HEAD COACH KYLE SHANAHAN
POSTGAME VIDEO CONFERENCE
October 25, 2020
KS: Injuries, we had Jeff Wilson with an ankle, did not return. Deebo Samuel, hamstring, did not return. Richie James with an ankle, did not return. Go ahead.
Q: You couldn't have known to start the week off that Jeff Wilson was healthy enough to be your starter. When did you make that decision and why go with him at tailback?
KS: I mean, the plan was to rest Jed a little bit with how much he's gotten the last few weeks. We were going to go with Hasty or Jeff depending on their health. Jeff showed in practice he was healthy enough to go. Once he got cleared, it was a pretty easy decision.
Q: Can you explain how great your defense played today, what you saw in Fred Warner's interception to help set that tone.
KS: It was a very impressive catch. Any time the ball is low like that, to get your fingers under it, not trap it, it's a hell of a deal. I thought we had a chance. Everyone ran off the field. Wasn't sure till I saw the scoreboard.
Very impressive play. D just played impressive the whole day. I thought special teams and offense did, too. It was an extremely physical game I thought by our team with all three of our phases. It was fun to watch.
Q: Over the last couple weeks, you had 37 rushing attempts. You talk about playing complementary football. Do you feel like you've reestablished the identity that you want the team to be?
KS: Well, yeah. I mean, how it's been the last two weeks is how we obviously hope every week is. But when you play defense the way our guys have been playing, we're running the ball like we have been, just how physical all our guys have been playing, every play it seems is like the last play for our guys.
I'm just very impressed with the character of our guys individually, which adds up collectively. Those guys play like it's their last play every down. When you can do that for an entire game, you play smart, don't turn it over, usually good things happen.
Q: With all the injuries you have on the defense, how impressed are you by all the backups that have come in and played to this level?
KS: Extremely impressed. Both those safeties to come in and have the game they did. Jamar Taylor, who wasn't here a few weeks ago. He was one of the tough guys to not keep ahold of. Had a hell of a camp with us. Great guy. Plays so hard.
Told him he'd probably be back when we ended up having to let him go. He did have his opportunity. Since he came in, he played unbelievable. Today, two picks, I thought it was huge.
Q: Any initial indications on the severity of the injuries to Wilson, Deebo and Richie James?
KS: Yeah. Jeff, word is high ankle sprain. That's what it looked like. I know he's hurting right now. Hopefully we'll get better news on that tomorrow. Not sounding great right now.
Deebo is a hamstring. You never know. Know it pulled on him on that run, which usually is some time. Hopefully the severity won't be too bad, he won't miss too much time.
Richie, I'm not sure what type of ankle injury it was. I didn't get any information on that. I know he wasn't able to go back in.
Q: You talked a little bit about maybe Jimmy had some extra energy going into this game. Given you're playing Belichick, did you have a little more umph in this win? Hey, this is going to be fun in this game?
KS: I mean, going against a good defense is always a challenge. I mean, always enjoy the challenge going against someone like Bill, how good he is, how good their team is.
No, I just got too much respect for him. Any time you can play well against a team coached by him, it means a lot. But it wasn't that tough from my perspective. I mean, the way our guys ran the ball, how hard they played. We weren't running runs blocking for three yards, get six. The way our O-line was playing, everybody, it's a pretty easy game for me to just sit back and watch our guys.
Q: When did you decide to make Jeff Wilson the starter? Was there something to the idea that you wanted to gash them more inside than maybe outside given what happened against the Rams?
KS: No. We decided once Raheem was out, we were hoping we could rest Jed some. Once we had the injuries, we knew on Monday if Jeff was healthy he was going to be starting that week. We weren't really sure of that until he got a lot more in practice on Thursday.
We knew we were going to go that direction. We were down to three left. We were able to rest Jed, only play him on third down, which is I think what helped him a lot going forward.
Q: Kyle Juszczyk, he had a couple of big blocks today. What did you see out of the fullback?
KS: He made some huge blocks, like he always does. Kyle, he is the best fullback in the game. I know not every team uses one, some use tight ends pretty similarly. Kyle has been huge for our team since he's been here. One of the best leaders we have on the team, one of the best players.
Not only just his blocking, but that catch he made I want to say in the fourth or late third, I think the snap was a little off, Jimmy had to let it go. To make that diving catch was great. Also had a couple runs that really helped us, too.
