Shanahan on Garoppolo: “You get your confidence back by playing. There’s not a magical motivational speech.”

San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan throws the red flag during an NFL preseason football game against the Denver Broncos, Monday, Aug. 19, 2019, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Here is the transcript of Kyle Shanahan’s Tuesday conference call with Bay Area reporters.

Q: Now that you’ve watched the film, do you have any concerns about what you saw from the first-team offense?

KS: “You always want to be play better, but to get concerned over 10 plays, that’s pretty irresponsible. You try to evaluate those 10 plays. The one thing that I saw differently once I watched the tape was the interception. It wasn’t a T-E stunt. We had a miscommunication in protection, so (Bradley) Chubb got in there earlier than expected. I thought Jimmy (Garoppolo) got hit as he was throwing it. He didn’t. He got rid of it too early to avoid the hit and the route hadn’t developed yet, so it didn’t go far enough down the field. We need to do a better job of protection by getting everyone on the same page. We need to do better at throwing that ball away or, if you can’t, you have to take that sack.”

ME: You kept Garoppolo in the shotgun for all six of his pass attempts. Was there a reason for that?

KS: “No. It probably had to do with some of the down and distances. We wanted to motion to empty (backfield). When you go to empty, there’s not much point in being under center, unless you’re going to do a quarterback sneak. So, if you go to empty, you might as well be in gun because there’s not threat of run. I think two of his passes were empty (actually, three). The others were on third down. And we only got 10 plays.”

Q: Do you have an update on Jerick McKinnon? Will he practice this week?

KS: “I was hoping he could. With it being a short, I don’t think he will tomorrow. Maybe the day after we’ll start putting him into individual (drills). But, I don’t think he’ll be able to do team drills this week.”

Q: Impressions of Solomon Thomas’ performance?

KS: “I was real happy for Solomon. He has been that was in practice every day for us. He has been moving around a lot. We like to get him inside more than outside, but he still had to be outside with all the injuries we’ve had, and he is moving different. He’s playing a lot more aggressive. I think his mind is a lot clearer. And it’s showing. I thought he had a good game yesterday, and we expected him to because he has looked that way in practice.”

Q: Why did Jalen Hurd play only eight snaps?

KS: “Hurd was going to play more, but he had some back tightness all week in practice, and then he had it a little bit in the game. He definitely could have gone. That was just a decision I made to get him out of there. Don’t want that to be worse, with the fact that we have three games in 10 days.”

ME: Has Deebo Samuel earned more playing time with the starters, or do you still want to see more from him?

KS: “I want to see more from all of them. We have a very good group, and they’re all tight. I’m trying to get those guys to take those spots from people and make it an easy decision. I think we have a lot of candidates to start on our team, guys who have been here and the new guys. There are two positions if we start in 12 or 21 (personnel), and there are three positions if we start in 11. And especially with Trent (Taylor) being down right now, there are a lot of opportunities for these guys. Deebo had a good play on the around. That’s what we expect him to do. The D-end closed, (Samuel) is fast and we expect him to outrun people. All these guys can keep getting better. We want them to be good at blocking, to be good at running the ball when it’s in their hands and to be able to get open. Deebo has the ability to do everything, but he’s still continuing to develop.”

Q: Is Jordan Matthews the starting slot receiver while Taylor is out?

KS: “That’s what we’ll go over this afternoon. We have two practices to prepare for Kansas City. We think all this stuff out. We give guys different opportunities different weeks. But, by no means is anything set for Week 1. We have an idea of what some guys can do. Some guys we need to see more from. So we mix it all around. I wouldn’t look into anything until you guys see our final 53.”

Q: Speaking of Jordan Matthews, does special teams ability factor in for him? Is that something he will have to do to be on the 53-man roster?

KS: “It factors in for everybody. Usually you like to keep six receivers. You usually only have five up on game day. So, sometimes that sixth one isn’t necessarily your best special teams guy because he doesn’t even get up. The sixth one has to be able to come in and play if you lose a starter. So, yes, it matters, but it’s not as clear cut as that. It depends on who makes the 53 and who’s up on the 46 on game day. Usually your fifth guy is going to be your best special teams player, and your sixth guy is usually a better receiver.”

Q: Considering Jimmy Garoppolo threw five picks during Wednesday’s practice, and posted a 0.0 quarterback rating on Monday, and both performances became national news, do you have to check in on him, or do you already know what he’s made of and where his head’s at?

