Any time a team loses its starting quarterback, everyone is going to be upset. Kyle Shanahan was particularly prickly with the media after the game on Sunday when they asked about some of his decisions to run the ball with Trey Lance.
Shanahan immediately defended his play-calling when asked if he second-guessed his decision after the game.
“Yeah any time a guy gets hurt, I wish I didn’t call that. That’s something we were gonna do and something we would continue to do. That’s a football play we believe in and something that gives him a chance to be real successful in this league.”
Naturally, the questions about the designed runs for Trey continued. At one point, Shanahan was asked how he balances the risk of running Lance against the reward the play might bring - especially after Trey got hurt in a run-heavy start against the Cardinals.
“Just cause...do you guys watch other teams in this league? I mean, Buffalo does it all the time with their quarterback. It’s a pretty normal play. It’s part of football, and it’s unfortunate that he hurt his ankle on it, but it’s a very normal ran play. You guys should watch some other people.”
Understandably, Shanahan would be emotional after seeing his starting quarterback suffer a season-ending injury. It’s possible he was defensive because he felt like the press was trying to blame him for Lance’s injury. That said, yesterday was not a day for condescension. None of the questions that he was asked were inappropriate or out of line, and his, “Well, Buffalo does it” justification was childish. The success of one team with a unicorn at quarterback isn’t exactly a strong defense of any football strategy.
It’s impossible to know whether Lance’s injury was a freak accident or something that was bound to happen, given the number of times Lance was called upon to run into the teeth of the defense. What it is possible to know is that there will be more scrutiny of Kyle Shanahan going forward than he’s ever faced in his tenure in San Francisco. If he didn’t like the questions after this game, his mood’s not gonna improve much.