This is the transcript of Kyle Shanahan’s Friday press conference, courtesy of the 49ers P.R. department.
We saw that LB Aaron Lynch wasn’t out there today. What’s going on there?
“Aaron had a baby in the middle of last night. Not him, his wife. It sounds good. I talked to him through text in the middle of the night, but everything seems like it checked out fine and I’ll talk to him here when we’re over.”
With him out, who got more reps and benefitted from that?
“You know, [LB] Pita [Taumoepenu] would’ve gotten a few more reps. We moved him over and played him at SAM today. We gave [LB] Ahmad [Brooks] the day off, so it was the same guys. It would’ve gotten Pita, but Pita got a new position tried today, so we just rotated the guys a little bit more and guys were gassed.”
Was WR Jeremy Kerley limited today with anything?
“Yeah, he had a little tightness in his hips. He tried to go, but he wasn’t moving around right so we pulled him.”
How tough is the decision going to be at wide receiver? It just seems like there’s a lot of good guys there.
“Yeah, right now it’s real tough. We’re hoping some of those guys will separate themselves and it’ll play out. They’re making it tough on us right now. Guys are going for it, guys know what they’re doing. We’ve got some good guys in camp.”
Is WR Louis Murphy working through something before he can get out there?
“No. With Louis not being here, we brought him in and worked him out, did a real good job in his workout, but we worked him pretty hard and we could just tell he hadn’t been around football for a little bit. So, we don’t want to throw him out in the fire and risk him getting hurt right away. He’s been working with [Strength & Conditioning Coach] Ray [Wright] during practice, and he’s been grinding him pretty hard to get his conditioning and really ready to play football. I expect to get him out there next week.”
What’s been your message, because a lot of the guys, particularly in running plays, guys are tackling to the ground, every time the running back would get up and just finish his run. Have you delivered a message about ‘Hey, don’t freak out when you kind of get pseudo-tackled? How have you handled that?
“Yeah. It’s something you’ve got to talk about every single day. We want to be physical, we want to hit, we don’t want to take guys to the ground. If you hit a guy square and you’ve got your feet under them and if it’s a good hit sometimes they will go to the ground. But, when I say don’t take guys to the ground, we don’t want to wrap up, we don’t want to roll guys. If a guy’s off balance we’re asking them not to hit him. You try to protect your teammate. Some guys do a better job at it than others. It’s something we’ve got to keep holding guys accountable to keep getting them to work. We want them to hit, but we’re also trying not to lose guys either. Whenever it happens you hope when guys do cross the line I like when backs act like it doesn’t faze them. They just get up, they finish the drill and if they want to get them back, get them in the play next time, in the right way.”
Since you guys came back from the day off it looks like RB Joe Williams is kind of playing with a greater sense of urgency. Did you guys have a talk with him or do you sense that as well?
“Yeah, I thought he had his best day yesterday and then it seemed like today was better than that. So, I thought he’s put two good practices in a row. It takes time with some of these guys, by no means has he arrived with two good practices. That’s why I try not to jump to too many conclusions after each practice. Especially with the younger guys, they’ve got to learn the speed of the game, how to practice. A lot of these guys haven’t hit like that in practice, some guys don’t know how to practice without pads which was more OTAs and earlier on. Joe’s, he got a couple good looks yesterday, which sometimes that’s what they need to spring a little bit of confidence. We’re always hoping it will click because we know he’s got some ability.”
WR Trent Taylor has made a lot of impressive catches early in camp. I think today it was a second or third snap on a run to RB Kapri Bibbs it looked like he got S Eric Reid on a block pretty good. Is his physicality something that you guys knew about before you drafted him? Has that stood out to you since the pads came on?
“Oh yeah. Trent’s not scared of anything. He’s not a huge guy, but he’s not going to turn anything down. He’s going to do his job. He’s going to get in front of a guy and he’s going to bring it as hard as he can. If you don’t do that in our offense, you can’t play it for us. Whether you like contact or not, you still have to do your job. If receivers don’t block in the run game, I don’t believe you can have a run game. I think it takes all 11 people to run the ball. If not, you’re just putting it on your back to make great plays. So, we hold everyone accountable pretty hard in the run game. They don’t have much of an option if they want to be here.”
Has it been that part of his game that’s allowed him to get reps with the first team?
“Yeah. Trent’s got a good skill set. He plays well on the inside, he’s good at separating and beating man, but that was one of the things that we liked about him watching him in college. The way he ran with the ball in his hands, he ran physically. He’s trying to go through people. He’s not scared of contact. It’s a very violent game and when you’re playing on the inside all the time and you’re thinking about that stuff it’s hard to perform well. You can tell Trent doesn’t worry about that part of the game.”
