49ers HC Kyle Shanahan conference call (10.3.19)

49ers Head Coach Kyle Shanahan:

On 49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo following last year’s injury:

“I think each week he gets better and better. It is definitely not the finished product. When you come from an ACL, you miss a lot of football. Before that, he had not played a lot of football either. He has come back looking real healthy in camp, but when you are healthy, it still takes a lot of time to get your rhythm back. Each week, he has gotten better and better. I thought our last game versus Pittsburgh, he had his best game of the year so far. Hopefully, that will continue.”

 

On the Browns defensive front, including DEs Myles Garrett and Olivier Vernon and DT Sheldon Richardson:

“They are all game changers. No matter what is happening in the game, no matter how good you are doing, any second any one of those guys you just mentioned can beat the guy in front of them, no matter who they are going against and change the game. They are a scary defense to go against. They have a lot of talent, and they have a very good coaching staff with (defensive coordinator) Steve Wilks in how sound and good he is running his defense. It is a huge challenge. I know they are doing good, and I have a strong feeling they are only going to get better throughout the year.”

 

On 49ers DE Nick Bosa this season:

“He has been great. He had a high ankle sprain in training camp, which everyone knows how big of a deal that is. He was set in his mind to come back for Week 1, and he did. Anybody with a high ankle sprain, it kind of lingers a little bit. It has lingered on him the first three weeks, but even while doing that, he has still been able to play in all three games and definitely affect the quarterback, which he has done a really good job of getting into them. He has not been able to get them down as much as he would like, but he has definitely done a good job of getting to them. Especially getting this week off, I hope his ankle is feeling even better this week.”

 

On the atmosphere at Levi’s Stadium compared to Candlestick Park:

“The games I went to in Candlestick, I think the 49ers, we went to the NFC Championship the three years that I was here – sixth grade, seventh grade, eighth grade and ninth grade. Won the Super Bowl one of those years. I think the worst season was 13-3. The other two were 14-2. It was a little bit different than these last two years have been here. We have not won much. We have not given the fans much to cheer about in our first two years here so it definitely is a different atmosphere. When we have played well, especially our one home game this year, it can get going, and it can get loud. I thought our stadium was very loud last week versus Pittsburgh. I also remember sometimes being in Candlestick that it was not always loud every single time because they were so used to winning every week. I think our fans are coming right back because I think we are starting to give them something to be excited about.”

 

On QB Baker Mayfield this season:

“You can see why he was the first pick in the draft. I did not have to do a ton of them coming out of college just because we had just signed Jimmy. I definitely watched enough to understand why they took him and how good of a playmaker he is. Heard a lot about him last year and really just to sit and study him over the last 10 days, it is what is advertised. He has an arm that can make any throw. He can stay in the pocket. He can get out of the pocket. He does some very good things. The more he plays, the better he is going to get.”

 

On why he has always used the FB the way he does and if he is surprised FBs are somewhat non-existent in the NFL:

“Well, I mean it is not non-existent. The Patriots do it a bunch. There are a couple of other teams. Some people use tight ends in that way a little bit. I just like being able to make the defense defend everything. Sometimes if you do not have a lead blocker in there, you can only run the ball in some looks, and you can’t just run it in any look that you want. I think it gives you a little advantage to get the threat of a certain play at all times, which can sometimes slow down the defense and all the stuff they want to do to be sound will all your options.”

 

On the Browns’ trick plays on offense last week and WR Odell Beckham, Jr. pass:

“His arm was very impressive, but what was more impressive was he had two guys about to sandwich him and he just stepped up in front of them. I showed that to Jimmy and told him that is how you get away from Myles Garrett (laughter). It was cool that he stepped up in front of those two guys and made that throw down the field, but that does not surprise me. I think Odell could do anything he wants to do.”

 

On his observations of the Browns now compared to his time with the team:

“I am excited for all of you guys out there. My wife, kids and myself really enjoyed our year in Cleveland. The people were great, and I thought the stadium and the atmosphere of the Browns was unbelievable. I got to feel that because we were 6-3 and 7-4 to start and were first place in the division so you saw what that hype was about and everyone knows that that year did not last. We finished 7-9 so it all went downhill from there. They have been hungry for a long time, and they are getting what they deserve. It is the right town, good people and they have a good coaching staff, good owner, a good GM and some really good players.”

