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SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS MEDIA CONFERENCE
November 13, 2018
Santa Clara, California
KYLE SHANAHAN: Injury stuff from yesterday. K'Won's stinger checked out good today. Tartt, Reuben and Pierre all didn't play. We anticipate getting them back to practice next week when we start. Goodwin, no symptoms yesterday, was rechecked in the morning, had no symptoms.
Q. Everybody on your 53-man should practice when you guys resume next week?
KYLE SHANAHAN: We're anticipating to, yes.
Q. Do you have any projects planned for this week to take a deep dive on what's gone wrong?
KYLE SHANAHAN: Well, yeah, we look at everything. What's been good, what's been bad. You look at all personnel, you look at scheme stuff. Stuff you do during the week too, so it just gives you a little bit more time to do it.
Q. In terms of the pass rush, I have two questions. One, why not blitz a fifth defender more? And two, why did Armstead and Thomas not play the last drive?
KYLE SHANAHAN: I would have liked to see them in there more on the last drive. They didn't get in there enough. We did do a number of five-man rushes in the game. Why don't you do more when you need to do more? Just you're more susceptible in coverage.
When you do four-man rushes, then you've got seven guys in cover. So it changes what you do, whether you're playing man or zone. You can call it a zone dog when you bring five, but you're still manning people in your zone. So you can drop a D in and call it zone, but if that tight end runs a corner, he still has a man-to-man, so that's the reason for that.
Q. With Armstead and Thompson, you said you would like to see them in more. Is that something you realized during the game?
KYLE SHANAHAN: That's something when it's all said and done, you want certain guys to get a certain amount of rushes. That has to do with situations and personnel groupings and what down and distance they're in. And when it was all said and done, they didn't have enough opportunities, I thought, in nickel, and I'd like to see them have more.
Q. It certainly implies that the four guys out there when there is no threat of run are considered the four best pass-rushers. Is that the case?
KYLE SHANAHAN: Yes, but ours has changed week to week, because we don't think we've had a set best four guys. Buck's the guy we've kept the most consistent. Our edge rushers have been the same, but they've been rotating throughout the year, but our inside guys, we've rotated pretty much between three guys after Buck.
Q. On the penalty on McGlinchey where they called a false start, I believe, it seemed there was a lot of confusion, and the ref moved the ball a little bit. What was your view of that play? Did you get any explanation?
KYLE SHANAHAN: No, they spotted the ball and our guys lined up, and they were about to go, then the guy moved the ball back two yards. Most of our guys saw it and moved back. But McGlinchey was still looking at the D-end getting ready for the staff count and didn't see it.
Q. Were you guys double teaming Saquon Barkley when he was being used as a receiver?
KYLE SHANAHAN: I mean you do sometimes. It depends on what the coverage is. You have to have the call. You can't just double him every time he goes out on a route. Sometimes you don't know when he's going to go on a route. Sometimes they're in protection, sometimes they're in scat, which means it's a five-man protection, so the back can get out. But there are times that you do, yes.
Q. How does this game rate as far as number of plays you've submitted to the league for clarification?
KYLE SHANAHAN: I'm not sure. Someone else does that. It's out there. There's a bunch of them. But all you do is get clarification, and they say they're sorry or they weren't sorry. So doesn't really change anything.
Q. Is the official supposed to notify? Is there supposed to be something said when he moves the ball that way in that situation?
KYLE SHANAHAN: I don't know. Usually they spot the ball in the right spot and don't change their mind right before the ball is snapped. I don't know if there's supposed to be a rule. I think you've just got to do it right the first time.
But, yeah, if that's going to happen, I think there should be something. But you try to yell and get an answer in the heat of the battle while the time clock's going. Eventually you have to call a play and move on with your life.
Q. Have you had a discussion with Ahkello since speaking with us last night?
KYLE SHANAHAN: No, I had a discussion in the team meeting today. Brought up a number of stuff in the team meeting, but haven't seen Ahkello one-on-one yet.