Probably not the best day this offensive line has seen throughout camp. What have you seen from that group and how do you think they’re absorbing some of the offensive scheme?
“I think the guys have done a good job. You know, all of them have lost weight for us, which we asked them to do right when we got here. I think they’re getting better at it each day. I think we’re going against a pretty good D-Line so they’re being challenged all the time. We’ve got some depth on the D-Line too. I think our twos and threes on the D-Line are a little different than our twos and threes on the O-Line. It’s a challenge for those guys, but it’s definitely going to make them all better.”
Is there a point where you want to settle for your starting five, by the third preseason game?
“Yeah, you’d like to. You always try to treat that third game as close to Week 1 as possible. So, you try to put those guys out there by there. But, there’s been plenty of times where we still haven’t decided going into a fourth game and we want to rest the starters going into the fourth game. We’ve had to play starters before because we need more time to decide. The sooner the better, but we’ve got some good competition out there so I can’t tell you how quick it’ll happen.”
You had OL Trent Brown getting some reps at left tackle, especially when T Joe Staley isn’t there. But, is that a scenario during the season where if Staley were to leave a game that Trent could slide over and then OL Garry Gilliam would play–?
“Yeah, that’s the stuff we’re trying to find out. You only get to dress so many guys for game day. I haven’t been in one yet, but I’ve been very close a number of times where you’ll have to talk about a tight end playing tackle. I know a lot of teams that have had to do that. When you’re only allowed a certain amount of guys up on game day you have to be ready for anything. Whenever we give Staley a day off, those are things we’re trying to figure out. I thought Trent did a good job on the left side, and next time that happens I’m sure we’ll try some other people too.”
How has QB C.J. Beathard handled the stuff you’ve put on his plate? Does he seem kind of wide-eyed or overwhelmed or does is he handling it pretty well?
“No, he handles it very well. C.J. really has got an A-type personality. He really works at it. He really grinds. He has a question for everything. He wants to know what you want him to do, but he also wants to know why. You can sit there and talk ball with him forever. That’s, to me, what allows him to have a chance to be good right away because he prepares the right way. So, when he goes out there, if you prepare the right way and you work at it, then you’re usually not as wide-eyed because you’re not overwhelmed with it. Both of those guys, for rookies especially, C.J. and [QB] Nick, [Mullens] they’ve really owned the playbook and they’ve put the hours in which I believe gives them a chance when they get out there in front of the team and everyone, it gives them a chance to play well.”
S Vinnie Sunseri and S Lorenzo Jerome have been rotating back there at free safety. What have you seen from those two?
“I think our safeties have been playing real well because we have a lot of injuries right there. We’ve had guys out, so it’s been giving guys a lot more time. You know, Vinnie’s been around and going against them. I think Vinnie’s doing a real good job in our scheme too. Playing within it, understanding where to go and where to be. And then guys like Lorenzo, and getting [S] Chanceller [James] in there and guys like that with these injuries. You know, those guys have stepped up. Obviously you want all your guys out there, but I haven’t felt too many holes out there from an offensive standpoint. I think all of our safeties have been doing a fairly good job. Especially with the guys missing.”
Are you hesitant at all with CB Rashard Robinson’s workload going against some of the top receivers in the league, in just his second year in the league?
“Am I worried about it?”
For 16 games, do you think that he can rise to the occasion?
“I hope so. That’s what he’s trying to prove. There’s not many corners in this league no matter what year, that they have 16 great games. So, he’s got the ability to. That’s for sure. I mean, I don’t care how good of a corner you are, you’re going to get beat in this league, whatever position you are. To me it’s more how does he respond to that. Because, he’s got a lot of ability. I love being around the guy. Now it’s just about being consistent and trying to do it every single day, trying to stay healthy. When you do get beat, which will happen, how do you rebound from that.”
Is the format of tomorrows practice, obviously it’s going to be a different venue, but is the format going to be different?
“It’ll be very similar to today. We might do a little bit more move the ball. So, if we do a little bit more moving the ball, maybe a couple two minute drills and stuff, we’ll probably cut down a little bit more of the individual time. But, the format will be very similar.”
Does it help to have a GM who played the game? I see you guys talking on the field, as far as what you’re trying to accomplish and what the GM would like to accomplish?
“I mean, I think so. I don’t think that would be necessarily just because you played the game that means you’re going to be good at it. I think that’s definitely one of the stuff that [general manager] John [Lynch] leans on, his experience. I think he was the type of player who understood what made him successful, understood what made other people successful. He hasn’t spent a ton of time in X’s and O’s, but when he did play he had a very good understanding of what they did and the soundness of their defense. It’s very fun to be able to talk with a guy like that. It’s a lot easier to get on the same page. I think he can understand a little bit, and relate a little bit more to what the players are going through too.”