Kyle Shanahan on the 49ers’ fourth-down failures: ‘The first one is the one I regretted.’

SANTA CLARA

Here’s the transcript of Kyle Shanahan’s Week 2 Monday press conference, courtesy of the 49ers P.R. department.

 

Any update on LB Reuben Foster’s condition?

“Yeah, high ankle sprain. Not exactly sure the timetable. We’ll see how long it takes him, but your typical high ankle sprain.”

 

Is it a one or two weeks or four to six?

“[VP of medical services/head athletic trainer Jeff Ferguson] Ferg didn’t give me an exact date because we don’t know exactly with Reuben. We are going to put him in a boot here for a little bit. Those tend to be a month, a little more, but I can’t put exactly a date on it. That’s my experience with high ankle sprains.”

 

A high ankle sprain, there tends to be different grades. Did Ferg give you a grade?

“He didn’t give me a grade.”

 

How was he playing before?

“He was playing well. He was around the ball a ton, got close to a pick, was near another one. Made a good play in the screen right the play before he got hurt. Ripped the ball out there. Got loose at the end. [Carolina Panthers RB Christian] McCaffrey’s knee was down, but he was playing well.”

 

How did LB Ray-Ray Armstrong do when he came in?

“I thought Ray-Ray did a solid job. He stepped up, came in, played real hard, didn’t lack any effort, was around the ball and made some plays.”

 

Coaches always say that it’s never, when you watch the film, it’s never as good as you think it is and it’s never as bad as you think it is. Watching it, it didn’t look too good. How was it when you watched on film?

“It was close to that. But you know, when you go back and you watch the tape, you know, the thing that’s tough for a coach when you look on tape and you just feel like you have no chance or something like that, then there’s not much to say. There’s a lot of clips there you could see that we had a lot of opportunities that we missed on, and especially early. When you have those opportunities and you take them and you just come up a little bit short, when you’re going against a good team like that, especially the defense that they have, the way they can control the ball, it’s tough to overcome. But, I think our guys watching the tape today, by no means do they just look at it and feel that they didn’t have a chance. I think we’re all disappointed because there was a number of times that we could have had a chance to be in that game and we just came up short.”

 

Do you watch the tape with QB Brian Hoyer first, just a one-on-one with him or you kind of go over the team stuff?

“No. There’s just not enough time in the day. I watched it at home by myself and then I watch it in the morning again when I come in. I watch it with the defensive staff first and then I do it with the offensive staff after that, and then I watch the special teams with [special teams coordinator Richard] Hightower and then I go in with the team and show about 30 clips of the whole offense and defense together. Then we break up and I watch it with the offense and then I go with the quarterbacks. Then I run in here to talk to you guys.”

 

You’ve been watching film all day?

“Yeah, that’s what I do. I just watch TV all day.”

 

So when you show 30 clips of the film, how many of them are this is what we need to do and these clips are ones that we got it right? Is it all kind of –?

“You show both. You just try to educate the guys, especially the other sides of the ball. Everyone usually after a day, you’ve got a lot of stuff to go over and review and by no means can a coordinator or a head coach cover that all in detail for each person in that room. So, you know you break up the majority of the time, guys go in and get all their assignments and go through every single play in the game. But, then they never really know what happened outside of that. So, I try to pull the team together and really just show them the pivotal points in the game, when you lose momentum, what you’ve got to do to step it up after a turnover, how you finish there at the end of the first half, what we did coming out in the third quarter to start that, and you really just show both sides of the ball so people have perspective on what happens. People think players know what happens in a game and they do what affects them and stuff. But, people are worried about their assignments and their jobs and they’re just going as hard as they can and at the end of the game they just see the score. They know all the plays they missed. They know if you didn’t score a lot of points or if you did. They know those little things, but they don’t really know the whys. I think as much as you can as a head coach, when you can show everyone the whys, it helps people understand how close you can be and why you have to tighten things up.”

 

ME: You had a chance to go into halftime down 7-0, but the Panthers kicked a couple of field goals after the offense didn’t convert on fourth down. Do you regret deciding to go for it on fourth down those two times?

