Kyle Shanahan says the 49ers defense “just seemed a little tired” against the Cardinals

San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan speaks after an NFL football game against the Arizona Cardinals, Thursday, Oct. 31, 2019, in Glendale, Ariz. The 49ers won 28-25. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

SANTA CLARA — Here is the transcript of Kyle Shanahan’s Friday conference call with Bay Area reporters, courtesy of the 49ers P.R. department.

 

Do you have a status update on LB Kwon Alexander?

“I don’t. We will later today. Kwon and [TE George] Kittle are both getting MRIs right now, but we’ll find out here probably in the next few hours and we’ll get that to you guys as soon as we do.”

 

CB Richard Sherman was a little bit salty after the defensive performance last night. What did you see from him in the game since watching the film?

“I understand that he sets an extremely high standard with how good they’ve played and this game wasn’t as good, but I think it was far from a bad game. Those guys played real well in the first half. They gave up that first drive and got out of the gap on that long run. We had a chance to get them off the field, but we had the horse collar. They held them pretty, they really shut them down the first half. I thought the second half, they came out, and I thought we got a little bit sloppy with tackling. They got a couple long ones which they shouldn’t have, I thought. I thought we just seemed a little tired, especially for a Thursday Night game. I think my history of Thursday Night games, usually the offenses do have the advantage. I do feel like the short rest affects defenses a little bit more and I felt like that kind of was the case a little bit with both teams last night.”

 

When you reviewed the film and were watching QB Jimmy Garoppolo’s passes, did that 22-yard throw to WR Emmanuel Sanders jump out at you and how long have you guys been working on that route where he could trust Emmanuel for being in that spot?

“Not very long. We put that play in, I think, on Tuesday. We just walked through this week, so that was our first full speed rep at it. That was pretty impressive by both of them. We didn’t know if that’s where the ball was going to go. That was the first option, but there were a few others on it. Emmanuel jetted to the corner and to the front pylon and Jimmy made a hell of a throw beating those guys there.”

 

Can you talk about the chemistry between Garoppolo and Sanders? It looks like they’ve been playing together for years just the way they have their timing down.

“No, it does. It’s been real cool to watch. Emmanuel’s fit in right away with everyone just on the field and off the field and you guys could see it last night even. He was great in the first week and he’s been great in practice, but you could even feel him pick up steam as the game went, just the confidence of those two together and I could feel it also. It was fun to have him on our team last night.”

 

Given how good your pass rush has been through the first half of this season, do you expect to see a heavy dose of screen passes like you did in the second half and kind of counteract that moving forward?

“Yeah, I do. That’s something that all teams are going to try, especially when you have the pass rush that we do. I think it depends on a week-to-week basis what kind of coverages we’re doing from a game-plan standpoint. Anytime you face a team with good rushers, you’re going to always try to slow them down with screens and they did a real good job of that, especially utilizing how much speed they have on their team.”

 

Looking back at these eight games, what are you most impressed with and what are the areas that you think you guys really need to work on coming into the second half here?

“I’ve been impressed the most with the resilience of our guys in the next man up type deal. We’ve had some guys go down in some key spots and the guys have come out there and stepped right in and just really done their job and no one’s made a big deal about it. We’ve still been finding ways to win. It’s been cool, each game has kind of been a little bit of a different story. To be able to do it a different way, I’ve been real proud of our guys and how locked in they’ve been every week and that they don’t let up at all whatever the situation is. They’ve found a way to do it eight games in a row, going to enjoy this rest here over the weekend and then get back and start over here on Tuesday.”

 

How much of your fourth down play calls when you threw it was influenced by the fact that the run was stuffed right before that timeout or right after that timeout?

“A lot. I definitely wanted to go for it there, I thought we needed to score. I’m glad that I got a second chance at it because I was not that encouraged after watching that first drive of the chance to getting it, so we went with the pass and thankfully it worked out.”

 

Your defense was dominating in the first half, did you factor in that they might get tired in the second half into making that decision?

“No, I just, we were inches away. I knew we were getting the ball there in the third quarter. I thought it was a chance to really lap them and try to get 14 points right there. I thought it could change the game big time. I was glad we did, we didn’t exactly do that in the third quarter like we were hoping, but that’s a big time in the game when you can score at the end of the second quarter and you get the ball in the third, sometimes you can finish teams that way and I thought we had an opportunity there and it worked out. Thankfully we got that second chance although we didn’t do it in the opening drive of the third quarter. That’s what allowed them to get back in it.”

 

With Kittle’s injury, is there a concern that there might be some other damage that you didn’t see and did he get an x-ray on the knee with the way the helmet hit it last night as well?

“I think he did last night, I’m not exactly sure. I know it was scary, but the fact that they felt good enough with him coming back in the game, just talking to everyone last night, I’m feeling pretty optimistic about Kittle. I know he played through a lot of stuff. It’s going to be tough on him this week, but I feel pretty good that it’s not going to be a longer-term thing and hopefully we’ll be able to get him back this week.”

 

On that goal line touchdown to Emmanuel Sanders, you had him lined up as the fullback. How do you make sure, what are the keys so the defense doesn’t know that a wide receiver’s in the backfield?

