Here is the transcript of Kyle Shanahan’s Week 1 Friday press conference, courtesy of the 49ers P.R. department.
“For the injuries: [WR Jalen] Hurd, [WR] Trent Taylor and [DB] Jimmie Ward will be out. We’ve got [DL Nick] Bosa, [C/G/ Weston] Richburg, [CB Jason] Verrett and [CB K’Waun] Williams as questionable.”
Have you liked what you’ve seen out of Richburg in the last week and a half? Do you think he can start for you?
“Yeah, I do think he’s got a chance. He’s had a good week. It’s gotten better each day. The big thing is traveling this far. We want to see how it reacts on the plane. Sometimes guys who are going through things it can swell up a little bit. We’ll see how he is tomorrow, but it’s been a solid week.”
I think you said on the radio that there was a chance that Jimmie Ward could play with a cast, but that it might be next week that that’s more of a possibility. Will he be able to play with a cast? Don’t you need your hands, your fingers for that position?
“I mean, you need to jam people, but we’ve had, [LB Dre] Greenlaw played with a cast throughout the entire preseason, [LB] Elijah [Lee] is playing with one out there right now. Guys play with casts. [Former 49ers S] Ronnie Lott played without a pinkie. You wouldn’t choose to. It’s easier to catch the ball when you have two hands, but you can still, as long as you can protect it with the cast where you can jam people and tackle people, which very rarely do you make tackles with your fingers. It’s definitely annoying, but it’s something you can do.”
Would it be a club-type situation or something where you can sort of isolate the one finger?
“I’m not sure. I would hope whatever makes him feel better. If he can use the club as a weapon, that would be nice. You can’t do that, so probably try to make it as flat as possible so he can jam and do things like that.”
You mentioned players like Ronnie Lott played an entire game with a cast.
“Did I mention that?”
Yeah, you just generally mentioned that.
“Yeah, totally, it’s expected. That’s the standard here. It’s been set a long time ago, and we’re still waiting for someone else to do that. No, Jimmie would do anything to play this week. It’s not that, he had to get surgery on his broken finger to fix it. When you do that, sometimes it’s just risky with sweating and stuff with infection and everything, whenever you have an open wound. Hopefully that’ll heal enough over the next week and the cast will protect the bone though.”
Where do you feel Bosa is and how did you think he was moving this week in practice?
“Similar to what I just said about Richburg. Definitely not all the way there yet, but had a good week. I’m encouraged about it. We went half walk-through today, half full-speed. We’ll get on this plane which you’re always a little nervous with how long it is and stuff, we’ll see how those guys react tomorrow when we get them up and run them a little bit.”
When you started camp, you told your players, “Hey, it’s time to win and everything, you’ve got to win.” I assumed that was to get some urgency going. Did you feel that in this camp? Do you feel that this team is a little different emotionally this year?
“Yeah, I definitely do, and that’s not just because you make statements like that or you say you should be there in year three. It’s because we believe we are there. We know we have a good chance to win. I think our guys, lip service doesn’t do much for players. They see the guys next to them, they feel the players out there, they know how much harder competition was throughout, how much harder just deciding on the 53 is. They know there were some good players who we let go of because they couldn’t make our 53 although they are good enough to be in the NFL. When guys see that, you feel it right away and I also think we’ve got some guys who have been around here that winning is very important to, not just being in the NFL. Guys really do want to win and through the work they put in and the guys around them that they go against, I know they believe they can.”
Do you have the team captains? Is it the same as last year?
“I can’t remember if it’s the same, but yes we voted on them on Monday. On offense we’ve got [T Joe] Staley, [QB] Jimmy [Garoppolo] and [TE George] Kittle. On defense we’ve got [DL DeForest Buckner] Buck and [CB Richard Sherman] Sherm. Those five guys. I said five, right?”
No special teams guy?
Last time you were in Tampa, did you guys wear your white uniforms?
“We wore red when we were there.”
Do you think the white was a heat advantage?
“Oh no, I’m sorry, no we wore white, you’re right. No, I did think it was.”
Are you at all surprised that they were going with the dark?
“They can’t change their mind on that, can they? I am surprised. And I’m very thankful.”
You’ve got this game and then obviously the week in Youngstown. The fact that it comes so early that you’re going to have your team together in the season, do you look at that as a positive or is that something that you just deal with?
“When it come out right away, you look at it as a negative and then you try to figure out how to work it out. Now I’m excited about it. I mean, I think it’s always hard just the players and the coaches and everyone who’s got to go. Last night you’ve got to say bye to your families and you know you’re not going to be back for 10 days and then usually you get back and you get back at midnight on a Sunday night and usually don’t see them again until that Friday. I think that can wear on guys a little bit. What’s good is that it is early in the season. I do like the fact that we have two back-to-backs because it is a pain when you do have a back-to-back, just the traveling and to do it so much with the sleep-wake cycle and the amount of flying that I do believe it will really help us staying out there. It’s not something you want to have to do a ton, but definitely my experience being here the last two years, I’ve heard it about a lot of people who have been here in the past, it definitely is a factor and I think this is the best that we can deal with it. When you do decide that it’s the best thing to help your guys have the energy and play the right way. It’s also going to be fun to be together for a week. We’re always together throughout the day, but when the day is over everyone goes home. Sometimes it’s nice to be in the hotel with the guys.”
You’re not going to do that late November early December with Baltimore and New Orleans surrounding Thanksgiving break?
“It’s still a decision that we can make. I know that it’ll probably be easier for our travel guys if I made that right away, but I’m not a big guy in committing to stuff unless I know what my true opinion is and I’d like to see how it goes these two weeks and if we feel that it’ll help us then there’s no doubt that we’ll do that.”