The San Francisco 49ers‘ winning streak over the Los Angeles Rams has started to prompt questions for both teams.
San Francisco has won the last six meetings against Rams head coach Sean McVay. There’s a myriad of reasons why the Niners have won six straight, but one that is often floated by pundits and fans is that 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan simply has McVay’s number.
For McVay, that sentiment came to a head before the NFC Championship game when he was straight-up asked if Shanahan was in his head during his January 26 press conference. The answer was simple and concise: “No.”
The topic was then brought to Shanahan on Thursday. The 49ers head coach openly commented on the idea, and when asked if he got any joy out of McVay being asked the question, he gave his own resounding “no.”
“Not really,” Shanahan said. “I think that’s kind of silly… I think a question like that is giving Sean and myself way too much credit. We’re coaches. Watch what’s going on out on that field and some of the players out there and the people that are competing and to think that it’s about Sean and I… I know that he doesn’t feel that way and he knows that I don’t feel that way.”
Shanahan shut the book on any drama or back-and-forth, which was to be expected based on his personality and growing through the coaching ranks alongside McVay.
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Shanahan Sounds Off on Garoppolo Conversation
The debate surrounding 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo has continued to rage this week, with names like Mina Kimes, Stephen A. Smith and former Niners QB Alex Smith have all dropped their two cents. Names like Kimes have criticized Jimmy G for his recent performances, while Smith has backed him.
Shanahan was asked about the conversation in Thursday’s presser, and didn’t hesitate to reiterate his support for the 29-year-old QB.
“Jimmy is one of the main reasons we’re here,” Shanahan said. “He’s done an unbelievable job and people don’t give him enough credit. We win as a team, and that’s why he doesn’t always have the same stats as the MVP candidates.”
It’s interesting that Shanahan credits the 49ers’ play style as part of the reason for Garoppolo’s numbers. And when Shanahan was asked if the conversation has any weight in the locker room or in Garoppolo’s head, he related to the QB.
“Jimmy’s a very good quarterback and he doesn’t worry about any of that stuff. He doesn’t worry about social media. That’s why he’s a little similar to me and doesn’t have much an idea about that stuff and he never really changes, and that’s what people respect the most about of him.”
Shanahan Addresses Respect for Another 49er
Besides speaking on Garoppolo and the conversation surrounding him, Shanahan also had a few words to say about defensive lineman Arik Armstead.
Anyone watching the 49ers over the past few weeks knows that Armstead has turned up in a big way. In three win-or-go-home games, Armstead has 5.5 sacks, which compared to his 3.5 sacks in the 15 games before that is a serious step up.
It’s been welcome, but also something Shanahan pointed to when talking about the lack of respect Armstead gets.
“I think Arik is never fully appreciated enough,” Shanahan said. “He’s gotten some numbers, which helps him get appreciated a little bit more. But I don’t think people realize how important Arik is to our d-line… What he does for us, even when the numbers aren’t there, offenses have to, you just can’t not worry about Arik Armstead.”