San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan provided injury updates, spoke about Nick Mullens, a late hit on Jimmy Garoppolo, and much more during Monday’s press conference.
“All right guys, starting with the injury stuff. A lot of this stuff isn’t still confirmed yet. You guys know we’re at the Greenbrier. We had an MRI truck scheduled up here and that truck broke last night. So, the local hospital is helping us out with MRIs, but that’s why we’re behind on everything. What we’ve gotten back so far: we’ve got [QB] Jimmy [Garoppolo] with a high ankle. We’ll see how that goes this week. Does still have a chance because the severity is not real bad, but it is a high ankle. [RB Raheem] Mostert, MCL sprain, almost likely to be out this week. Then the other guys we haven’t gotten it confirmed yet, but [RB] Tevin [Coleman] with a knee sprain, [DL] D.J. Jones with an ankle, [LB Dre] Greenlaw had a thigh contusion and then [DL Nick] Bosa and [DL] Solomon [Thomas] we’re still waiting on. So, we should get that back sooner than later. Go ahead.”
There was a report about you guys, I guess, agreeing to terms with former Seattle Seahawks DE Ziggy Ansah. Is that true and what potentially could he bring to you guys in the midst of all these injuries issues?
“Yeah, we agreed to terms with Ziggy. Once he passes the COVID tests and everything, it should be official and hopefully we can get him in here for Wednesday, practicing. I played against Ziggy a ton. He’s a hell of a player. Can rush the passer and play the run well, so hopefully he can get in, get him in here soon and get him caught up. We were going to try to do it anyways, but the urgency of that has definitely gone up with some of the injuries we’ve had in the last 24 hours.”
Sorry if I missed it in that list of injuries, but with DL Dee Ford, have you gotten more information on his neck injury or whatever the severity of that might be?
“Yeah, the older, the guys with injuries before this weekend, [TE George] Kittle we’ll see Wednesday how that’s going. [CB Jason] Verrett we should have back on Wednesday. And then Dee Ford, it started with neck spasms. We’d kept him around for the doctors to look into it. After further testing, it’s more of a back injury now than neck spasms. So, anytime it’s the back, that is an issue. So, we’re still working into that, but at least we can clarify what it is, but that’s all I got on him.”
I know Mostert kind of had a big week planned this week anyway with the things going on with his family and things like that. What is the plan for him this week, and particularly now that you have to factor in kind of the rehab and all that?
“I’m not sure exactly. You could ask him. I know his wife’s expecting this week. So, hopefully it works out for them, however it pans out when she has it and hopefully he can make it, but I’m not sure exactly. I know we’re going to do whatever we can help him out.”
With the situation with the turf, well first off, have you had any conversations or anyone there have any conversations about your concerns with the turf at MetLife Stadium and where things would stand there? But also, with George coming off the knee, do you have to really give that a second thought of whether that’s something you guys really want to do to bring him back with the concerns you have over the field surface there at MetLife?
“Yeah, we always will think about that with everything, especially with George coming back and especially the issue with the field. So, I know nothing’s changed with me with the field yet. I haven’t been able to talk to anyone. I know [general manager] John [Lynch] talked to [executive vice president of football operations at the NFL] Troy [Vincent] earlier today and they’re definitely looking into it. So, hopefully at some time we get some answers back that can make our players feel a little bit more at ease playing it next week.”
Kind of maybe an obvious question, but I guess the implications of losing a player like Nick Bosa, I guess what would you say they are and how can you try to at least fill in, if not fully compensate for his loss?
“You can’t do it with one guy. Everyone’s got to step it up. Everyone knows how great of a player Nick is. Teams do go through this. We lost our quarterback at the beginning of the year two years ago. You look at things like Denver, losing a player like [Denver Broncos LB] Von [Miller] before the season started. So, it’s all very similar to losing a guy like Nick. I think we all understand that, but the thing that makes you excited about that is that we do have a lot of good players on our team. Players that people know about, who I think can still get better, and I also think there’s a lot of people that people don’t know about who this opens up opportunities for, who can get better. Yeah, when you lose a great guy like that, it’s tough. But, you can look in our rooms and stuff and know that we’ve still got a lot of guys out there who can go play good football and give us a chance to win every game that we show up for.”
There was no penalty on the hit on which Jimmy was injured. After reviewing that, was that a legal hit below the knee there?
“No, they hit him right in the calf or right in the Achilles. So, that was low. They didn’t call that and then they couldn’t blow the whistle because his mask was on. He couldn’t get the mask off in time so while Jimmy’s laying there and they can’t blow a whistle because the mask was on, a guy came and hit him again. So, I thought there should’ve been two penalties on that play.”
You said the severity of the ankle sprain is not as bad as initially feared. Was part of the reason to get him out at halftime just knowing how the game was going and the way the turf was and that kind of leaves the window open for next Sunday?
“No, you heard it and adrenaline and stuff and you don’t take him in for an extra and everything with how he’s talking and stuff. So, you feel okay with it, but as the game gets going and you can tell how he’s moving and we were communicating with a lot, we knew that it was hurting him. We tried to get him in for some X-rays at halftime and do all that stuff and we knew it was getting worse, not better. When it’s getting worse, not better, that’s not a good sign. So, we were going to shut him down regardless at halftime.”
Another turf question: do you know if your players were wearing the same types of cleats and soles that the Jets were wearing and are you going to re-examine or change the footwear your players wear the next time they’re on this MetLife field?