Q: The secondary the last two weeks, you haven't gotten the same pass-rushes last year with all those guys out, it seems the coverage has been blanketing. Is that a credit to Saleh being able to mix and match that coverage?
KS: Yeah, I mean, I think it's a credit to everyone. I think our corners have really stepped it up the last couple weeks when man coverage has been called. I think Jamar Taylor has done a great job in the slot stepping up for K'Waun.
I think we played a lot of zone coverage today, too, which our guys do a good job staying on top. I think our linebackers are unbelievable with zone coverage, with how much ground they cover. That's why Fred gets those picks, cues the quarterback so well. They got a very good feel for that. Our coverage has been very tight. Hopefully we keep getting better as we go forward.
Q: Two injuries to wide receivers, does that make you tap the brakes on a Dante Pettis trade? Is that less likely now?
KS: I mean, I don't think it was real likely before. Everyone talks about it, especially with the deadline coming up. I'm not sure, I think it's one week or 10 days or something.
I mean, that's always a big-time around know. I know Dante got mentioned a few days ago. We'll see if there's anything that comes up that helps our team. If it doesn't, I know Dante can help or team being on it, too. We'll look into those injuries tomorrow and keep playing out all trade possibilities until the deadline is over.
Q: Without looking at the tape, it's hard to tell. Looked like Brandon Aiyuk was getting a lot of separation. How have you seen him progress in terms of getting separation since the start of the year?
KS: I think he gets better each week. Number of times that we went to him, I thought he did a good job on. I know one time, third down, he ended up running a double move, could have been a walk-in touchdown possibly. He was like number two in progression. We had another guy open.
But I was impressed with him. We'll see on the tape what happens more. Really counted on him to break up the pass at the end of the second quarter to take a shot so Jimmy doesn't have to take that pick.
I love how hard he ran with the ball, competing in the run game. We're putting some pressure on him. He's taking it and trying to get better each week at it.
QUARTERBACK JIMMY GAROPPOLO
POSTGAME VIDEO CONFERENCE
October 25, 2020
Q: Now that it's over, can you tell us what this week meant to you, also to get a win there in your first trip back?
JG: Yeah, it was a cool week. Just a lot of emotions, a lot of memories. Especially coming back here, seeing the same stadium, hearing the same songs they used to play, a lot of memories came back. A lot of emotions out there. But it was a fun night.
Q: Kyle this weekend emphasized the need to take out a team when you have the initiative, something maybe you didn't do in the second half against the Rams. Was that emphasized today, something in the back of your mind, keep pressing the accelerator on this team?
JG: That's always in our mindset, especially offensively. When we got them down, we got to keep them down, don't want to give them any chance to breathe. I thought we did that tonight.
The O-line set the tempo up front. The backs ran hard. Started from the first snap and carried its way throughout the whole game.
Q: We know Bill tries to take away the best offensive weapon. What did you see him doing today? How did you counter that with what he was doing?
JG: They were mixing it up a lot. They mixed in the zone, they mixed in the man, gave us some different fronts we weren't expecting. I thought our guys handled it really well. The coaches on the sideline, the adjustments we had to make, whatever it was, the communication was real clean tonight. I think it transferred down the field. It showed.
Q: The last two weeks have been similar in that the defense has allowed you guys to stick with the running game, you don't have to sling it all around. Very few starters left on defense. They look a lot like the 2019 defense.
JG: Yeah, that group, you can't say enough about them. It starts with the D-line. Those guys get after the quarterback, especially when we get them a little lead like that. Just let the dogs loose. It just carries out. Guys making plays. Four turnovers today. Whenever you can do something like that as a defense, it helps the whole team.
I think we played great complementary football. Yeah, that's a great recipe for a win.
Q: You guys are a confident bunch, but did you ever think you would come to New England and deliver Bill Belichick his worse loss as a coach there?
JG: It really was never in my mind. I obviously wanted to come here and get a win. To me it didn't matter if we won by 1 or 100. It was go and get the win. That was the mindset we had this week. Same mindset we had last week. Just got to keep that mindset the rest of the season.
Q: Looking at the season now, you lose two in a row, now you've won two in a row. You look healthier. What is the vibe team-wise going into Seattle this coming weekend?
JG: We're in a good spot right now. We're playing well, all three phases. We're playing together. I think it's just a mindset that we have as a group. You could feel it, felt it in the locker room today from the guys, felt it all week in practice.
It's a good feeling when you're in that groove. We just got to keep this thing going, keep stacking 'em.