“Looking back at all of them, the first one is the one I regretted, when it was fourth and four. I think there was about three and a half minutes left. We were down seven. [S Jaquiski] Tartt just made an unbelievable play on a pick. I thought we were moving the ball pretty well and came up short there on third down, and I just, I believed we were going to get it. I had a lot confidence that we would and it just didn’t work out. But, definitely looking back on that, I wish I did punt because I think it would have made it a lot harder for them to go 90 yards. That would have been tough on them. They did get a field goal off that, so regret that decision. The next time we went down, it was fourth and one. I think there was 40 seconds left. That one I didn’t regret. I felt real good about that and I would do that one again.”

 

ME: Do you regret the play call?

“No. A dive, a dive to a fullback versus nickel defense when they are playing Tampa 2 is usually pretty good. We just came up short.”

 

Without asking who you are going to be starting, are you looking at some changes on the interior line, specifically at your guards?

“Yeah, we’ll look at that ever week. We did last week, too. We’ve got a group of guys on our roster and they will battle it every week. They had three days to do it last week. They’ll get three days again to battle and we’ll put out on Sunday whatever we think that best lineup is.”

 

Two of those sacks, G Zane Beadles was beaten. Was that reflective of the day he had overall or how would you assess his performance?

“I think it was up and down. He did some good things in the game. The hard thing about an O-Lineman is when you do miss it, and it ends up being a sack, everyone gets to see that and they don’t get to see the rest of what you do. He had a tough challenge. He had some good players he was going against and at times he blocked them well. Came up short on a couple of them. On one, the sack-fumble was a big one.”

 

Was OL Laken Tomlinson ready to go last week or was it just he wasn’t quite ready to go and now he is?

“Yeah, I think the second week in the system, he should be more ready. He’s a smart guy. We’ve worked with him hard in the meeting rooms and stuff. But, any time you ask a guy to do something that he’s never done in college or in the NFL, it’s a little tough with few reps. He’ll have more reps this week now being two weeks in a row of him getting those reps. Usually the more reps a guy gets, the better chance he has.”

 

So, you’re strictly working him at left guard?

“No, we’ve got to work him at all of them. We’ll work him at both the guard spots.”

 

What do you mean specifically, asking him to do something he hasn’t done?

“Just the type of way we block. The type of way we play. You look at O-Linemen and schemes, all schemes are different. When you’ve been in more gap-oriented schemes where you’ve never really had to run that far, I can’t really say the techniques, but he’s never used the techniques that we’ve ever asked him to. He’s definitely got the ability to and that’s why we’re excited to have him here and we’re just trying to work with him and get him comfortable to do it and put him in an NFL game for the first time in a while.”

 

One video that got some attention was you on the sideline with the official. As a head coach, was that the first time you’ve had a moment like that? Did you look back on it at all? Did you surprise yourself how mad you got?

“No, I didn’t surprise myself. I’ve made that mistake before. And if he was here, I would apologize to him now. He’s trying to do his best just like I am. I was just frustrated. I wanted a timeout and I yelled it as loud as I could three times and he just didn’t hear me. I was mad at him for it. It’s not his fault. He’s focused on the game, too. Hope he has no hard feelings towards it.”

 

As an OC, had you ever had anything like that?

“Yes. I’ve been fined before. You can Google it. I’ve learned the hard way, so I try not to. But, I’ve got a lot of respect for those guys. They take their job as seriously as I take mine and we treat it all almost life-and-death. Sometimes I’m not going to always have the best reactions when I’m upset about something, but it’s definitely not personal.”

 

Was LB Aaron Lynch inactive because of coach’s decision or was it the injury?

“No, it was coach’s decision. We had to think of what D-Linemen we wanted up, and you know, we felt we needed some backups inside. We had the backups on the outside, especially with our SAM position, that both of them could go in and play outside D-End and get us pass rush in our nickel and our base defense. And we needed to make sure [DL DeForest Buckner] Buck has a backup for the type of run game that we thought we were going to face.”

 

So, he was healthy enough to play?

“Yes.”

 

Speaking of pass rush, Buckner said after the game that he felt like guys need to be more mindful of their rush lanes, especially when you’re playing games and stunts and things like that. Did you notice that at all when you watched the film?

