Kyle Shanahan Discusses 49ers Initial Preparations for Cardinals

Kyle Shanahan looks ahead to Sunday's home game vs the Arizona Cardinals.

No roster moves. Does that mean you have enough guys to practice and get through the week?

“We’ll see as the week goes. We’re going to have a number of guys not practicing today. I know [T Mike] McGlinchey is not going. I know [T Joe] Staley is not going. I know [C/G Weston] Richburg is not going. I know [WR Dante] Pettis isn’t going. I know [WR] Marquise [Goodwin] isn’t going. [CB Richard Sherman] Sherm’s not going. But, we’ve got enough guys out there to get through it.”

Is there anything you can do as a coach to help QB C.J. Beathard from getting hit as often as he gets hit?

“Yeah. That’s what we work on all week. Try to get rid of the ball versus pressure. You try to get guys open faster. We could not get him hit if we ran the ball every single play. But, there’s lots of things. You try to stay balanced. In order to do that, you’ve got to throw the ball well, though, so you move the chains on third down. You’ve got to mix a lot of stuff up.”

Obviously, last year he was getting hit a lot. Have you seen even in that one game an improvement in his awareness and ability to kind of not take those hits as much?

“Yeah. I see a lot of improvement. I think every situation is different. He played in a number of games last year where the O-Line was pretty beat up. That happened to him a couple days ago, also. But, each game is different. I think he’s gotten better knowing where people are, faster with it. That happens the more you play in a system. So, he’s much further ahead this year than he was last year.”

It seemed like a lot of the hits that he took were in the second half. Did he just find himself in a close game and really go for the win?

“No, I think you get hit more the more you throw. We were throwing more in the second half, so that’s what happened a number of times, and he scrambled a number of times in the second half.”

Did QB Jimmy Garoppolo have the surgery yesterday?

“I believe he had it this morning.”

Any word yet on how it went and if there was any other damage?

“No. I’m not sure. We’ve been going pretty hard here. I’m not sure what time it was this morning, but I know he’s having it sometime today.”

Do you have any idea what kind of timeframe are you expecting as far as will he be able to participate in the offseason program or anything?

“No. It’s way too early. When he wakes up and I talk to the doctors who did it, we’ll get some clarity.”

Your two years here, I know last year you had one of the most injured teams in the league throughout the first half and now obviously you’re dealing without your quarterback and your running back and other guys. How frustrating is it and how challenging is that for you just knowing that you’re sort of always in this situation since you’ve been here?

“It’s a huge challenge. It’s the biggest challenge I think in our game. It’s a challenge that a lot of people deal with, that I’ve had to deal with in my career before. It has been a little bit different these two years in some situations that I haven’t been in prior. Chalk a lot of that up to just luck. I know the fortunate thing is, not counting our quarterback and our running back, all of the O-Linemen and the receivers I spoke about today, they’re not going on IR. They will return eventually, hopefully sooner than later. But, that’s the challenge that presents every team every year. Some years you have lucky years. My last year in Atlanta, I don’t think we had one guy hurt on offense the whole year. It doesn’t always pan out that way. You hope to weather the storm and get through it and win some close games and you hope to get healthier as it goes, just like we did last year.”

One more on Garoppolo. Who performed the surgery and where was the surgery?

“I’m not sure.”

With those offensive linemen out, obviously you’re hoping they get back for Sunday, but as of today what does the first-string offensive line look like?

“We’ve got a number of guys out there. I’m not going to go through all of that. I don’t want everyone else to know. But, the rest of the guys that are on our roster. How many left after those three? I think there’s seven left. So, it’ll be five of those seven.”

What did you make of Arizona Cardinals QB Josh Rosen from what you saw on tape?

“It was impressive. Similar to college. He’s a very good thrower. He made some very good throws in that game. They definitely, I believe, should have won that game. They had two big ones that were dropped, I think two touchdowns. It was impressive. So, as similar to college, we know we’re going against a good player. He definitely helps them.”

When you guys got Jimmy last year, did you stop looking or planning to look at those guys, Rosen and those quarterbacks coming out? Did you take a peek?

“Our quarterbacks coach does his due diligence with everyone. I try to watch a couple games on each one, just so I can keep up with it each year. I was very sure we weren’t drafting a quarterback in the first round, so I didn’t spend as much time on it as I normally would.”

