Kyle Shanahan loves what he saw from Randy Gregory debut

Oct 19, 2023, 8:50 AM | Updated: 10:41 am

Randy Gregory #5 of the San Francisco 49ers sacks PJ Walker #10 of the Cleveland Browns during the ...

Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Week 6’s loss to the Cleveland Browns was a bad one for the 49ers, there’s no way of sugarcoating it. But there were a few silver linings for Kyle Shanahan, including new pass rusher Randy Gregory.

The San Francisco 49ers head coach was pleased with his new defensive end’s debut Sunday. Acquired on the Friday before Week 5 from the Denver Broncos, Gregory was only featured in 26 snaps for his new ball club in Week 6 but was effective nonetheless. Gregory finished with a sack, two tackles for loss and three quarterback hits against the Browns.

And while it’s only one performance in a losing effort, the coaching staff was still impressed.

β€œI thought it was a positive one just getting out there. He has been in our scheme for two and a half practices up to that moment. To be able to get in there and make some plays, get in the sack and the TFL. I loved his length out there. I love what we saw,” Shanahan said Monday about Gregory.

The 30-year-old pass rusher has had little time to adapt to the 49ers’ style of play. Thankfully, he’s a quick learner, spending meetings and practices going through technique with defensive line coach Kris Kocurek.

Coach Kris has turned the former outcast into blue-chip players in the trenches, with Samson Ebukam and Charles Omenihu some of his latest works. San Francisco hopes he can do the same with Gregory, turning the clock back after an 11-game tenure in Mile High was bugged down by injuries.

“I think the more he gets with us, the more he practices, the more he understands our scheme, the better he’ll get,” Shanahan added.

The player also felt good after his first game with the 49ers, crediting his counterparts for the part they played on his sack.

Gregory ran a stunt on that play, loping inside to avoid Browns left tackle Jedrick Wills. Using teammate Javon Hargrave as the front man, Gregory was able to get leverage on both Wills and left guard Michael Dunn, shoving the latter aside before hitting quarterback P.J. Walker in the backfield.

The pass rusher used Hargrave once more in the fourth quarter, using a double block on his teammate to overpower his matchup and crashing on Walker mid-throw to force an incompletion.

It’s plays like that that make Randy Gregory thrilled to be a part of the Red & Gold, and thankful for the help across the line of scrimmage.

β€œIt feels good,” Gregory said after the game about his sack. β€œI give all the props to Hargrave, [he] ran a good stunt and opened it up for me. I just want to fit in where I can. We’ve got a lot of guys who can make plays, so I’m not pressed to make plays.”

But while the player isn’t pressed to make plays, the 49ers hope he can do more than for the rest of the season.

Since Week 1’s win in Pittsburgh, the combination of DEs Drake Jackson and Clelin Ferrell have only two QB hits and zero sacks to their names. The duo’s lack of disruption may be what prompted general manager John Lynch to make the move for the low-risk Gregory. His first action on the field also promotes that theory, out-snapping Jackson by four plays Sunday.

Regardless, the player is here to do his part for the 49ers, looking to fill in wherever needed on the defensive line.

β€œI came in and told them from the [start], I don’t expect anything.” Randy Gregory said. β€œI just want to win and help where I can.”

Upcoming San Francisco 49ers Schedule

  • Monday, October 23rd @ Minnesota Vikings – 5:15 PM PST
  • Sunday, October 29th vs. Cincinnati Bengals – 1:25 PM PST
  • Sunday, November 12th @ Jacksonville Jaguars – 10:00 AM PST
  • Sunday, November 19th vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers- 1:05 PM PST
  • Thursday, November 23rd @ Seattle Seahawks – 5:20 PM PST

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Kyle Shanahan loves what he saw from Randy Gregory debut