Q. What did you say to the team?
KYLE SHANAHAN: A lot of stuff. Stuff that I don't want to go over with anyone. It was between me and the team.
Q. Was there a general message that you sent them into the bye week with?
KYLE SHANAHAN: Yeah, just to sit there and really reflect on the season so far and what they want coming back in these six games. We have six games left coming back. A lot of football to play, and a lot of important football to play. I want them to sit there and really think of what their goals are for the rest of the half. Do they want to solidify themselves as a starter, a back-up. Do they want to be a part of it here. Do they want to be an answer or solution to what we're going through. And really when they think about all that and understand it all and what they want, I'm sure they all have high aspirations, I want their actions to come back and show that.
Q. You want them to play kind of in pressure situations in six games you guys won't mean a lot in the standings, but is that your goal to put pressure on them and see how they perform?
KYLE SHANAHAN: Yeah, that's your goal always. My goal is to get our guys to play the best they possibly can. Whoever is in our building, to get them to play the best they can. I believe we can get more out of our guys. I believe that's up to myself, up to the coaches, and I believe it's up to the players. I think there are guys that are doing some good things.
But even the guys that are doing their best, I still think there's even more. I think George Kittle has had a hell of a year. I think he could improve a lot more. I think Breida has done some good things. He can get better. I think Buck can get better. Sherm can get better. From all the top guys I'm mentioning to the bottom guys, we all can get better and coaches included.
Q. Before last night, Pettis hadn't played many snaps since coming back from his injury. He seemed a little up-and-down last night. Where is he in his development?
KYLE SHANAHAN: That's the first time we've really put him back in there and thought he was good, ready or had enough healthy practice to give him those reps. So that was his first full week of a healthy practice. The week before he got two straight practices in, but it was all the walk through stuff for the Thursday night game. He got three good days in, really four last week because we had the bonus practice on Monday, and he earned himself a number of reps with it and did a decent job. By no means was it perfect. Expect him to get a lot better as this goes.
He's another guy putting a lot of pressure on the last six weeks, and I want him to take some huge steps forward. But at least playing some, getting out of the game healthy, I think he finally has the opportunity to do that.
Q. When you guys come back for practice next week, what are your plans for the quarterback situation? Is it going to be more of an open competition between CJ and Nick, or is one or the other going to be the guy right out the gate?
KYLE SHANAHAN: No, Nick Mullens is our starter until I say differently, you know. It's going about it that way. That's how it will continue to be.
Q. How would you assess Richard Sherman's performance to this point, and what's his value been to your team, not just what he's doing on the field.
KYLE SHANAHAN: I thought Richard had one of his best games last night. I thought it was probably his best game of the year. I don't think it was a coincidence that it followed his best week of practice of the year.
I think Richard went through a big off-season of some big injuries he was overcoming, and he battled hard to get through those. Had a number of setbacks and in training camp when he did have that, it made it hard to practice a bunch. He got himself ready for week one and played. I know he had to miss a few weeks as those injuries crept back, and he played through a bunch of stuff these last few weeks.
The thing that's been great about Richard, just showing other guys how you can play through things when you're not a hundred percent, and when you do, you've still got to play at a high level that helps you win, and he's done that in a number of situations.
I'm watching him get the longer week after the Thursday night game. Didn't show up quite as much on Monday, but in Wednesday's practice, he moved differently. He seemed a lot healthier, and continued Thursday and Friday, and I thought it looked that way on Monday also. So hopefully this week will help him even more continue to heal his body up. But he's played at a very good level for us, and I expect him to continue to get better.
Q. There was some speculation when you signed him that he had this kind of skillset, and the type of game that would defy age or injuries better than another type of corner. Is that something you've seen through his play?
KYLE SHANAHAN: To a degree. I think people say that because Richard is very talented and things like that. But that's not what separates him from other people. Richard's game has a lot to do with what's upstairs. He's thinking a lot. He understands route combinations. It's hard to beat him on the same thing twice. You can get him once, but usually the second time it's a pick. That allows him to -- I think he's in his eighth year. He's played seven years. By no means do I think he's at that stage yet where we're talking about him being old.
