SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS

Kyle Shanahan Preaches Improvement Across the Board Despite ‘Sloppy’ Performance in Houston

Aug 26, 2022, 3:05 PM | Updated: 4:03 pm

Kyle Shanahan of the San Francisco 49ers looks on during the second half of a preseason game agains...

HOUSTON, TEXAS - AUGUST 25: Kyle Shanahan of the San Francisco 49ers looks on during the second half of a preseason game against the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium on August 25, 2022 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)

(Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)

In case you missed it, the San Francisco 49ers did not close out the preseason on a positive note last night.

Suffering a shutout loss of 17-0 at the hands of the Houston Texans Thursday, the Red & Gold’s Prime Video debut can only be categorized by one word: Sloppy. Countless penalties and miscues left 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan with a sour taste from the preseason finale.

“I wouldn’t say it was quite as bad as it felt because it couldn’t have felt much worse,” Shanahan said via conference call Friday. “Anytime you get shut out and the team is that sloppy with all the penalties [it’s not a good thing]. But it wasn’t quite that bad when you looked at the tape…despite the situation or the game or anything like that when you commit that many penalties. You know we have some of the drops, some of the sloppy plays, the sacks….wasn’t good enough and we got to clean that stuff up and make some decisions this week to help it.”

And the coach is right, as Thursday’s game felt like a turnstile at Grand Central Terminal during rush hour. The backup offensive linemen were beaten constantly by the pass rush of the Texans, getting after the quarterback every single drive.

Don’t believe me? Take a look.

Good luck Trey Lance.

Nevertheless, Shanahan felt that the individual performances of his offensive line were better this week than in Minnesota. Specifically, second-year guard Aaron Banks who posted a 55 PFF rating Thursday, almost 10 points better than his play against the Vikings.

“I thought he had a better game this weekend than versus Minnesota. I know there’s definitely a couple [blocks] that he missed but I also thought, you know with a full offense there’s a couple [plays that we could have got rid of the ball a lot sooner. And there’s a couple the quarterback didn’t have a chance on. So as a whole, it wasn’t good enough. When you asked him in particular I thought he did improve on the week before,” Shanahan explained.

The head coach doubled down on this a few minutes later, saying all of the young linemen have a chance to contribute to the future of the 49ers, also citing injuries to C Daniel Brunskill and RT Mike McGlinchey as factors in the unit’s play.

“I really do believe in the ability they have and where they can go,” Shanahan said. “I do believe that the more they play the better they’ll get because they’re made of the right stuff and they have the ability to do it. But it does take time in this league. And we got a couple guys doing that right now that are showing up a lot. But they’ll get there and hopefully, we can have some good news as with Brunskill [and] McGlinchey so we get some guys back who have done it before and they can get us a little more help in areas.”

Brunskill has been dealing with a hamstring strain the last few weeks while McGlinchey is dealing with knee irritation. Both players could return for Week 1 in Chicago but it is unclear at this time.

Kyle Shanahan On The Running Backs

Moving to the running backs, Trey Sermon has been the man in question after being selected with a third-round pick in the 2021 draft. The former Ohio State Buckeye has put up pedestrian numbers through the three exhibition games but Shanahan still feels the young RB has made massive strides in year two.

“They didn’t have much opportunities and much room [to run],” Shanahan said regarding the running backs Thursday. “But Trey’s come a long way here this year. And he’s someone we can count on and it’s not just him, it’s the whole group. So all these guys I think are good enough to help us. We just have to figure out which direction we’re going to go.” 

With presumably three roster spots already taken, the fate of Sermon and two rookies Jordan Mason and Ty Davis-Price, will be decided by Tuesday’s 53-man roster deadline.

Trey Lance

As for the quarterback play, second-year prospect Trey Lance finished the night 7 for 11 with a measly 49 yards passing. Showing some good and bad things in Houston, Kyle Shanahan knows their quarterback phenom is still a work in progress, hoping he’s had enough game-time to go into the fire of regular season play.

“I would love to get Trey more practice and everything and more experience, so I would always want more of that, but we’ve run out of those games and he’s just ready to go as he can be,” Shanahan said. “He needs to get in these real games now and start playing and there’s going to be times he makes some mistakes and he has to learn from them and find a way to still win the game and overcome some of those things as he learns on the run. I’m glad he did get some experience in this preseason. Always wish he could have got more, but I am glad that he came out healthy this year, where last year he came out with that broken pinky that did affect him.”

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