SANTA CLARA — This is the transcript of Kyle Shanahan’s Week 8 Monday press conference, courtesy of the 49ers P.R. department.
Any of the injuries from yesterday, anything that could impact this week?
“Yeah, [CB] K’Waun [Williams] will probably impact this week. We’re not ruling him out for sure, but it’s not very likely right now. [LB Reuben Foster] Reube’s all right. He should be good to go. We’ll re-check it tomorrow. But, he was real sore today. MRI and the X-Rays were okay, or negative.”
OL Brandon Fusco?
“Fusco will be questionable this week. We probably won’t know that all week. I know he’s got a chance. But, that’s going to be, we’ll have to see how he recovers from rehab throughout the week, but he does have a chance. And then [OL] Trent’s [Brown] in the concussion protocol. We’ll see how that goes throughout the week. And was that it? Yeah, that was it.”
With the guard spot, is that just G Zane Beadles or does OL Erik Magnuson have a chance to step in there?
“We’ll have those guys compete this week. And also they’ll be competing with when Fusco, hopefully he gets out there. We’ll see how healthy he is to go, but they’ll all be battling for it. We’ve got Beadles, we’ve got Magnuson guys on the practice squad, too. We’ll see how that plays out though.”
You said yesterday you were looking forward to the film session with QB C.J. Beathard. How did that go and what stood out from it?
“It was good. You always like, it’s always more fun to watch tape that you were successful in. But, it’s also fun to watch tape with a guy who I know is soaking everything in. Just talking with him through text last night, I could tell he was watching it a ton last night, having a bunch of questions even before we got in today. It’s always fun when you can get with a guy and you feel you have a chance to help him get better. I enjoy meeting with him because he asks good questions and I think he learns from every rep that he gets.”
How did Reuben do yesterday, just from the mental side, in particular? Did you have him do a lot of the communication stuff or did you have to kind of help him?
“No, he ran everything. He was the MIKE linebacker out there. So, he made all the calls. For his first NFL game, not counting I think the 10 plays he had versus Carolina, I thought he did a pretty good job. He got our guys lined up fast every time. I think he’ll get better as we go. I think he’ll learn from a lot of stuff he did miss, but I think for his first game out there I thought he did a good job.”
I know you were asked about this after the game, but did you find out anything further about the optics of some guys on defense yelling at each other on the field and having it carry over to the bench area, anything to be concerned about?
“I didn’t see it, like I said, but I talked to our coaches first about it who told me some of the stuff you were talking about, talked to some of the players also. A lot of what it sounded to me like was kind of typical stuff, when you are getting embarrassed like we were. Guys do get frustrated. And I do think we’ve got a lot of guys, just speaking with them, we’ve got a lot of passion. Guys want to win as much as you possibly can. And when that stuff does happen, I’ve been on a lot of sidelines before that you see that type of stuff. But, that by no means is that stuff that I want. I’m looking for guys to make differences on the field. And what I did was happy with what I did hear from the guys that there were times that they were doing that stuff, but guys recovered from it. Guys were able to call each other up, a few players addressed it, got guys to cool down a little bit, and they went back and finished their jobs. I was glad they recovered from it. Talking to them today, there were no big issues, but that’s definitely stuff that I’m looking for. I always say I see better than I hear. And I want, you find out about a lot of people through adversity. It doesn’t mean everyone’s going to be perfect, but it’s very important to me the type of people that we have in our locker room, the type of leaders we have in the locker room, how they respond to situations like this.”
Would you like couple of jerks on the team though to point out to guys that aren’t doing their job, that they need to do their job?
“I don’t know if they have to be jerks. They just have to be, to me you’ve got to be close and you’ve got to be real. I think that’s why I try to tell the guys the difference between a neighborhood and a brotherhood. You don’t always just call out your neighbor. You can be cordial with them and hang out, but when it’s your brother and they do something wrong, you’re going to talk to them about it. And it might not always be easy, but the next day you’re okay from it and you’re usually both better from it. That’s what we’re trying to build here between coaches, players, really everyone in this building, that there’s no uncomfortable conversation that you can’t have with someone you’re close to. And you need that between people to get the most out of each other and that helps everyone keep each other accountable.”
Before yesterday, there’s been a lot of talk from the media and otherwise, like you’re close, you lost all these close games. Not that you want yesterday to happen, but is that, in some ways, can it be a valuable wake-up call, like maybe we’re not close, there’s still plenty of work to be done here and we can’t be satisfied particularly without a win?
