clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Kyle Shanahan on Colton McKivitz: ‘We could have helped him out better’

The 49ers weren’t perfect on Sunday. Penalties and kickoffs are two easy fixes

NFL: SEP 10 49ers at Steelers Photo by Mark Alberti/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Coming into Sunday’s matchup, 49ers right tackle Colton McKivtz undoubtedly had the most challenging matchup on the field. Head coach Kyle Shanahan gave his evaluation of Colton’s play:

“He had the toughest matchup on the field. There was definitely a number that [Pittsburgh Steelers LB T.J.] Watt got him. There’s a couple situations we could have helped him out better with some chips and stuff. He battled throughout it, but did good enough for us to win. It was a huge challenge going against that player.”

Pittsburgh deserves credit. They put the 49ers in situations where McKivitz was forced to block Watt on an island. We knew how that’d end up, and the outcome was as expected. But Shanahan believes this is an experience McKivitz can grow from, and he expects his right tackle to be better next week and moving forward.

Kick coverage

Part of the reason you draft a kicker is to ensure your defense has great field position. That was not the case against the Steelers, who averaged over 30 yards per return, which was second best in the NFL.

Jake Moody is still recovering from a quad injury, so the kickoffs were handled by Mitch Wishnowsky. Shanahan said the plan, eventually, is for Moody to take that job over:

“Yeah, I mean he should get to that soon, just him coming off the injury and stuff. We took that off his plate, even going into the week. So, he knew going into that week he was only going to do field goals. We’ll see how it goes this week for that. But yeah, we plan on him being our kickoff guy.”

Kickoffs are an area that have plagued the 49ers for a few years. Moody’s leg is plenty strong enough to kick it out of the end zone.


The 49ers weren’t affected by this on the scoreboard, but there were far too many penalties by the team. They were fortunate to have one called nullified, but 11 penalties (only one team had more) are not going to cut it.

Spencer Burford had three, Deommodore Lenoir had two, and six other players had one, including a delay of game. Shanahan said he wants his defense to play hard and with a specific intent, but knows penalties like the Lenoir one are easily avoidable:

“Oh yeah, first of all, you want players who are close to that line. This game’s way too fast and physical to sit there and hesitate and think about that stuff. So, Demo’s proven that. He’s become a really physical, tough football player over the last year and a half. And that’s one he is going there and I do think he can stop it though. Sometimes it’s tough when they’re already in the air and the guy’s going out of bounds, but he wasn’t quite yet and anytime you hit him in the white we know that it’s going to get called and he can correct that.”

We’ll see if we can chalk it up to the Week 1 sloppiness. Let’s hope so.