KS: “No, that’s something we deal with with all our players every day. We’re around these guys a lot, so it doesn’t take a brain surgeon to realize that stuff is hard on people. I don’t ever sense it from Jimmy. Jimmy comes in, he’s the same guy every day. He’s great in the meetings. He works. He listens. Doesn’t change much. But, I know anytime you get all that publicity for things you’re not happy with, that’s going to affect a lot of people. You have to go out there and play. You get your confidence back by playing. There’s not a magical motivational speech. Jimmy has ability to do it. We know he will do it. What stinks is when you go out there and you get just a few opportunities and it doesn’t go right and you’re not in a position to play yourself out of it. Hopefully, he’ll get to be in there longer versus Kansas City. I hope it’s all good things, but most likely there will be some good, some bad. And then, we’ll see how long he can stay in and grow from it.”

Q: Updates on Mike Person and Weston Richburg?

KS: “Yeah. Richburg, we’re hoping the Chargers week, where he could maybe get out and practice a little bit. And if he can, then we’ll decide whether to play him in that game and get him ready for Week 1. That’s what we’re hoping for. We’ll see. Mike Person, he’s still day to day. Knowing Person, I’m sure he’s going to try to practice tomorrow, but we just have to see where he’s at. We still have to decide what type of practice we’re going to have. We have to do the reps, because we only will have two practices before our game, but I don’t see us having a full-speed practice tomorrow anyways, so hopefully he’ll be out there two days from now.”

Q: Are you concerned with the depth on the offensive line?

KS: “It concerns me. You need to be able to block and you need to be able to do it without holding, and we’ve gotten way too many of those (penalties) the past two weeks. It’s something we definitely have to improve. Depth on your O-line is something every team is trying to work at. We need some guys to step up. We lost the two guys who were competing at guard, with Person and (Joshua) Garnett, and that has opened up some opportunities for these guys, and that’s why they’ve been in there a ton in these two games. They have had some really good plays that show they can play in this league, but just like you guys have noticed, we’ve had too many penalties and they’ve had some bad plays. The good thing about this stuff is we do have two more games. It’s something where we haven’t seen enough yet to figure it out. We need more game tape. Hopefully, one of these guys will step it up.”

Q: What did you think of Beathard and Mullens?

KS: “C.J. played the most. Every time C.J. is in there, you have a chance for a big play. He loves the big play. He missed one to Richie (James) that was a little him, a little Richie. And then he had a really good throw to Bourne that would have been a real big one that Bourne didn’t get. I thought C.J. missed a couple plays early, but nothing too bad. And then Nick came in and didn’t have many opportunities. He made the best – I think the throw he had was the fade for the touchdown. But, he didn’t really get a chance to play too much.”

Q: Will Dee Ford practice this week?

KS: “Right now if you had to ask me, I don’t think we would throw him in tomorrow, just the fact that we won’t be full speed. We’ll look at it again the next day. I know (this week) was the goal. We thought there was the possibility. I still think there is, but I think we’re going to be leaning a little bit more toward next week.”

Q: Where are you in deciding who is going to be your backup QB?

KS: “I’m in a pretty good spot. Where are you?”

Q: I think pretty good as well.

KS: “Alright. You want me to tell you?”

Q: “Yes.”

KS: “I believe in both of those guys. I believe they can play. We’ll see who we decide to go with the second group this week. Haven’t decided that yet. Whoever do, we plan on the next guy getting a lot in Week 4. I’ll never make a decision before the fourth preseason game comes, but usually the backups are the guys who play really the entire game. So, there’s a lot more playing time for both of them to get here. I feel very good with both the guys. We’ve had both the guys here in a lot of game situations. It has been a fun battle to watch. I think both are playing better than they have the past two years.”

Q: Are you saying whichever QB goes in second in Game 3 will be the backup?

KS: “No. Didn’t say that. Nope. There are so many things that play into this. I know we have two backup quarterbacks who are both capable of starting. I would be happy with either one of them as our backup. One of those guys is going to win the job. We will make that decision. I do not see myself making that decision until I absolutely have to, and that probably won’t be until the final 53. But, if we make it before that and there’s no advantage in hiding it, I promise we’ll let you guys know.”

This article has 51 Comments

  1. Sounds like JG is going to get the reps to shake off the rust…..This breaking news might help:

    David Lombardi
    There’s a chance center Weston Richburg plays in Week 4 of the preseason as the 49ers hope to get him ready for Week 1 of the regular season, Shanahan said.

    MoreMatt Barrows Retweeted David Lombardi
    If this comes to pass, Richburg may be the only starter on both squads who plays in this game. He’s been ramping up his workload since the start of training camp. No setbacks so far.

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  2. Grant, Shanny’s answer made perfect sense. Did you know the answer before you asked him?

