first one, then it would have been a whole different deal. But we got a 2.5-yard run.
The whole goal was to not let them [Chiefs] call a timeout there. So you hurry to the line, act like you’re going, but you don’t. So you can ensure that Mahomes won’t have an opportunity. Then we run the ball and make them use one of their timeouts. Now it’s third down, and at least we’ve made them use one of their timeouts, and we’ve taken enough time off the clock that now if we don’t get this, it’ll be harder [for the Chiefs to score.] We end up having an opportunity to score if we don’t have an offensive PI.