Q: Why aren't you wearing the victory chain anymore? How does it feel to have that type of performance back at the team where you were drafted?
JG: I gave the victory chain to the running backs. Those guys earned it tonight. All of them. They were playing their ass off, running hard, getting those extra dirty yards. Kind of the staple of our team.
I don't know, it was an exciting night, a lot of emotions. Couldn't imagine it going any better than this.
Q: You mentioned communication was real clean. I take it that means that Grasu had a nice game. How do you think he did in his second start of the season?
JG: Hroniss did a great job. He really did. Like I said before, they gave us some looks we weren't really planning for, expecting. The communication between all those guys up front with the tight ends getting it all figured out. Thought he did a great job. When those guys play that well up front, it sets the tone for everyone offensively and defensively for the rest of the game.
That's where it starts. That's our team.
Brandon Aiyuk, WR
(On the play of Jeff Wilson Jr.)
"Every time you put the ball in his hands, we just love when he gets the ball and watch what he does."
(On his first 100-yard game)
"Like I said earlier, just being in the spots I am supposed to be in and where Jimmy [Garoppolo] is expecting me to be and the ball came to me when I did that. Obviously, it is exciting to have your first 100-yard game, but there is still a lot more to improve on and a lot more to build on."
(On how the team has been playing the last couple of weeks)
"I think these past couple of weeks is the type of football we know and that we should have been playing. It definitely gives us confidence but we know we are supposed to play like this. We just need to keep on working to continue to play like this."
(On how Garoppolo played in today's game)
"Just complete poise, but still you could feel the excitement and you could feel the energy bouncing off of him. More than anything just poise, we all felt that and we all felt everything he was giving off. It was exciting and it was fun to see him be the way he was and just having fun playing football. He played a great game."
(On the difference of the team's play over the last two weeks)
"I think that it is the energy that goes around, obviously weeks back we knew the energy had to be picked up and the urgency had to be picked up. Just throughout the week, I felt like the urgency was there and it continued on to today."
George Kittle, TE
(On if he is surprised the defense was able to perform at this level despite the injuries)
"No. The way that our defense goes at it every single day at practice, the way that our coaches prepare them, and the extra work that they put in, I expect that no matter who is out there. That is just our defense. That is just our mindset. We have a lot of guys out there that make a lot of plays."
(On if Kyle Shanahan had a special offensive mindset going into this game)
"Yes and no. I feel like we have that mindset every single week. Kyle always brings it. That is what I love about him. He definitely was on a hot streak tonight. He was calling play after play that they could not stop. I love seeing that. I love being a part of that. I think everyone was fired up for this game. It was our team's first experience here in New England. We were just all fired up to play. It was great football weather, it was perfect. That is just what you dream for. Now you get to come into this house and put some points on those boys. It was really fun for us."
(On Jeff Wilson Jr.)
"Jeff Wilson goes to a dark place before every single game. It is different than it is in practice. You can tell he is angry. He attacks it. He wants contact, he deals contact. He delivers pain. It is awesome. You can just see it in his eyes. He is a totally different person, the way he runs. It is crazy. I love being on the field with Jeff Wilson. The way he carries the football, the way he makes people look at him after he is tackled. He is an absolute monster."
(On if he expected this result)
"Obviously it is the NFL, you never expect to blow someone out. You never expect that in the NFL. You expect every single game is going to be a tight, hard fought game. We had a good week of practice. Last week definitely helped just give guys a little bit of momentum, a little bit of confidence going into this week. We just played well. We are learning to play together better every single snap that we take, every single rep that we take every single practice. The more confidence that our guys have, the better we are going to be. I can say that a lot of our players are playing with a lot of confidence right now."
Emmanuel Moseley, CB
(On taking pride in their defensive performance despite the injuries)
"Taking pride a lot. We had guys down today. We had a lot of guys step up like T-Moore [Tavarius Moore] and Marcell Harris. A lot of guys stepped up, that is just the league and that is how we are on this team. They played great."
(On his interception)
"I just saw the guy running fast so I figured he was going to run the post. I see Cam Newton's arm going up like he was going to throw it. Then the guy tripped and the ball was sailing so I wanted to make sure I caught it first and then returned it."
(On how the running game helps the defense)
"It is big because they control the tempo. They are giving us breathers on the sidelines so we can go out there and give it our all when we go out there. So shout out to the offense for that."