    It’ll be huge if we can get Weston back in the pivot week 1.

    Shanny says he never makes a decision before the 4th preseason game, and then gets questioned about the 3rd games backup to Jimmy being the guy. Clean out the ear wax guys!

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  3. Good question, Grant, but I don’t think KS saw where you were headed with that question. Correct me if I’m wrong, but weren’t you angling to find out why he didn’t call pass plays that at least on the face of it would result in less pressure (i.e non-empty backfields).

    KS keeps mentioning the WR battle. But what concerns me is that it doesn’t seem that outside of Kittle and Taylor, Jimmy is developing chemistry with the WRs (not sure about Goodwin). Once KS picks the top wideouts, then there will be more opportunity; but by then we’re looking at the opening of the season and it will still take some time.

    1. I was listening to an interview with Mullens a few weeks ago and he mentioned how he was focused last season on being able to put the ball in the right spot at the right time, and he did not always recognize who the receiver was! I am guessing that Kyle pays less attention to QB-receiver chemistry and more attention to the receivers adequately learning the route trees, especially at this time when the QB has played only a handful of games with the longest-tenured WR (Goodwin). I rec all an interview with Marvin Harrison about how he and Manning spent countless hours practicing together over many seasons before they developed that uncanny chemistry.

  4. ME: You kept Garappolo in the shotgun for all six of his pass attempts. Was there a reason for that?

    KS: “No. It probably had to do with some of the down and distances. We wanted to motion to empty (backfield). When you go to empty, there’s not much point in being under center, unless you’re going to do a quarterback sneak. So, if you go to empty, you might as well be in gun because there’s not threat of run. I think two of his passes were empty (actually, three). The others were on third down. And we only got 10 plays.”

    I call BULLS**T on Kyle S. for that answer to Grant.

    Realize that this QB has not been in game speed action since before last Halloween and has an ACL repair for which he still may have some timidity.

    You just gained over 14 yards on the first two rushes of the game and are facing a 2 and 6, which is not an obvious passing down but a great down for a play action pass or another run since you also had two significant gains running the ball on the previous downs, and you go EMPTY. WHY????

    Give your QB a chance to be successful. Don’t make him one dimensional – obvious pass by going empty

    So, in consideration of all of those facts, why put your QB in such a precarious situation for his first throw in over 10 months?? Why not a simple play action pass utilizing the same run action which gained you over 14 yards on the two previous snaps?

    Why go empty on 2nd and 6 when the whole world knows the QB Draw is not a viable threat considering not only the QB but also the injury from which he is attempting a comeback? Plus, 40% of your offensive line is back-ups playing against starters!!!!!!!

    “Gone” protection with an empty formation means there is no back to help police the pocket in case of seepage and the QB also faces potential hots on both sides of the formation.

    YOU, KYLE, head coach and offensive coordinator, did not do your QB any favors!!!! Put yourself in his shoes! Help your players be successful, especially given the circumstances for JG.

    Sure, JG was OH fer in terms of yards and 1 completion, two batted balls and an INT, but you share the responsibility for that performance, too.

    When players perform poorly that is a reflection of the coaching and the preparation just as when they perform well that, too, is a reflection of their good athleticism as well as good coaching.

    Or, were you sending a message to Jimmy by trying to humble him by putting him in positions to fail?????

    You did say the other day after his 5 interceptions, that some humility and failure might make him easier to coach!!!!!

    Hope you have learned by these mistakes so you don’t repeat them Saturday night vs. the Chiefs.

    1. Mike, obviously Shanny wants to arrange a career-ending injury for JG so that he can get a QB he wants, rather than to be saddled with one he probably thinks is stupid trash. With the obviously awful “competency” of the OL, there’s really no other explanation that makes sense. Right?

    2. Mike, I agree. KS tipped off the play. No way an empty backfield would be a run play. He also kept JG in the pocket so the pass rusher rushed to a spot and got his hands in the air for batted down balls.
      Interesting that with this makeshift line, KS is exposing JG to a fierce pass rush. Maybe it would have been better to let CJB start, and bring in JG later, for a cameo appearance, when Chubb and Miller are not in.

    3. Mike I did not see the last of the game, or thought about the empty backfield … GREAT points…obviously Kyle is a rookie coach….he needs to find an OC or be a OC not both….to me it screams “EGO”…… like “nobody can do it like me” attitude…I am NOT a KS fan or as of yet. Don’t know why Jed put the team in KS hands considering the lack of experience…!!!! Maybe it should fall on Jed’s hands = he hired an inexperienced Head Coach to pull the team out of the cellar….another miss hire if you will

  5. The 49ers fear rookie receiver Shawn Poindexter tore an anterior cruciate ligament, coach Kyle Shanahan said Tuesday, via Matt Maiocco of

    Poindexter injured his knee on special teams very late in the second half of Monday night’s preseason game against the Broncos.