“Yeah, I think when you don’t have a win, I don’t think you have to worry about us needing a wake-up call. I don’t think we’re sitting there and we feel good because everyone’s telling us how close we are. I think personally, I appreciate it and all, but the kind of, I think it upsets us a little to a degree. We know close isn’t enough. It’s either you win or you lose. We appreciate the support and everything, but by no means does anyone feel good about themselves when you lose. It’s tough. It wears on you, and you’ve got to recover and come back the next week and reset and find a way to get a win and we haven’t been able to do that. Definitely played our worst game yesterday and the results showed it. But, we weren’t feeling great before that. We need to get a win and that’s not going to be easy. We’ve got to now put in the work and find a way to do it.”
ME: Why do you think the team took a step back yesterday?
“Because of what the score was, what it looked like on the field. I think we came out, I thought we played hard. I told you guys I would look into that. I think you could see it at the beginning of the game, guys were playing hard. Started out pretty good on defense with that three-and-out, had that turnover on the first punt to [WR] Trent [Taylor] and they went down and scored right away, 7-0. They ended up getting one on their next time down, I think they had a penalty to convert on the third and long, made it 14-0 and kind of got ourselves in the same hole that we had been in. Didn’t get off to a good start, but it wasn’t because of lack of effort. I thought we had a chance to close the gap at the end of the half like we had the last couple of weeks. And second and goal I believe on the five, we ended up getting a sack fumble, which put us down 20-3. But, just being in that locker room by no means did I, I felt our team had been there the previous few weeks and we thought we could come out and answer right away. We got the ball, marched down the field, were short on a third-and-four, didn’t get anything, went for it on fourth-and-four and didn’t get it. And then the next play they had a screen that went 60 yards for a touchdown. And after that, I think it was 27-3, and that’s kind of when I felt we didn’t have much left in the tank. And I thought we missed our opportunity there. I thought guys came out, competed hard, really did everything they could to win that game, and didn’t play very well. We turned the ball over, missed our opportunities to score when we did have them, got stopped on downs to open the third quarter, gave up a huge screen, which was unacceptable. And you do that versus a team like that and I think the results weren’t surprising because of it.”
CB Rashard Robinson had a couple of big penalties. How is he developing? On those particular calls, did he do as he was coached to do on the PI and the illegal contact?
“No, I mean, you never want to get a guy to get a PI. And the best way to not get a PI is to not touch a guy. I promise there’s touching on every play and it’s up to the ref whether they want to call a PI or not. You’ve got to adjust to them. Sometimes they’re going to be harder than others. But, if you are putting your hands on guys it gives them an opportunity to make a call and then you leave it up to them. So, you can’t get those calls. And they’re huge ones, especially when they happen on third down. I thought one was worse than the others, but if you put your hands on people they always have the opportunity to call it. Just because they don’t always doesn’t mean that you can do it. You’ve got to adjust to them and you’ve got to work your feet and get in better position.”
S Eric Reid said yesterday, he didn’t seem thrilled with the idea that he’s going to be playing a lot of linebacker now. But, obviously with what happened with LB NaVorro Bowman and expressing that he wasn’t happy with his role, do you have to have a conversation with Eric? Are you concerned about that, and where is that whole situation stand going forward?
“I’m not concerned about that. If Eric wasn’t happy with his role, I hope he’d come and talk to me about it. And we’d have a real good talk about that. But, we’re asking, we’re trying to get our best 11 guys on the field. And it’s not just, it’s not an absolute answer every week. It depends who we’re playing, depends what personnel we want to go with, depends on some of the schemes we’re going against. Eric’s done a lot of good things in this league, has played at a high level, has done a real good job at safety. When you’re playing eight-man front, the difference between safety and linebacker, it’s just where you line up. But, you move to from there a safety spot, too, just a little different depth. But, gap responsibility and everything are very similar on an eight-man front. I think [S Jaquiski] Tartt’s played at a very high level for us while Eric has been out, too. We’re just trying to figure out the best way to get our best 11 out there. Last week we thought we had an opportunity to get Eric at linebacker, which is really what he plays a lot when he’s a down safety, which is every play except on third and long. And Eric, we put him in a position that we thought could help our team. I thought he played hard. I think he’ll get better at it the more he does it. But, that isn’t just set in stone that that’s how we’re going to go week in, week out.”
Are you concerned though that maybe he’s a little bit lighter than the standard linebacker against a big line like Dallas’s?
“There always is, but that’s why you don’t play in, that’s why we just had it in nickel personnel. It depends on the situations we’re trying to go against. That’s stuff we have to decide, what’s the cost and what’s the cost/reward for it, what’s the negatives, what’s the positives. But, you look across this league, whether you’re playing Arizona, whether it’s the Rams, Jacksonville with [Jacksonville Jaguars LB] Telvin [Smith], there’s a number of linebackers in this league that weigh 210 pounds. That’s what safeties do too when they’re in eight-man front. That’s what [Seattle Seahawks S] Kam Chancellor has every single play of the game.”