You were composed after Sunday’s game, but you were clearly maybe more irritated or upset about that loss than maybe some others. I don’t know if I maybe have the wrong read on that, but was there something about that loss that was particularly galling for you?

“No. I think every loss most people handle it pretty hard, I think. I know I do. Takes me some time to get over it, but I’m usually good by Wednesday. No, I was just pissed off. I think everyone was. It was a tough game. A lot of the situations we went through, so it was pretty exhausting in that situation. No, I wanted to win. Probably could see that on my face.”

What can you tell us about Arizona Cardinals head coach Steve Wilks and defensive coordinator Al Holcomb and what kind of defense you expect to see?

“Just exactly what they did at Carolina. Going against that a number of years when I was in that division for two years, it felt like I played Carolina every year before I went there about three years in a row. It’s an extremely tough, aggressive defense. I think that they’re doing a good job of it now, and they’re getting better at it each week. They’ve got some talented players. It’s a very aggressive scheme. They put the pressure on you. They blitz a lot. Their backers are very downhill. They present a lot of challenges with a variety of their coverages and their pressures. It’s always aggressive. It’s always been one of the tougher ones to go against.”

When teams blitz, it allows some opportunities for big plays. Are they no different in that regard?

“Oh, yeah. Always. They’re going to be extremely aggressive, so there’s times where it’s an extremely uphill battle, whether it’s running the ball or trying to get a pass off because of how aggressive they are. But, that also puts them in a bind, too. You’re going to get your opportunities. They’re going to have their opportunities and it’s what you make of it.”

Can you explain when you have a situation like you do right now at free safety with DB Adrian Colbert and DB D.J. Reed Jr., just how do you approach the week of practice and what goes into making that decision on Friday or Saturday whenever you make it?

“Yeah. Whoever has a better week of practice. We’d always lean towards Colbert, because it was his job to start with and he played at an extremely high level last year and started out this year doing that. Been playing banged up for a while. Gave him a chance to get healthier last week. We believe he’s going to be much healthier this week, so I’d be surprised if he wasn’t out there.”

TE George Kittle in college, it wasn’t like he was an extension of the offensive line, but he wasn’t a huge part of their passing game. Did you have to any way project what he might be able to do in the NFL or was there enough on tape at Iowa?

“You had to watch body movement, the routes that he did get at Iowa, you had to watch how he ran at the combine. Then, you look at his 40 time and how fast he is. Yeah, you put a lot of work into that stuff. I was very, very surprised when we drafted him that people said we were drafting a blocking tight end. He is very good at blocking, but we didn’t see him at all that way. I guess it’s because people looked at his lack of numbers and stats. But, I just think that was a product of the offense and the quarterback couldn’t get him the ball. I’m just joking.”

Just speaking to his speed, obviously, but the Chargers safety looked like he had a great angle on his 82-yard touchdown.

“He did, but he reversed the field and made him miss. Kittle, he’s not slow. He ran in the 4.5s. I’m not exactly sure what it was, but it was in the 4.5s. So, he has pretty good speed for a tight end. He’s a very god blocker and he’s got good hands. He can get in and out of cuts.”

Where did WR Kendrick Bourne have to improve form last year to this year?

“Kendrick took such a big step at the end of last year. Just his consistency. He came here to where he had never seen a playbook before, things like that. Just the system he had played in there was a lot of backyard ball for him, which is something that makes him pretty good because he can make some plays and he has a way of just adjusting to looks naturally. But, there was a part of his game that he had to learn that you can’t always play backyard ball and be consistent. He worked very hard through that last year, finished doing pretty good at it and he came into this year, had a few struggles early on. I thought last week was his best game, especially with the fact that we threw him at a position he hadn’t done before. He would not have been able to do that last year. He pulled that off for us versus Los Angeles, so very appreciative and proud of him for that.”

Could WR Richie James Jr. play X?

“He plays all of them. His ideal spot is usually, we’ve had him in the inside. But, yeah, if he went this week he would definitely be at that spot.”

Was it H32 Y-Knot X go?

“Yeah. There you go. When you see it the next time and tell me we called it. Let me see if you can recognize it.”

You guys still haven’t done anything with WR Victor Bolden Jr., right?

“No. We’ve got extra time with him. He was gone longer than [LB Reuben Foster] Reub. I’m not sure the exact days, there’s four days, but we’ve got some time with him to decide on. Everything’s going to play into that based off all of our other roster situations.”

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