    This injury falls directly on Shanahan because there was no need for a coverage team to be on the field because if the offensive coordinator had been over-ruled by the HC, Shanahan, he would have been in a four minute offense to run out the clock and not worrying about scoring because who cares in about the score in a pre-season game.

    Who knows if Poindexter will be able to bounce back from the surgery and the almost year’s rehab, but it was unnecessary in the first place with a head coach who should have been able to make the executive decisions not to place his players in a position for potential injury.

    Year 3 for Kyle and he should be able to take off the training wheels and make some intelligent decisions, but the jury obviously still is out.

    Sorry for the player who have to suffer while he learns with a baptism under fire mentality!!!!!!!!

        1. Razoreater; AES; Oregoniner – Add Doug Pederson to the list of coaches who think the current preseason set-up isn’t conducive to preparation for the regular season.

          The Eagles coach said he gets more from joint practices — like the ones he’s having with the Ravens this week — than he will from Thursday’s game or any other preseason game.

          “Sometimes you don’t get all the situations in a game that you’d like to see your players in,” Pederson said, via Zack Rosenblatt of “So practices, I can set practices up that way. I can set them up hard. I can set them up where we’re in pads, or going live, whatever it might be that we can really get a true evaluation of a player.

          “The only real change from a game to a practice is in a game you don’t get to do it over. At least in a practice setting, if we make a mistake, we can line up and do it again, and so we can correct that mistake right away. In pre‑season games we can’t do that. We get a little bit better evaluation in practice in that case.”

    1. Mike, KS needs to learn how to finish off games. This was just another learning experience.
      It is just my opinion, but you are being a tad harsh towards KS. One could not foresee Poindexter becoming injured.

      1. You already had two days of work vs. the Broncos and now are down to the last few minutes of the game and have had multiple special teams plays in the game, so run your 4-minute offense, LEARN HOW TO KILL THE CLOCK, take the air out of the ball and win and go home. Could have been a positive teaching moment on how to close out a win.

    2. Yup, Shanahan is killing off the planet.
      Sheesh, it’s football, the body is in motion at incredible speeds. Players are injured by huge collisions, sometimes by pulling a muscle by simply running or blowing out a knee by a misstep.

      There were ten other players on that play besides Poindexter, if we go off your theory Shanahan should get credit for keeping those ten from getting hurt.

    3. “This injury falls directly on Shanahan because there was no need for a coverage team to be on the field because if the offensive coordinator had been over-ruled by the HC, Shanahan, he would have been in a four minute offense to run out the clock and not worrying about scoring because who cares in about the score in a pre-season game.”

      Exactly, if he were any kind of real coach he would have refused to play in the preseason period. If the NFL refused his wish, he should have kneeled down every play and ordered his players not tackle the opponents and to get out of the way.

      We are bending over backwards to blame Shanahan. He has plenty he can be blamed for, but if there is any value to the first or second preseason game, its in finding the final players to keep on the roster and who you want to stash on the practice squad.

      1. Shoup

        I’m not sure just what I’m seeing on the blog….Niner FANS bitching the coach who is 2-0 ?….DISGRACEFUL..! (borrowed from Trump)

    4. Mike,

      Preseason is about getting reps on what you feel you need reps on. It’s not a normal game situation and running a 4 minute drill is obviously not what they wanted to do. You are blaming Shanahan for an injury because the coverage teams shouldn’t have been on the field, and yet a player could just as easily have been injured during your preferred 4 minute drill. Your comment is absurd. Injuries happen in games, practice and even stepping out of a shower. Blaming the HC for an injury is asinine.

      1. notanexpert – FYI – the incidence of injury is higher on special teams, especially kick-off coverage and punt coverage units, than it is for offense and defense, primarily because of the distance run and the acceleration and speed generated in open field over 55-60 yards of grass.

        Based on data, I would take my chances with the 4-minute offense rather than more coverage units running the field, particularly in this situation when a score was not necessary to win the pre-season game.

        Also, with the new rules banning wedges, injuries were reduced a bit last year on kick coverage units, but concussions and the reduction in injuries still exceed normal down and distance units.

        That’s another reason why doing away with kick-offs is being considered seriously by the suits at Park Ave. Right now they are struggling with how to start a series as to where the ball should be placed for the offensive unit after FGs, safeties and TDs, but discussions are on going.