Fred Warner, LB
(On if the defense has felt disrespected)
"Not really, honestly. I feel like all that noise outside the building is irrelevant in our building, especially to our group. We know exactly what we're capable of and we're just going to continue to work every single day, every single week to get better. We're not worried about that outside noise at all."
(On how the defense continues to deliver strong performances with so many players out)
"I think it obviously starts with [defensive coordinator Robert] Saleh, the way that he play-calls and gets us ready throughout the week, all the coaches. You've got to give the credit to all these guys who are stepping up. You have T-Moore [Tarvarius Moore] and Marcell Harris coming in at safety this week on short notice and they come in and they play big roles for us and ball out. Our guys who have still been in the lineup, we take great pride in being out there and trying to keep the defense steady. I can't say enough good things about how our front is playing, even with guys down. Guys in the back end playing solid coverage like you said. We've just got to get back to work, keep it going."
(On if he feels that the Week 5 game against the Dolphins lit a spark with the team)
"Absolutely. We've actually talked about it a little bit. I think that's just what we needed, that wake-up call to really spark a fire underneath us and get that sense of urgency back because we know what we're capable of. That wasn't who we were that week and obviously we've been able to put back-to-back performances on where we played dominant defense so we've just got to keep it going, stay humble and put our nose to the grindstone once again."
(On how the offense running the ball well impacts the defense)
"Oh, 100 percent. We're on the sideline and you've got guys like Jeff Wilson, who I can't say enough good things about, just his mindset, the way he runs the ball. And the rest of the backs, I think we have the best backs in the league and we use all of them. Having some young guys step up as well, that O-line doesn't get talked about enough, making the lanes for them. As a defense, we for sure feed off of that and we get a little bit of extra rest so we can go out there and fly around like we do. I love watching them get after it."
(On his interception and what it meant at that point in the game)
"We just came out and they ran, I guess you call it a drift by the receiver, and it ended up turning into an over route when I was trying to carry him and Cam [Newton] made a bad throw and I came up with it. That's a total defensive effort right there. God is so good, I can't do anything without Him and I'm just thankful to be able to get that one and try to spark the team a little bit. But the entire team as a whole, getting those turnovers were huge for us today."
(On his first impression of JaMycal Hasty in camp)
"I talked about it, JaMycal, just the way he came in, nobody really knew about him, we already had a bunch of backs in the system and he didn't care. He came in and he balled out. Like you said, he showed that quickness early on and we all were talking about it in the locker room and he's obviously continued to get better and better just because of the way he works. It's been great to see and so obviously I'm very happy for him and the success that he's having, he's going to continue to get opportunities and I'm sure he's going to make the most of them."
(On if he agrees with George Kittle saying the team is filled with a bunch of psychopaths)
"Yeah, psychopaths is a great word I guess to use. We all for sure have a little something off. Kyle [Shanahan] kind of talks about that where when you've got guys who have a little something off and then you go out there and just impose your will on your opponent, you see the result. That just takes all three phases, playing complementary football and executing at a high level. So that's why you saw the result you saw today."
Trent Williams, T
(On the increase of rushing attempts)
"I think that has always been the identity of Kyle's [Shanahan] offense. It is a run the ball first and balance it out and you do a lot off of the play-action. Our offense doesn't go unless you run the ball. It is something that is very important to us and we work a ton at it. In the last few weeks we have been hitting our grove."
(On the play of Hroniss Grasu)
"Hroniss is a talented player and a good player. He adds depth to that room and we knew once we got him that he can go out and contribute right away. I think he showed that today and I think he is a very smart guy he knows game plans and he knows schemes. It was literally no drop off when it comes to communication. I am proud of him and I am glad he took advantage of his opportunity."
(On concern of his ankle)
"I don't know if the coach had any doubt or if anybody else did, but for me it was never a doubt in my mind I was going to suit up today on not. If I made it to this stadium I was going to play. It definitely does help when you're going forward and you're not pass protecting 30-40 times a game. Obviously as lineman, we like to be physical and we like to set the line of scrimmage and Kyle allowed us to do that. I think that is a big contributor to our success on offense."
(On coming into New England and getting a win)
"I mean the guys were excited, and it was well deserved. I am thrilled and to come into a storied stadium with a ton of championship banners hanging, and the most decorated coach of all time, on the other sideline. To come and dominate like we did, I think it says a lot about our preparation, it says a lot about the character of the guys we have on this team and says a lot about our head coach."