“No, I don’t know. We’ll look into everything this week, but you’re talking about stuff gripping and stuff too much. I would think the only thing you could do is take off cleats, which isn’t fun either. Hopefully we’ll get something from the NFL that makes us feel better about that, but I know the players and our equipment guys will be looking at everything possible to help us with that turf.”
You already mentioned Ziggy Ansah coming. Do you anticipate bumping up someone from the practice squad, either DL Dion Jordan or DL Darrion Daniels? What’s the thought process on that? Is that something you’ll do early in the week or later?
“We haven’t decided exactly, yet. Just with the numbers going right now, I’m sure that we will, but a lot of things talking about today and not getting the official MRIs back yet. So, we haven’t made a decision, but we will by the end of the week.
It was hard to tell where Tevin Coleman got hurt. He came out of the game for a little bit then went back in. What was the nature of his injury and are you optimistic about him at all?
“No, I’m concerned about him, too. That’s what we’re waiting for, the MRI on him. I know it’s some type of knee issue. You couldn’t see it exactly when it happened. He would know what play it happened on. I haven’t gotten to ask him yet, but it happened late in the game. Kind of the same thing just as what was happening with other guys.”
They mentioned on the broadcast some travel issues you had going out there. Can you explain what happened?
“Yeah, the plane we were supposed to take out on Friday somehow, I don’t know how, but someone crashed into it on the runway. People working, I guess. So, they dented it and we thought they were going to fix it and then they thought it was not safe to travel. So, I’m glad they made that decision, but they got us a new plane in San Francisco. We had to go to a different airport and so it got us about a six-hour delay. So, it just got us in real late. We didn’t get in until about 2:30, land, and get to the hotel around 4:00. We were supposed to get there at 9:00, but luckily, we came on Friday. It would have been a big issue if we came on Saturday.”
Two questions, did you have an emergency quarterback just in case anything happened to QB Nick Mullens and then also Jimmy seems to perform better after he’s gotten hit. He had a great performance after his ankle injury.
“No, he does. He’s pretty consistent with that. He even says it, too. So, I told him we can hit him with a bat on the way out before we start if that’ll help him, but we kind of laughed at it. Jimmy’s a physical guy and lots of guys, that kind of gets them going in the game and gets you more alert. Jimmy plays with a lot of grit. For him to hurt his ankle like he did, the next series in, we had a third down where people weren’t open on. They got us in the right call for him to scramble to the right when he barely could move, make that throw to [WR Brandon] Aiyuk to move the chains that led to a 14-play drive. He really gutted it out. As tough of a guy as I’ve been around.”
Obviously, replacing somebody like Nick and also Dee is something that’s never going to happen to 100-percent capacity, but given what defensive line coach Kris Kocurek has already shown, his ability to mix and match guys on the defensive line, I was hoping you could talk about the challenge in front of him and how much faith you have in him being able to glean as much as he can out of the remaining talent on the defensive line?
“Well, I’ve got a ton of faith in Chris because he gets the most out of all of his players, whoever it is, whether it’s a top guy. I joke that all he has is top 10 picks, but he’s also got a lot that aren’t and whoever it is, doesn’t matter. He coaches them all the same and he gets the most out of them. So, when you’ve got that effort as a coach and then you’ve got players who buy in and who work and give it their all every single day, no matter what day it is and who are pretty talented to begin with, I feel good about our D-Line. Yeah, we’ve lost a couple of good guys, really good guys, but like I said, we’ve got some depth and I think they’re coached extremely well.”
Just knowing that and just knowing how important it is for Mullens to get a full week of practice under his belt, how important is it for him to get on the same page as weapons and knowing that he’s been in the system for a few years, can we see the full playbook?
“I think you always see the full playbook. Whatever we take into a game plan, that’s how we’re attacking that game, those defenses and what we think our players do best. So, that doesn’t change much, whether he’s in his third year or first year. I think it’ll be good for Nick to get in there with the first O a little bit more. I thought our cadence was a little bit off when we switched in the second half, just the rhythm wasn’t the exact same. It took a little bit for the center, the O-Line and Nick to get used to. So, I think that’ll be good for the whole group just to work together a little bit more because if that is the case on Sunday, it’s a lot easier working together than just starting in the third quarter.”
With Nick and with Jimmy, if he can’t go on Sunday, do you kind of assess Nick’s performance and kind of see where he’s at if Jimmy’s iffy next week, too?
“Sorry, what do you mean?”
Do you sort of look at Nick and see where he’s at in terms of maybe holding Jimmy back another week to protect his ankle?
“No, Jimmy’s our guy and if he’s good to go and the doctors say he’s healthy and he can go out there and protect himself and if Jimmy feels confident in doing it and gives us the best chance to win, in that case, then Jimmy will be out there. If Jimmy’s not safe and he can’t protect himself, then we’ll go with Nick.”
I realize that injuries are part of the game and you’ve been through this, maybe not to this degree before, but before you really turned the page and start looking at the Giants, do you and your staff take some time to just vent and curse what’s happened here over the last week?
“Yeah, you do that pretty much every Sunday night. Usually you do it after losses. This was one that felt really good about the win, but we had some time to bitch a little bit about some of our unluckiness with the injuries, especially taking the plane ride together and being here last night in the hotel together, but it’s also a good challenge too. We’re a lot more equipped for this than we were a few years ago. When you lose some guys, and I keep saying it, but I mean it. We’ve got a lot of other good guys too. You can’t replace some of those guys we’ve lost of course, but collectively I know we’ve got a good team and it’s not just me who feels that. I know our players know that and I know a lot of guys are excited for opportunities.”