“Yeah, there was a couple times that [Carolina Panthers QB] Cam [Newton] got outside on us, for the most part. That’s a challenge, always. It’s going to be a challenge next week going against [Seattle Seahawks QB] Russell [Wilson]. So, you’ve got to stay in your lane so they don’t escape it and move the chains with their legs. But, we’ve also got to find a way to put more pressure on the quarterback, too.”

 

If Tomlinson is, from a mental preparation point, ready, playing in Seattle, it’s not a picnic for an offensive lineman. Will that be part of your considerations as far as if he really is ready?

“Yes. I mean, that just makes it tougher. But I mean, it’s pretty simple what it comes down to, who we think at the time gives us the best chance to win. If that’s the case, that’s what we’ll go with.”

 

ME: Penalties and self-inflicted wounds were an issue earlier in preseason, but the team really cleaned them up for the dress rehearsal. Why do you think they were an issue in the season opener?

“I think that you’ve got to look at each one individually. We had three false starts. One of them was on a dummy cadence. The other two, I just think that they thought the D-Line was getting off and we got a little antsy and jumped. The two motion penalties, one was the second play of the game. I’m still not sure why they called that. I’ve got to talk to someone and figure it out. I couldn’t figure that one out just looking at it. I thought he was off the ball and then moved on. The other one was [WR Kendrick] Bourne was set and then he moved his feet to switch his feet right when the tight end moved. So, can’t have two people moving. That’s illegal formation. I think that was all, oh and then the delay of game. We challenge guys a lot. We motion, as I said last night, as much as anybody. I thought we had done a fairly good job with it, but not good enough and we’ve got to make sure those things don’t happen.”

 

With Brian’s play, did he hold on to the ball for too long on several occasions?

“You know, I thought, I think from your guys’ standpoint, one in particular, the fourth and four might have looked like that when he got a sack. But, you know we were trying to go to [TE George] Kittle breaking inside and [Carolina Panthers CB] Captain [Munnerlyn], their nickel back, guarded the shallow, passed it to, I believe it was [Carolina Panthers LB Luke] Kuechly, and then he fell off under it. So, if Brian would have let that go, it would have been a pick. It was really a great play by Captain, and then he had to just sit there and take the sack. For the most part I didn’t think he held on to the ball too long. There’s always one or two that I think he could have gotten rid of quicker. But the ones, especially the sack-fumble, he was letting that go down the field on time. I think we’ve got to protect a little bit better.”

 

All in all, how do you think Brian played?

“Brian played solid. I know he’d like to play better. I’d like him to play better also. I think that has a lot to do with everyone else around him. I think we got off to an early start. I know [WR] Marquise [Goodwin] wants to come down with that ball which could have changed some things. We hold up in protection on that sack-fumble for half a second longer, we’ve got two explosives there, probably getting 14 points and that kind of changes your perspective a little bit on Brian. By no means did he play perfect. He had some bad plays, too. Especially that pick in the third quarter probably being the worst one. But, not just Brian. In order for Brian to do better, we’ve all got to do better.”

 

When he turns his back to the defense, you’re putting a lot on him, I would think, to make that play because he has his back to the defense, what’s he supposed to do on that?

“I mean, that’s just play-action. Your back’s to the defense on play-action so you’re hoping guys can step up. It’s one of the first play-actions in the game we had at Kuechly, who is one of the best in the league at being able to diagnose run or pass. And when you come around, you’ve got to see the throw. Unfortunately he didn’t see him and when that happens, Kuechly will do that 100-percent of the time when he is there. When you turn to plant and throw and a guy is under it, you’ve got to take one hitch and check it down to the guy in the flat on the other side.”

 

On one of the sacks, I think you had RB Carlos Hyde matched up against Carolina Panthers LB Thomas Davis. Was that the matchup you don’t want there?

“No that’s, running backs have to block linebackers. You don’t put O-Linemen on linebackers. That’s what they’ve got to do. Thomas made a good rush. We had a seven-step drop. WR Pierre Garçon was all alone and he just made a good move and Carlos didn’t get him clean. It was a great move by Thomas Davis and it definitely affected the throw.”

