Kyle Shanahan addresses challenges of facing the Philadelphia defense


The Philadelphia Eagles defense is phenomenal.


They make life miserable on opposing quarterbacks. Philadelphia finished 2022 with 70 sacks, the third most since they became an official stat in 1982.


In the NFC Divisional round against New York, the Eagles did not slow down sacking Giants quarterback Daniel Jones five times. Next on the hit list is Brock Purdy.


During his Thursday press conference Kyle Shanahan was asked about the challenges of putting together a plan to face Philadelphia and what he’s seen from his rookie quarterback.


Is this a team that you look at in the Eagles in terms of the way that they were built? You mentioned that you know Philadelphia Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni a little, but not that much. I don’t know how close general manager John Lynch and Philadelphia Eagles general manager Howie Roseman are, but I think you’ve got the same amount of draft picks that are on your team. You’ve both gone out and made key trades, are they built similar to you in terms of the things that you want to do? 


“I don’t know. I haven’t really thought about it. I don’t think we’re really similar. I think we look at things a little bit different, but I’d like to say most teams build it that way in the league.” 


I know you like to obviously look at the opposing defense and kind of figure out where the areas to attack them are, but is it more difficult with a team like the Eagles that have good players at every level of that defense? What’s the challenge that you face and the coaching staff faces in putting together a gameplan to beat them?  


“Anytime you play a team with good players in a good scheme, it is just sound defense and when you play sound defenses, there’s not a lot of holes schematically. You try to put guys in position to beat their players and they got pretty good players too. And on top of it, when you have a real good pass rush with a good backend, with all seven of those guys, it just combines for making everything more difficult and that’s usually what you see this time of year. I think that’s exactly how our defense is. And they’ll come after you, they’ll do what’s needed to keep you off, but anytime you have a team that doesn’t have to do that, because they can cover with good players, have seven guys verse four guys, to keep people to help with protection, then you have seven guys verse three guys. All that stuff becomes a factor and allows teams to be sounder, which makes it a lot harder to get big explosives.” 


You say that you didn’t really have time to ease Brock into anything just because of the nature of how he first came into the starting role. Now that you’ve worked with him for a while now, how would you assess his ability to handle the multitude of your offense and everything that you’ve been able to throw at him so far?  


“He’s been great. He just tries to soak it in throughout the week. It’s always harder on Wednesdays when you get so much and you’re not going to get it right then and he doesn’t seem to over panic about it. He takes each rep, walk through, the meetings, every clip we show, you can just tell he is locked in and just building up information all the time and that’s what you want players and coaches to do. It’s never a final product on Wednesday, but you work your butt off throughout the week and usually by Saturday night it is pretty clear and that’s what he has shown. He’s been able to handle the pressure throughout the week because sometimes you want to go out there and look great for all your teammates, but you don’t always know that on Wednesday and Thursday and you just keep reviewing the tape, keep going through the looks and you make sure you’re there Saturday night so you can sleep comfortably and wake up extremely confident.” 


When you’re watching film of the regular season, how many games do you typically go back and do you watch more games when you for a postseason opponent? 


“I do the same every week. Just game orders when you go from play one to the last play, you probably pick like six or seven games, but then whatever they have on the year are into all of our cutups, so we watch everything at some time and how it’s cut up, whether it’s just formation or personnel wise and if we don’t have many games, about halfway through the year we stop using the year before, so we try to get as much tape as we can.” 


I think every team member talks about the importance of turnovers that you guys are 15-0 when you either win or tie the turnover battle or 0-4 when you don’t. How have you been able to be so consistent in that regard? 


“I think we’re a good team and turnovers is the number one thing that helps any team win, so I think when you’re a good team and we’ve been that way. As good as we have been with getting turnovers and not turning it over, I think you should expect that.” 


With Brock have you ever in a game seen him frazzled about anything, anything you’ve ever needed to calm him down or is he as unflappable as he seems? 


“He’s a human, so if he misses something he’s frustrated, but it’s always temporary. I’d like to think we all are, we can all have quick reactions, but if that clock’s ticking that reaction ends pretty fast, it’s by the next play. Sometimes if it’s the last play of a series it’ll lasts a little bit longer, but by the time you go out there it’s, I always feel the same guy.” 


Was there anything behind the scenes that he did that gave you maybe more confidence that all his practice success would translate to the game environment if he ever got a shot, which obviously proved out to be? 


“You watch how people carry themselves, so you have guesses on how they’re going be, but no, you never know until they get in those games.” 