Is DB Adrian Colbert getting better? He had his biggest day in terms of playing time. And then with K’Waun up in the air for this week, he might continue to have a big role. Is he showing you what you want?
“Yeah, he took advantage of his opportunity. Colbert has done a good job on special teams for us so far. He’s been playing with very high effort. He’s a guy who can run. He’s not scared to hit you. He’s made an impact on special teams. When K’Waun went down to nickel, we had to move [DB] Jimmie [Ward] into that spot. So, it was the next man up at safety. The reps that he got he went and did a good job. Took advantage of his reps. If he’s called on again, I expect him to do the same and get better from it.”
If K’Waun can’t go, would you feel more comfortable playing Ward at nickel and then playing Colbert, or would you feel the need to bring back someone like CB Leon Hall?
“It’s fluid right now. We’re going to decide that probably over the next 24 hours. I think there’s a good chance we probably will have to bring Leon back, it depends how we want to look into all that. I know Jimmie, you’ve got a lot of versatility. But, I also don’t want to keep messing with Jimmie and change him between positions every series. I’d like him to stay at a spot and really have a chance to own that and get very good at it.”
In Week 1 I think your rookies offensive and defensive snaps played like 170, yesterday it was over 400. I know a lot goes into that. But, I think in some situations, you’re looking to develop guys and see what you have in some of these young guys. It makes sense, but you also don’t want this thing to get totally out of hand. How do you balance trying to win some games and build towards the future?
“My first decision is what gives us the best chance to win every Sunday and that will always be the most important thing to me at the time. More rookies are playing. I think we’re also getting, we’ve had more injuries. I think more rookies have had time to practice more so they have gotten better. But I’m not, there’s not really a situation on our team where we’re just saying, ‘Hey, play the young guy because he’s younger while we have a better player sitting right there on the bench.’ So, we take all that into account. Yeah we do have a lot of rookies out there, but it’s not just because we’re deciding based off age who should play.”
ME: You said teams have to have players who aren’t afraid to get in their brother’s faces and call them out. Which players on your team have you seen do that?
“It’s not about getting in people’s faces and calling them out. It’s about people who are real and people who are not real. Some people get in people’s faces and call people out. It’s just so all can see it and people say they’re a leader. Sometimes they’re the furthest ones from it. People who are leaders are people who help people and make people better and make the team better. There’s lots of ways to do that. I think the number one way to do that is you have to be yourself. If you’re a guy who is always aggressive and vulgar and that’s something you do, people can deal with that, if that’s who you are. But, when you’re a guy who just randomly does it out of nowhere, maybe on the sidelines so people can write how good of a leader he’s being, that’s usually the farthest one from it. So mine’s about having the right type of people who act like men, who act like pros and keep each other accountable and don’t BS each other.”
ME: Who are the real vocal leaders on your team?
“We’ve got a number of them. But, I’m not going to sit there and share all of them with you.”
Did you have a team meeting this morning where you went over the 30 plays or whatever that you usually do?
“Today I didn’t show any clips. We broke up into our rooms to do that. I went and talked to the team for about 20 minutes, had a few people talk, went over a couple things. We didn’t get to the tape as a group. We broke up into our individual meetings to do that.”
What’s the gist of what was said?
“A lot of stuff I talk to you guys about. Just trying to find out who each other are, knowing that none of the stuff is easy. I think everything happens for a reason, and I’m going to make sure that us going through this that we’re going to be better from it. And obviously no one wants to be 0-7, but I think we have very high expectations of where we want our team and this organization to go. And I see this as part of that process. Yeah I wish it could be a different process, I wish it could be fun and games and easy for everybody, but I see this is as a necessity to get to where we want to be. We’re just not trying to win enough games to make it look acceptable. We’re trying to build an organization, build it from the bottom to the top the right way so we can have sustainable success and in order to do that you have to know exactly the type of people you’re dealing with. It’s not just players, it’s coaches, it’s everyone in this building. And sometimes, I think, it takes going through a lot of adversity to really find out who everyone is and who you are dealing with and to make sure that we have high expectations and we want to be this special place, sometimes you’ve got to go through this stuff to find out who the special people are.”
On the draw play to RB Carlos Hyde that worked really well. I was just hoping to get some details on the play. I noticed that C.J. faked right before that. Is that a fake slant over to the left?
“We ran two draws. They both were kind of, they were both two of our better runs. But, one we faked to the left and handed it to him. The other one we faked to the right and then handed it off to him to the left. So, I’m not sure which one you’re talking about.”
The one where he faked to the left and then he ran to the right.