 

On if he is surprised the Browns were able to ‘dig out of the hole’:

“No, not at all. It took a little bit. They had to make some changes and stuff, but when you are in a hole that long, eventually, it is going to pay off and eventually it is going to come around. You get some good players and that is where they are at right now. It seems like everyone there is on the same page. When that happens, usually good things happen.”

 

On Bosa and if he has the tools to be Defensive Rookie of the Year:

“I would hope so just because we took him so early in the draft. He definitely does. I do not know if he is being mentioned or anything. I do not know exactly what his numbers are, but he has been getting to the quarterback a lot. Who knows how those awards go, but we have high expectations for Bosa and he is capable for doing a lot of things.”

 

On 49ers FB Kyle Juszczyk and why Juszczyk is successful:

“It starts with can you lead block, and he is physical enough to do it. He is not going to turn anything down and he has the body to do. Then it is how do you move, how quick you can get out of the I-formation and how smart are you. He is as smart of a fullback as I have ever had and as athletic of one as I have ever had. He has great hands. He understands our run game. We can move him all around. We put a lot of pressure on him mentally that probably most players do not deal with. I think he allows us to do a lot formationally and to call a couple run plays within one play. He is just extremely versatile. People notice him when give him the ball, which he has the ability to make some plays with the ball. He makes play every week, whether he is touching the ball or not. I do not think he gets enough recognition for that.”

 

On the development of 49ers TE George Kittle in the NFL, given his college production compared to professional stats:

“I think people got a little too caught up with stats just because I would like to say we developed him, but he was a freak right when he got here. I do not know how he was available in the fifth round, but he played in a running offense so  everyone thought we got a blocking tight end, which he is a blocking tight end because he can block as good as anyone, but he is also good in the passing game. That is why he had the best year in the history of the NFL last year just statistically. He can do a lot of things. I think he had less than 20 catches and he blocked so well that I think people just started to assume that he was a certain type of guy. When we got him here, we thought he was going to be one of our best guys his rookie year, but he had a number of injuries in training camp, then he had them early in the season and he had kind of a setback. If you go back to his rookie year, those last five games or so, he started to show what he is capable of and he took care of his body and really learned how to manage his health going through the year. Last year, he was able to stay healthy for all 16 games. I think that is why everyone found out about him.”

 

On how stressful it was to do what he did when leaving Cleveland:

“It was a very stressful decision for me. You are never really going to fully explain yourself to people and you do not want to have to because you are not trying to throw any other people under the bus or anything like that, but you just come to points in your career where you need to decide something that you believe in. Especially from the place that I have been right before that and just some situations that I was in the team before for four years, I just did not want to go down that path. It was an important time in my life. I talked a lot about it with my wife. It was just a decision we made and we were willing to live with it. You do not always know how the results are going to be, but when you are happy with your decisions or your intentions on why you did something, then I feel like you can live with the results of whatever they are. I am happy with where it has lead me. I am very happy to be in San Francisco here. It is three years later, and I am very happy and very privileged to be the head coach of this team.”

 

On how the Browns offense improved against the Ravens:

“It is such a fine line in football. You just have to make a couple of plays to unlock some stuff. I thought they were getting after them for a while in that game if you just watch it on the silent tape, but it was still 10-10 at halftime. Then just a couple of things unlocked in the third quarter and then it is that fourth quarter, and they ended up putting up 40. That is football a lot. That is why you can’t overreact when you have such a bad day and you can’t overreact when you have such  a good day. No matter what happens, if the ball just bounces a few plays, you can put in the exact same way. A tackle might slip on a play, the defense might get a sack fumble that changes everything, and you look horrible. That is why this league is such a challenge for people because everything is so evaluated. Everything you watch on TV is about analyzing left and right. If people get caught into that too much, it will drive you crazy and make it impossible to perform. I do not think there are a lot of big differences. I just think that they kept sticking with what they were doing. Baltimore did not score a lot of points on defense and eventually, they unlocked them and made some big plays.”

 

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