But as he does get there and you start to lose a couple steps, which happens to everybody, the guys that have been successful because of more than just their ability are guys that usually can still play at a high quality even though their skills diminish. But I don't think he's there yet.
Q. Do you see Mullens' performance last night as a setback or positive experience for him?
KYLE SHANAHAN: I think it's positive. The guy's played one game in his career. I know statistically that was the best start in NFL history. I mean, I think Nick did some real good things yesterday too. It was a little bit more of a challenge in some circumstances. Had to play for four quarters. The Oakland game got out of hand pretty fast. Halfway through the third, it was a lot more relaxed. So here had he to do it beginning to end. Did some good things at the beginning, did some good things at the end, and had some plays in the beginning he missed and plays at the end he missed.
What I liked about Nick, is he never seemed rattled throughout the whole game. Continued playing, he was great after the game, he was great just watching film with him. I say it's a good experience or step forward because I think he'll get better from each experience he has.
Q. Were there little things he did that the average football viewer would have seen or appreciated?
KYLE SHANAHAN: Yes. Yeah, there were a number of plays where he got to different guys in his progression, avoided a number of sacks. There was one that I thought live that he should have got to a deeper guy from my view on the sidelines. And I got on him for it because I wanted a bigger pass. Thought he was there, he was open. He just sits there and listens and takes it. I watched the film, and if he had gone for what I wanted, I think it would have been a sack and it would have been 2nd and 15. That's stuff I like.
He's got a feel for that in the pocket, and I always want to be aggressive and go down the field and have bigger plays. But I'm not at the expense of risking a sack, and I think he's done a good job with that.
Q. Touchdown pass with Breida, it seemed he went through a nice progression quickly, at least naked eye to me. Can you take me back to that play, and where was Breida on his list?
KYLE SHANAHAN: He was last. That was a hell of a job. We had everyone going to one side. We snapped the ball really fast, trying to confuse them. Everyone went one way, and that was the way he was looking. Fortunately, Breida flashed across his face and he just felt it.
It's not something you're thinking about much, it's just a feel, and he saw him flash and made the right decision because he was open, and Breida made a hell of a catch.
Q. What did Breida do this off-season to become a better receiver? I think he had a lot of drops last year, and I don't remember a single one this year.
KYLE SHANAHAN: He's worked on it a lot. Breida's worked on everything. Breida, I just told our team the other day, and we have lots of guys that work hard. I think all of our guys work hard. But in terms of taking it to a whole 'nother level, Breida and Kittle showed that the first day of OTAs. They were just pretty obsessive in everything they were doing. Every little detail of their game, and it's improved in a lot of areas.
And Breida in the pass game, he wasn't our number one target last year. He used Carlos a lot out of the back field. He got most of those reps, and with Jet going down this year, it's given Breida's more opportunities. He worked a lot in the off-season, so he could be ready for those opportunities.
Q. It may be too early to ask this, but could you envision having both Jet and Breida on the field at the same time?
KYLE SHANAHAN: I envisioned it this year, so that won't change next year.
Q. You mentioned your message to the team over the last six games. What is your level of frustration given at this point that is the message you have to give compared to maybe the mindset you had going into the season?
KYLE SHANAHAN: I mean, it is what it is now. It's not -- I mean, it's just what our circumstance is. So I'm not sitting here just frustrated with it. That's what's been presented and that's what we're dealing with. We're going to make the best out of it.
My whole thing is that whether -- I don't think we're eliminated from the playoffs or not, but regardless, it doesn't matter. You're always playing for something. This league does not have patience. I don't have patience. No one in this league has patience. You shouldn't have to say that to players.
Most players who have been around, more veterans understand that. But a lot of people don't understand that. So sometimes you do have to educate people on that. You tell them stories and stuff, whether it's a free agent, whether it's draft picks.
I told our rookies, we had a lot of rookies finish the year last year on a really high note and it gave us a lot of confidence for some of those guys coming into this year. And some of those guys got better or worse in week one through this year. Some of them have gone the right direction, some haven't, and very well aware of that. That's stuff I'll look into for these six games.