“Yeah, that’s just trying to move linebackers, get angles for our offensive linemen. When they do go with it, it helps their blocks a lot better. And I thought that Carlos made a very good run on that. We didn’t block the safety who was down. It was a hard eight-man front, we didn’t get to him, Carlos made him miss. But, we set up everyone else at the pump. We had the other one in the game, where [Dallas Cowboys CB Orlando] Scandrick was coming off the edge, he’s a guy who was unaccounted for. C.J. gave a slight pump, which made him go up the field a little bit, which allowed us to hand it off for 15-yard gain. It’s a fine line, looks like a good play, it’s a play I called earlier in the year, where a guy blitzed off the edge and we pumped him and he didn’t bite on the pump and we had a loss of four yards with the exact same look. So, it’s about this far from being a good play or horrible play. That was one of our good ones yesterday.”
Dallas was blitzing, I noticed, looking at some of the advanced numbers, way more than they had been all year. So, you were talking about the fine margin there. Is that more likely to work in a game like this where it seemed like they were selling out a little bit more on a blitz?
“Yeah, when you run draws, draws are for just like when screens are, when everyone is in zone coverage, really soft and they’re expecting a pass, and you let them drop real deep, and then hand off a draw and get a bunch of cheap yardage, just like a screen. Sometimes when guys blitz, people check out of draws, because those blitzers aren’t accounted for. And it’s a really bad play, if those blitzers make the play. Sometimes we do, sometimes we don’t. Here we decided to pump one. And we pumped the guy who was blitzing, which made him go up the field about half a step. And if you can get that done, then it’s a really good play. It’s rich reward when you do it. It’s a high risk for the defense and it’s a high risk for the offense and it could go either way.”
I know you said you didn’t have anything planned in terms of former 49ers WR Dwight Clark and some of the players that were here. But, did you have any interactions with anybody over the weekend?
“You know, before the game, I get out there pretty late before the game. So, I didn’t get a chance to see many people. I saw [former 49ers CB] Eric Wright walking in who I knew well when I was younger here, definitely was a guy who threw me in the ice tub a ton of times. And I got to see Mr. [former 49ers owner Eddie] DeBartolo, too, that was great. I haven’t seen him since I was real little and got to talk to him for a little bit. My parents were at the game, so I actually stopped by and saw him and Dwight and a lot of guys. I think they told me they saw [former 49ers QB] Steve Bono and his wife and some people they haven’t seen a long time. I didn’t get a chance to hang out with people much. It was cool. I talked to our team about it a little on Saturday night. Just to go through what the ’81 Niners meant to this organization, things like that. And got a lot of young guys in there, so you’ve got to tell them a lot of stuff sometimes. But, I was telling them how big of a team that was because they were the first team to win a Super Bowl here and they did it in ’81, and kind of talked to them a little bit about the ’79 season, when they were 2-14. Talked to them about the ’80 season when they were 6-10. And I told them how the ’81 season was what started it all and talked to them about how I don’t think they just got to that ’81 season. I think they went through a lot of stuff in those two years prior to that and some hard work. And they had to grind out and find out the types of people that coach [former 49ers head coach Bill] Walsh wanted on that team. And I think they went through a lot of adversity to get to that ’81 team. I kind of made some comparisons to that what we’re going through right now. I’d like to say I feel farther ahead than that than they were at that time. I definitely haven’t studied that team very hard with the film and everything. But, I’d like to feel we’re ahead of that. I know we don’t have that record to show for it, but I just try to put it in perspective to people that no matter how tough things are, no matter how bad people can say they are, that you’ve got to be strong minded. You’ve got to know where you’re going and what it’s going to take to get there. Just because it’s hard on your way there doesn’t mean that you can’t stop believing in what you think is important and working at it every day and I think they’re a perfect example of a team that did that.”
That ’79 team was 0-7 and they won this week, I think. That parallels.
“It would be. It would be nice. Let’s hope we can keep it going like that.”
You’ve got some impressive historical knowledge. Is this something you’ve brushed up on since you’ve been here? I know you have, identify from way back. Was that already in your arsenal?
“No, it wasn’t all. I mean, I know they won the Super Bowl in ’81. I knew they weren’t very good when Bill got here. I knew that. I didn’t know those exact records and stuff. That was definitely told to me by someone trying to give me some encouragement. I used it. I appreciated it. I don’t use it just to say it. I’m not telling you guys just to make you guys feel better. I just thought it was neat for our players to hear. I think people do get down and the whole world’s caving in and I understand that because it does feel that way. But, also don’t lose perspective. To me it’s part of a process that is very important. And I wish it could be another way, but this is the way it is. And I feel I can handle anything. I really believe that. And I believe I’m hoping we’ve got the right guys in the room that can handle anything, too.”
Can you share who shared that with you?
“I think my dad did. I think my dad did.”