Every week during the regular season we get an opportunity to talk with the opposing head coach via conference call. This week it was San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan. I also scanned the Bay area media websites and the 49ers website, to see what else the 49ers players and coaches are saying about this week’s matchup with the Lions.
Here’s what they had to say:
1. Shanahan was the offensive coordinator in Atlanta a couple years ago when his Falcons squared off against the New England Patriots and then defensive coordinator Matt Patricia in the Super Bowl. Shanahan said part of his preparation for this week was going back and watching that game and going over his notes because there’s not a lot of tape on the Lions defense under Patricia’s scheme. New England won that Super Bowl 34-28, making a 25-point comeback.
2. 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo spent a number of years in New England with Patricia. He called Patricia a smart coach, and expects the Lions' defense to have a good plan against them. Garoppolo said there’s also a few things he can take away from what Patricia liked to do on defense in New England. That should be a good cat and mouse game to watch on Sunday.
Meet this weeks opponents, the San Francisco 49ers.
3. Ziggy Ansah has been one of the better pass rushers in the league when healthy, and him being in the lineup Sunday will make a difference on how San Francisco has to prepare on the edge. Ansah was a limited participant in Wednesday’s walkthrough practice with a shoulder injury.
4. The Lions drafted Auburn running back Kerryon Johnson in the second round to help boost their run game, and the rookie has shown some good things early on. When asked about Johnson, Shanahan said he was a big fan of his coming out of college, and loved watching him run. Detroit didn’t get a chance to work on the run game as much as they would have liked because of the score of Monday’s game, but Shanahan thinks they'll try and establish it more Sunday.
5. The 49ers started 0-9 last year in Shanahan’s first year as head coach. Patricia is 0-1, and there’s been a lot of doom and gloom talk this week in Detroit. Shanahan had some advice for Patricia.
“You just have to take your time and not overreact like everyone else will,” he said of his mindset in San Francisco after the rough start.
“You understand that’s part of the business, so I don’t fault anyone for doing that. I understand fans. I understand media. You understand everybody. But you have to keep everything in perspective and not get too caught up in that stuff.”
Shanahan said everyone goes through adversity during the year, and it’s just about having the right guys around and sticking to what you believe in.
6. Shanahan really seemed to like Detroit’s trio of receivers. He complimented Marvin Jones Jr.’s speed. He said Golden Tate plays the position like a running back. He said Kenny Golladay shows up on tape and is tough. He’s been hearing about Golladay over the last year, and said after watching him on tape he sees why.
7. Also consider Shanahan a big fan of Matthew Stafford. He expects to see Stafford's best Sunday coming off a uncharacteristic four-interception performance Monday night against the Jets.
“He’s made of the right stuff,” Shanahan said of Stafford.