        Other leagues, including the new XFL, have taken steps to eliminate the kick-off.

        I also have seen NFL regular season games where the team ahead and with the win locked up have had players not score in the final minutes of the game, and, subsequently, the offensive unit took a knee on 2 or 3 snaps to run out the clock so they would not have to kick-off or put their defensive unit back on the field.

        If executed correctly and with no times out taken by the opponent, you can run off more than 2 minutes of clock time taking a knee.

        1. Mike: You make some points, but don’t forget that this was a preseason game and guys are trying to make a 53 man roster often with their most realistic chance by showing prowess on special teams.

          I’m aware that kickoffs have been shown to lead to more injuries. I also realize that there has been discussion to eliminate kick-offs. What about punts? Isn’t there a similar rate of injury? I don’t know that is why I am asking. If it is substantially less, I’d be curious to know why, since guys get up a good head of steam.

          1. cubus – The latest comprehensive review showed that over the course of all games during the 2015-2017 seasons, the kickoff represented only six percent of plays but 12 percent of concussions. Players had approximately four times the risk of concussion on returned kickoffs compared to running or passing plays. The changes to the kickoff rule aim to address the components that posed the most risk, like the use of a two-man wedge.

            Now, the NFL is challenging Kagglers to help them perform the same examination, this time on punt play rules. They have provided data for all punt plays from the 2016 and 2017 NFL seasons that includes player rosters, on-field position data and video data, including the plays in which a player suffered a concussion.

        2. I’m aware of everything you said Mike and it’s irrelevant. Running out the clock in a practice game while giving up the chance to run more plays and experience game situations doesn’t make any sense. The reason you play preseason games is to practice every situation you will face in a real game and find out who is going to take the last few spots on the roster. Punt coverage is a big part of that and blaming the HC because a guy got hurt doing something that is a part of the game is ridiculous. Players get injured in many different ways. It’s football and unfortunately is part of the game, but should never stop a Coaching staff from doing what needs to be done to get ready for the season.

          1. Well I’m not an expert either but I think Mike’s point is that at that point in the game it is better to practice your 4 minute offense than to practice your special teams coverage given the data available and the options to choose from. There’s nothing irrelevant about his opinion. He just disagrees with Kyle’s choice of options. FWIW, this non expert agrees with Mike. Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit but wisdom is knowing not to put tomatoes in a fruit salad. Shanahan has shown he has a great deal knowledge but it’s the wisdom part that he lacks IMNEO and Mike is addressing that issue.

        3. Mike

          Poindexter is a rookie trying out for an NFL team…he should WANT to be seen on the field….Who would you have replaced him with…?

          1. OREGONINER = my whole argument is that the special teams should not have been on the field in the first place if KS had gone to his 4-minute offense to run out the clock. They did not need another score to win the game. Inside the final 2 minutes, kneel downs would have run out the clock, and you get off the field, go shower and then get on the plane and go home.

            Remember, you also had two days (Friday and Saturday) of full contact work against the Broncos and now the Monday night game where you also held out for various reasons 28 of your 90 players.

            That’s a lot of work and exertion over a 4-day period.

  6. Well at least we have a good backup QB who can come in and play. Mullens appears to be the backup and they can put CJ on the PS if he passes waivers or no trade but who would trade if they know he would be placed on waivers. People will say JG is rusty and needs more time and more practice time, ETC. People really need to think beyond that and start to realize hes not a TOP TEN QB even if he was healthy. Now with the injury and not really playing over his career, hes like a 2nd year QB like Mullens or it feels that way. Its better if it happens now then during the season. He should get better but what if he does not and he struggles, would they replace him with Mullens?

    Hopefully they play JG at least the first half during the Chiefs game. They should at least play all starters who are health enough to play or at least gets reps in. Like with Bosa they can’t baby him all preseason, if hes healthy he should play at least 1 series. Or play him during the Chargers game to just get reps. He has missed almost the whole off season and they just think they can throw him in their come week 1

  7. notanexpert – your words –
    ” The reason you play preseason games is to practice every situation you will face in a real game and find out who is going to take the last few spots on the roster.”

    4-minute offense and taking the air out of the ball actually is critical when in the 4th Q and trying to ice the game.

    Also, something at which the Niners have been abysmal under KS. Of course, them being ahead late in the game is rare, too.

    BTW, I believe Pointdexter was injured on kick-off cover, not punt coverage. I may be mistaken, but at that point in the game, the hay was in the barn, and I was not paying that close of attention, figuring it was over.

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