 

I asked you yesterday about a clock guy and you said that there’s a lot of things involved. But, do you have a specific challenge guy in the booth? Do you have someone that you really count on that–?

“Yeah, he does the same stuff, [special assistant to the general manager Ryan] Cordell, works upstairs with [general manager] John [Lynch]. He’s been doing that stuff and he’s done it here in the past. He has a lot of experience in our analytics and all that and they have put a lot of time into the time of possession and all the clock-management stuff. He’s also very well read and experienced on the rules and everything, so that’s someone who is always on the headsets giving me his opinion on stuff.”

 

How did LB NaVorro Bowman play yesterday?

“I thought NaVorro did solid. By no means perfect, but I thought he did solid.”

 

Any other injuries?

“No big ones. A bunch of guys are sore, some wear and tear, typical Monday. But, Reuben was the only big one.”

This article has 16 Comments

  1. http://ninerswire.usatoday.com/2017/09/11/report-49ers-considering-ways-to-add-shade-for-fans-at-levis-stadium/

    “Things have gotten so bad that the team, in a statement Monday, acknowledged that it has engaged a stadium architecture firm to “review a number of aspects of the stadium with the goal of enhancing the fan experience … to investigate feasible solutions to address concerns regarding warm weather days, both for the short and long terms.”

  2. My tickets at the stick were in Sec. 27 lower east (the foldouts as we called it) for nearly 40 years. Always in the hot sun during September and October, and sometimes November, but late September to early October were usually the warmest.. I enjoyed it myself, and so did my friends or family that attended. We had some scorchers over the years. A little sunblock and a hat, t-shirt weather. Sunglasses. Much more enjoyable than the rainy, foggy, dreary days later in the year, to which there were many. I understand that it is warmer down the peninsula but really? I say dress appropriately, where protection, and drink more fluids, especially beer! Come on you young fans, suck it up!! ;>))

  3. http://www.sacbee.com/sports/nfl/san-francisco-49ers/article172831346.html

    DL Solomon Thomas, 1st. The No. 3 overall pick in the draft took his first snap as defensive tackle on a third-and-2 play for Carolina, a handoff to Jonathan Stewart. Thomas made the tackle, but Stewart gained seven yards and a first down. That scenario is not a good one for Thomas: At 275 pounds or so, he’s not stout enough to hold his ground against an NFL guard, and Thomas was blown off the line of scrimmage on the play. (Though he did have the athleticism to make the tackle). Thomas played 43 snaps at defensive tackle and defensive end and finished with two tackles, one behind the line of scrimmage. Like most of his defensive line mates, he had trouble putting pressure on Panthers running back Cam Newton, who wasn’t sacked.

      1. Obligatory it’s too soon sentence. But man, this was so predictable. He was the Invisibe Man except for the UNC and ND games. He had some horrible tape. He didn’t always finish. Not to mention the tweener stuff.

  4. Was off the grid Sunday and Monday. A long, character-building grind ahead–for the 9ers and their fans. Love character building!

  5. There was coach Shanahan, just watching…..from the field. Thought they could, make it, but as we saw on the screen, they failed, and he was, not having the time of his life.

          1. Good point. I guess I was just thinking about giving MNF back to the working man, instead of having to pay for it. Do you have time to do a ‘5 Burning Questions’ for this upcoming game?

  6. I am glad they went bold. Going for it is smart if you make it, and dumb if you don’t.
    .
    The trick is to make it. How to accomplish that goal?
    .
    The Niners should be competent enough to have a play that will gain 1 yard most every time. They should have it automatically called ahead of time, so the team only needs to line up and snap the ball.
    .
    One possible play would be to line up 5 wide, spread them out, then run up the gut. Another would be bunch them up, then put the WR in motion so he can be at full speed at the snap of the ball and have him take an end around.
    .
    If confronted with 4th and 4 from the 50 yard line, The QB should roll out, buy time, then heave a jump ball that should land on the 5 yard line. If it is caught, sweet. If it draws a holding or PI, bonus. If it is intercepted, they are pinned near their goal line. It could also fall incomplete.
    .
    The QB should vary his snaps, so he might draw them offsides. That would automatically get them a first down, and it would be a free play so he should morph the play into long strike down field. Quick snaps might be effective.

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