This article has 18 Comments

  1. Certain members of the media and posters here love to find fault as opposed to giving credit. Regardless of who wins Sunday it will be a matter of great team beating a very good team. It will not be either HC’s fault but we should give credit to the winning HC/QB/OC/DC. I just hope if the 49ers lose we don’t have to read the posts of those ugly negative KS/JL/York haters. Just be happy that it was a great year and the better team won.

    1. The haters will be here win or lose. When Purdy took over everyone thought the season was over, look where the Niners are now! What a season, even if it ends on Sunday.

      Some people forget that there is another team on the field that wants to win just as bad as we do.

    2. Old Coach
      As an old coach, I’d expect you already know that “Certain members of the media and posters here who love to find fault, as opposed to giving credit” are exposing their ignorance and not their knowledge of the game.
      * OLD ADAGE: Those who can, do! Those who can’t, run their mouth!

      1. Hey! Running the mouth is what blogs and comment sections are all about! It’s only when I type out my rambling (and sometimes incoherent) comments that anyone listens to me. I mean come on….no one, not even me could listen to the long winded comments here in a sports bar.

        As for fans….I do not understand why anyone cares what other fans think…if they’re supportive or not…who cares? It’s like being a fan for some is some emotional support cult or something where you’re either with us or against us! (or against them and with us!).

        The Eagles are damn good and could very well beat the 49ers. But the 49ers have the fire power to compete and win the game. So I don’t see how anyone can objectively say one team is so much better than the other.

        1. all4fun
          “Hey! Running the mouth is what blogs and comment sections are all about!”
          * OK, I’ll give you that one……I guess we’re all guilty?
          “It’s only when I type out my rambling (and sometimes incoherent) comments that anyone listens to me.”
          * Damn! If that’s true, I must be out my rambling and sometimes incoherent mind too, because I often
          find myself agreeing with you?

  2. If you are a football stats nerd then you might like this football betting podcast. Has a really great breakdown of strengths & weaknesses and matchups for the Eagles v 49ers. Doesn’t give a game prediction or betting advice on the 49er game. Just gives a really detailed breakdown of the matchup. I found it very interesting so thought I’d pass it on.

    1. 49ers – 27
      Eagles – 10

      People want to anoint Jalen Hurts as the MVP. People also forget Jalen Hurts got benched and had to transfer to get playing time in college. I’m a fan of Hurts but I’m also a realist. I think DeMeco cracks the code on Hurts and the Eagles and stifles that offense. For some reason, I keep going back to the 2013 LSU vs Tx A&M game. Johnny Manziel was white hot that year. He put up over 550 yards against Alabama. They put up over 40 points on every SEC defense leading up to the LSU game. Up to that point, A&M was averaging almost 50 points per game. John Chavis with LSU put a fantastic game plan together. He had Barkevius Mingo spy Manziel and took away all the QB rush yards in that game. LSU won 34-10 based on a dominant defensive performance against an offense all the experts didn’t think could be stopped. I think that happens this weekend as well. The type of Zone Defense the 49ers play best is the exact type of defense that gives Hurts the most trouble. I expect a very close game at half time and then the 49ers pull away in the 2nd half. 49ers win and I think they win by more than a TD.

      1. Whoa. You are the definition of optimistic. Wish I shared your enthusiasm. But Brock Purdy is such a wild card as are the offensive line and defensive secondary. I’m of the mind that it will be close with the outcome in doubt til the very end. Love to believe that outcome will favor the Niners, but I’m just not that confident.

      2. Good prediction 1.6. The Eagles are full of themselves, they are listening too much to the national pundits.
        Although their sack total is sky high, and they are extremely skilled along the line, it is also partly due to a stretch of games against inferior teams. Hurts has been up and down, and still has a injured shoulder.
        One hit or fall the wrong way and he could be out. I just feel Kyle has cooked something special for them.
        Our offensive play makers are one click better as well. Look for CMC and Kittle to have BIG days.

    1. Mitchell’s availability issue seems to be getting worse. Maybe we’ll see a lot of Mason this game.

  3. Brock Purdy & the Niners are getting such little respect on ESPN. On NFL Today, Mina Kimes, Marcus Spears, Ryan Clark all have them losing to the Eagles convincingly. Only Laura Rutledge, the show host, gives the 49ers any chance. Whew!

  4. After my last weeks prediction was so off I said I wouldn’t do it again this week but you can read between the lines. I think Phil’s D is possibly as good as the 85 bears, 2000 Ravens and 2002 Bucs. I also believe that J. Hurts is a better QB than J. McMahon, T. Dilfer or B. Johnson. We will see this week and or two weeks from now whether the Eagles will be held in the same regard as those teams.

    1. I feel all 4 teams left are serious SB contenders.
      I hope the Nines are the underdog.
      Overconfidence comes before the fall…

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