San Francisco 49ers Head Coach Kyle Shanahan
November 8, 2018
Q: We got to know Weston Richburg here really well. What has he added to your team at the center position and in the locker room this season?
A: Heís added a ton. Heís been as good as center Iíve had, heís been one of the main reasons I believe weíve been able to run the ball as well as we have had this year despite our injuries. Heís battled through the last few weeks, battling some injuries, and heís missed one game but heís been out there playing through some stuff. Guys love him here and heís really helped us.
Q: Any concern now in start two for (Nick) Mullens, thereís some tape on him now, that itís going to be a little more difficult to find the openings he had in that first game?
A: Yes, always. It gets harder and harder, it doesnít get easier. It will be a big challenge this week vs. the Giants, they do a hell of a job defensively with their scheme and with their players. It will be nice for him to get a full week of practice. This will be his first full speed practice that heís had with us as a starter, so I know that thereís some benefit for him also. But yes, the more you play in the league, it gets tougher.
Q: How has he handled his success?
A: Heís handled it fine, Nick is the same guy every single day. He was practice squad with us all last year and rarely got reps even there, he was actually our practice squad safety just because we didnít have enough guys, and he acted the same as a practice squad safety as he has as the backup number two, and as he did last week and this week as the number one.
Q: What made you think that what everyone else saw last week was possible, and that this was maybe some of the stuff he could do?
A: Just from the way heís gone about his business since heís been here. The guy prepares as hard as anyone Iíve been around, even when he had no chance of playing as a practice squad guy last year, he was as prepared for the game as our starters were. He works at it every single day, he can get guys in and out of the huddle very well, he knows where the ballís supposed to go and he can execute on offense very well. The game isnít too big for him, heís tough, hangs in there, and the way he prepares makes it to where itís just not too big.
Q: How did it come to be where he had to play safety for practice squad?
A: Just because the lack of people that weíre allowed to have. You have guys go down and you canít put people on IR, so you canít bring people back in. Youíve only got 10 practice squad players, you donít have enough guys to go both ways, and then when youíve got a number of guys as the year goes not practicing, usually your first string quarterback gets all the first team reps especially when heís a younger guy trying to learn systems too, and then your second team quarterback runs the scout team. Itís very hard to get a third guy a lot of real reps, and we tried to let him split a little bit with the two, but once guys go down you need those extra guys to plug in wherever they can.
Q: Doesnít seem to be a lot of negativity coming out of your locker room despite a lot of injuries and a lot of early losing. I saw Richard Sherman saying a lot about the culture you guys have there, despite the results not going your way. Why do you think that is? Why do you think thereís so much positivity around you guys despite the record?
A: I think weíve got a good group of guys. Weíre extremely disappointed with our record, it has been frustrating, it has been a grind. Thereís still a lot more football to play thatís left, and this isnít where we want to be but I think everyone knows where weíre going. Itís not going to be easy to get there, but I think weíve got a bunch of guys in here that do feel the same way that we are doing something, and this is part of the process. Whether weíve won or lost so far, we believe that itís going to make us better, and every situation that weíve had we plan on getting better. Our guys come to practice with that (mindset), when you lose on Sunday itís always tough -- Mondayís hard, Tuesdayís hard, and by the time we get guys back in here on Wednesday we get a new game plan in. I just think we have the right type of guys who donít sit around and bitch, donít point the finger. They get over the loss and they get ready to move on, do what they can and what they can control, and thatís just trying to be as good as you can every day.
Q: How challenging has it been for you personally when Jimmy (Garoppolo) goes down? Itís obviously a big blow, him being the centerpiece acquisition of your team. How tough is it to not lose faith as a coach?
A: Itís a challenge, it definitely is. Itís the first time Iíve had to deal with that, and going into the year especially having higher expectations than we did in our first year here, especially with the way we finished with Jimmy coming out and playing, bringing in a new running back to have with him - we kind of got our first dose with him six days before the first game, and then we got Jimmy in and that happened to him a couple weeks later. Really just how early it happened was what the huge challenge was. The whole season was ahead of us, and we lost our two guys that we really wanted to add to make a difference this year, so it put a lot of challenge on everybody. Itís opened up opportunities for other people, but itís been tough. Our guys have gotten through it, itís not the situation that you want but itís the hand youíve been dealt and like I was trying to say earlier, you donít have to label things as a positive or negative, theyíre experiences and what you get out of it. Even though itís not fun and not something we want to go through, itís my job as a coach to make sure we get better from this. Our record hasnít, but I believe that this can harden us and can make us better, and weíve got to learn how to fight through these things and win. I believe that will be a critical part of getting us to where we want to go.
Q: Youíve faced the Giants quite a bit in your career at various stops, youíve faced Eli Manning a lot. Do you have to prepare for maybe the possibility of another quarterback playing in this game? Maybe not starting, Pat Shurmurís already said Eliís going to start, but do you have to prepare for other guys who are on the roster too? How different is that with facing the Giants?
A: Weíre preparing for Eli Manning. I understand the stuff heís going through this year, but Eli can still play at a very high level. He can still make every throw, heís had a Hall of Fame career, and I know he can still get it done and heís put it on tape this year. I know they havenít totally found their rhythm offensively, but thereís times where they can heat up and if you donít make Eli uncomfortable and get their rhythm off, he still has the capability of being Eli, making every single throw and putting up a lot of points and a lot of yards. Weíre one hundred percent preparing for him. Youíve always got to be ready for someone else to come in every week whether itís injury or what, but weíre definitely preparing for Eli.
Q: What has Richard Sherman brought for you guys on the back end?
A: Really just his veteran leadership, his consistency and the fact that heís been out there, heís played a lot of football and heís played it at a very high level. Heís played in a scheme extremely similar to ours his entire career. Weíve got a bunch of younger guys back there in the secondary who have played a little bit but not very much, so itís nice to have a guy out there who has that experience who they can bounce things off of and not only just experience him playing, but experiencing the scheme. Thereís not many plays that he hasnít seen that have been problem plays for us that heís had some time in his past, and itís always good to have a player you can bounce that stuff off to, not just a coach.
Q: So we wonít see Mullens play safety on Monday?
A: You never know, Iím not going to rule anything out but hopefully we donít have to get to that.