San Francisco 49ers Head Coach Kyle Shanahan and Special Teams Coordinator Richard Hightower talk with the media today about the upcoming game against the Los Angeles Rams this Sunday at Sofi Stadium.
When asked about the special teams unit integral to this past weekends win and how does that confidence play into the upcoming game this Sunday Hightower said, “Well, anytime you have a chance to play for the NFC Championship, it’s exciting. Obviously proud of the guys and what they did in that game. Coming out basically start with [DB] Jimmie Ward blocking that field goal before the half. That was outstanding effort by him, as well as [DL] Jordan Willis and [CB] Dontae Johnson. [WR] Deebo [Samuel] had some kickoff returns in there that helped us along with [RB JaMycal] Hasty. And I think the guys really feel good about that. I mean, Jordan Willis made maybe one of the biggest plays of his career. And I know a lot of the guys are saying it’s one of the biggest plays in 49er playoff history.”
Hightower added, “So I really am proud for him. I am excited for him. I’m excited that [S Talanoa Hufanga] Huff had a chance to scoop and score it there and having great awareness and then [K] Robbie [Gould] and [LS Taybor Pepper] Pep and [P] Mitch [Wishnowsky] being in there with great operation, along with the protection to kick that game-winning field goal. So the guys did a nice job swinging momentum. They did a good job there. They are fired up about it and they should be and we’re looking forward to playing in the NFC Championship and be excited. So it is just a testament to their resilience. It’s a testament to things that they’ve been through. I tell them all the time, everything may not go the way you want it, but you’ve got to keep pushing and keep fighting. And those are the type of guys that [general manager] John [Lynch] and [head coach] Kyle [Shanahan] have here. I think it speaks to the character of the men that we have in our locker room. And we just don’t want our season to end. So I hope that answers your question.”
Head Coach Kyle Shanahan when asked about the Rams pass rush since they acquired Los Angeles Rams OLB Von Miller and how has he kind of changed that dynamic and how has he even enhanced kind of what Aaron Donald is doing? Shananhan responded, “They were so good without Von, so I think it was the first time we got to play him, it was hard to even take that in because their rush was so good anyways. And then you add Von Miller and just watching him throughout the year, you can tell he keeps getting healthier.
“I know he was a little banged up when he came over from Denver. But you could tell he keeps getting healthier, is getting more comfortable and they’ve got as good of a group as I’ve ever seen. And to add Von Miller with the people they already have, with their scheme and everything, everyone saw it last week versus Tampa and that’s usually how it’s going to look. So hopefully you get them to play some other stuff and we can make it a different type game, but that’s what these guys are made for.”
The NFC Conference Championship is this Sunday, January 30 at Sofia Stadium in Los Angeles. Stay tuned for more interviews throughout the week.