“We try to break the huddle fast. They’re a man coverage team so they’ve got to find all their guys. You put them in confusing spots so they’re just a little late on their eyes and where to pick guys up then you snap it and go. Sometimes you do that and they’re a little slower to know where he is and that’s why he scored. Sometimes it’s very obvious when a receiver is in the backfield so everyone chases that guy and it opens up other people. A little different stuff to do and maybe Emmanuel is so good as a fullback in the pass game that we’ve got to come up with some runs for him as the fullback. Just joking on that, he wouldn’t like that [laughter].”

 

If you guys are without Kwon Alexander for a while or the rest of the season, would you be looking at LB Dre Greenlaw to step in that spot and who else would you look at for that spot?

“Yeah, I mean Greenlaw would step in that spot. That would up [LB] Azeez [Al-Shaair] who’s been the fourth guy there on game day, and then we’ve got [LB] Elijah [Lee] on practice squad who played a lot for us here over the last couple of years, so he’d be the next man up also with that group. Kwon has been great for us this year on the field and as a leader. I’m a lot more nervous about that MRI coming back today. I’m hoping for the best, but a lot more nervous about that one.”

 

You talked about how he is, in terms of the production, it doesn’t really say anything but that whole overall positive energy is brought to that defense and the speed, right?

“Yeah, I mean you guys can feel it. I think everyone watching it can feel it and our team feels it. That’s how he is on game day, that’s how he is on the practice field. The speed he plays with, he’s been a great addition for us. It’s going to be a tough loss. Hopefully it’s not for the whole season, but if it is, we will deal with it. I’m really hoping it’s not because he’s been a hell of an addition for us.”

This article has 14 Comments

  1. sebnynah says:
    November 1, 2019 at 1:03 pm
    Kwon Alexander out for the year.

    Thanks Seb, if you have news that we haven’t already been enlightened with 20+ times it would be helpful?

    sebnynah says:
    October 30, 2019 at 9:50 pm
    Relax he is just my catfish. I plan to grace you with my presence once I get done burning down the neighbor’s shed.

    sebnynah says:
    October 30, 2019 at 10:21 pm
    I win again.

    REPLY: FYI , Seb, it is not a win burning down your neigbor’s shed.

    1. ZACH BROWN
      LB, UNSIGNED FREE AGENT

      Eagles released LB Zach Brown.
      Brown, 30 next week, started all six games for the Eagles after signing with the team in May following his release from the Redskins. For a player who annually puts up strong numbers, he sure seems to bounce around a lot. Brown is talented, and ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports he’s expected to have interest from multiple teams. It’s a curious move from the Eagles.

      Free agent LB Manti Te’o is visiting the Lions and Raiders.
      Te’o had already been linked with the Raiders, but this is the first note of interest from the Lions. The former second-round pick was a healthy scratch most of last season in New Orleans, but he is a solid option at linebacker. Both Detroit and Oakland could use some help there.

    2. TrollD, I never, ever would joke about burning down something, after all these past travails. This catfish is just not too bright.
      .
      Again, I said I won again, when some burner account resorted to an expletive.
      .
      Please stick to football, because many are realizing that you are kinda unstable, for these delusional immature attacks. The Niners are undefeated, and you want to attack me? Grow up, and get a life.

      1. Nice try, catfish.
        .
        I speak properly. I am a son of a former university professor.
        .
        Using words like ‘kinda’ does not fit my modus operandi.

        1. Seb,

          I agree,

          The real Seb would only know that he’s the son of a former university professor and sounds litereate, unlike the imposter catfish using words like ‘kinda’.

          And I agree with the ‘real’ Seb….Using words like ‘kinda’ does not impress me.

    1. Fro the first snap Hammer.
      I thought they woke up after the second series. And it looked like they did.
      Must have missed nap time at the half. That’s when they really looked tired.

  2. I must commend KS. Even though he unwisely burned his time outs, at least he did not suffer because of that. Kingsbury, on the other hand, wasted time outs like a drunken sailor, and had no time outs left to stop the clock, which contributed to his loss.
    .
    Calling a time out, just before his team stopped the Niners on 4th down, was a classic self inflicted wound. KS reacted properly, by not running again into the teeth of the defense, and that TD proved to be the margin of victory.
    .
    I also liked when he went bold, and had gone for it on 4th down, to keep the drive alive.
    .
    Looking back at the game, the Cards copied what the Niners had done previously. Drake ran like an All Pro, because the Cards ran some trap plays.
    .
    Going no huddle? It was as if Kingsbury read my previous posts. KM got the ball into the hands of his playmakers, in space. I had said that they would stack the box to take away the run, and KS let them shape him. He responded with bunch formations. The Niners should expect every team to do the same thing, so he should spread them out wide, and attack the edges. Then, with a lighter box, gash them up the middle.
    .
    This Seahawk game will be a lot tougher. The Niners need to be better prepared. Better coaching will stop the team from making unforced errors, because this last game, the Niners almost defeated themselves.
    .
    The loss of Kwon is disconcerting, but the Niners have adequate backups. I hope they promote Elijah Lee from the practice squad. He played well last season. Hopefully, Staley will be back, and maybe Witherspoon, too.
    .
    I am thankful that the Niners won, but I am even more thankful that Kittle is not too badly injured. If the Niners had lost Kittle, it might have doomed the season.

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