Who is going to help us lead us into next year? Who is going to help finish us this year? There are lots of things that are very important to us, and we want to know, as I always say, who are we dealing with?
We've been here over two years now when it's said and done at the end of the season, and we'll have a much better idea of people. And nothing is more true than when you watch us in the final weeks of the season, and lots of guys stepped up at this time last year. I want to see the guys who do it again, and the guys who don't, and see the guys who truly want to be a part of this.
I see better than I hear, and I'll always say that. Guys, a lot of guys say the right things. I see our guys work and their actions show it, but we've got a stretch ahead of us. There is a lot of football left in, and I feel like we're just getting started in finding out what our team is.
Q. What strides would you like to see Mullens make down the stretch?
KYLE SHANAHAN: Continue to get better. He's played in two games. I thought he did some decent things last night. He's a good pocket passer, so I wanted him to be perfect at it. He was pretty good on a number of his reads. We had a touchdown get into the last guy in his progression. Had a couple big plays, getting into number two and three. But I wanted them to be automatic. I know that's what he wants to do too, and we'll keep working at it until he is.
Q. His arm strength has been scrutinized. On the first pick was that an arm strength issue or just he was late in getting rid of it?
KYLE SHANAHAN: Well, I mean, it's different with everyone. If John Elway's late, he's got the arm strength to be late, you know. If you're not, you've got to be a little bit on time. And Nick went to the right read on that, and tried to hit Kittle over the ball. Becker got under it, took a second hitch, threw it to the comeback outside because Juice was taken away in the flat.
It was the right read, just maybe a hair late. When you're a hair late, you got to put more on it, which I think he could have, he didn't. When that happens, you're late, so you've got to make a better throw or decide to throw it away so we don't take a sack. And also, a receiver can help him out with that. It starts with Nick, because the ball wasn't in the perfect spot. But Bourne's got the hand, eye, and ball skills so he doesn't have to sit and wait on it either. He's got to put his foot back on the ground to step through it, and drive through it, to stop the pick six angle.
So the quarterback wasn't perfect, and Bourne needed to have a hell of a play to save them.
Q. What is the balance you're trying to strike in that situation, after you take the holding penalty and you're backed up? Some would say maybe run the ball, punt and avoid a scenario like that. What is the balance you're trying to strike?
KYLE SHANAHAN: Just attack the defense and what they're doing. I'd love to give you guys our game plan, but, I promise you you would have saw a nice run if you saw two really high safeties. All right? Had a hard eight-man front, play action, throw to Kittle over the middle. Linebacker got under it, so you adjust. But you try to be inconsistent is what you want to do, just like defenses.
Anybody who is consistent and does the same thing every time, I don't care whether it's good or bad, just tell us what they're doing and we'll have the right answer.
Q. (Indiscernible) Arizona last night. To varying degrees this was true. You had a defensive back get injured, and the guy who replaced him got picked on. And you lost the game. Do you believe some of those guys in the secondary can be part of this or is it just depth issues?
KYLE SHANAHAN: I think that's part of the whole NFL. Usually when someone gets hurt and someone comes in, it usually is a little bit of falloff. It doesn't matter what team you're with, that's everyone. If it's not, then you're in a pretty fortunate situation.
But, no, I do believe we have guys who can play. Also, I don't like when guys have to do it alone. You've got to step up in other situations. You know, if you're down to your second or third quarterback, yeah, I want those guys to come in and carry us and play well. I also want other positions to step it up. If your corners go down in a game, yeah, I want them to come in and be able to cover very well manned coverage.
I also want us to make some sense in zones, have them cover some zone and get there with the pass rush. It will always be the focal point will be on that new guy who comes in the game. But if you have a guy come off the bench who hasn't truly earned a starting role to whether he hasn't been good enough to do that or if he's just not quite ready because of his lack of experience, you want other people around him to step up and take the pressure off that guy, and I don't think we've done that in every facet either.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports