February 28, 2021

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49ers, Chiefs Preview Super Bowl LIV

10 min read
49ers, Chiefs Preview Super Bowl LIV

CB Richard Sherman on the key to defending Patrick Mahomes:

“I don’t think there’s any individual key to defending him. You’ve got to play good defense. You’ve got to contain the receivers. You’ve got to do your job. You’ve got to limit the big plays, but it’s easier said than done for sure.

“There’s a ton that makes him unique. He got the MVP last year for a reason. He throws a great deep ball. He trusts his receivers. He’s creative with how he gets the ball to them. They have an explosive offense. He’s tailor made for (Kansas City Chiefs head coach) Andy Reid’s system.”

Sherman on how the 49ers matchup with the Chiefs speed:

“I guess we match up well. This is a fast football league. There are a lot of teams with speed. There’s a lot of teams that have a tremendous amount of speed on the outside, on the inside. At the end of the day, you’ve got to go out there and execute your scheme regardless. You can go out there and face five receivers that a four-six forty-yard dash, and if you don’t execute your scheme, you can get run out of the building. So at the end of the day, we expect to go out there and do what we’ve done.”

TE George Kittle on Travis Kelce:

“I’ve been a fan of Travis Kelce since he’s been in the league. Watched his tape when I was in college. Watch his tape now. I get his games every single week so I can watch what he does. He’s definitely one of the best in the game at what he does, receiving, just finding open spots. I got to meet Travis last year when we played him at the Chiefs. Had a jersey exchange after the season and then I met him again in Atlanta during the Super Bowl. So we definitely know each other. He’s awesome. It’s going to be really fun to share a field with him again.”

Kittle on the 49ers offensive skill players willing to do whatever the coaches ask of them on gameday:

“It’s more just the beat of my own drum. If you put in the dirty work and do what you’re asked on every single play, whether it’s pass or run, the rest takes care of itself. Whether it’s yards, catches, touchdowns, whatever it is, if you just do what you’re supposed to do, you’re eventually going to get the ball and it will take care of itself.”

Kittle on Sherman’s impact on the team:

“Sherm’s the best. He’s such a leader. He talks to every single person in the locker room. He’s not one of those guys that sits in his locker space and just talks to guys around him. He’s always around. He wants to talk to everybody and he doesn’t really force knowledge on you. He’s definitely an open book. If you have questions for him, he’ll sit and talk football with you all day. That’s one thing that’s incredible about him. But he’s also a guy who supports guys and he’ll talk about other things if they have problems or anything like that. He’s just incredible. He knows how to read guys, and he definitely knows how to get the best out of each and every single person in this locker room.”

Defensive coordinator Robert Saleh on defending the Chiefs speed:

“It almost looks like they got their roster from the Olympic relay team and threw them all on the football field. Not to say they can’t run routes and catch either, because they can do that. They’re a special group and you can see why they’re there.

“They’re the fastest team by far. To try to compare it to another team would not do them justice, to be honest with you. But, anytime you have speed like that, it naturally will stress the defense.”

Saleh on what makes Mahomes such a unique quarterback to prepare for:

“One, his mobility is unique. His arm strength is ridiculous. He’s very, very accurate. But, what I don’t think people give him enough credit for is that he actually plays quarterback. There are a lot of people, there’s a lot of quarterbacks in this league that will say no to number one and then it just becomes street ball. He gets rid of the ball on time. He puts it where it needs to be. He hits a lot of throws in rhythm. And when he needs to take his shot, he knows how to buy time in the pocket and do it. So, he’s a superstar in every way you can possibly imagine and he’s going to be tough to deal with.”

DL Nick Bosa on the importance of pass rushing as a unit:

“Yeah, we’re back playing a mobile quarterback and one who could throw better than any we’ve faced. One of the biggest things is trying to keep him in the pocket and not let him escape when he wants to escape and make him uncomfortable.”

Bosa on the way Saleh prepares the defense each week:

“I think he just lays out the plan really well. From the start of the week to today, he tells you exactly what we need to do to beat them and it’s usually pretty accurate. So, he gives us our three keys and he gets, usually, gets the D-line out of the room so we can go do our thing with (defensive line coach) Kris (Kocurek). But he keeps us really in sync between units: D-line, linebackers, defensive backs are all in sync. We all know where each of us fits, so there’s no confusion. He makes everything pretty clear for us.”

WR Emmanuel Sanders on Garoppolo’s leadership:

“I love Jimmy. I swear I love Jimmy but I’m tired of talking about Jimmy. Jimmy is a baller. I’ve been saying it since day one. But that’s my boy, man, and Jimmy’s a baller and I keep saying it over and over and it’s the same questions. But, he’s a baller and I expect him to do what he’s got to do. Obviously, he threw the ball eight times last week, but at the same time, some people say you’ve got to stop the run. But it’s been plenty of times they say you’ve got to stop the run and next thing you know you open the passing game. I feel we can do that as well.”

Sanders on what Wes Welker is like as a coach:

“It’s cool because I played with Wes. That’s why I feel a little old. But I played with Wes and now he’s my coach. And man, he’s doing a good job. Obviously, I know a little bit more than the younger guys. But, what he’s doing with those young guys, it’s amazing. The way that he’s got (WR) Deebo Samuel playing. Deebo was already a player, but you’ve got some players that are great players, but you need a coach that can pull the greatness out of them. I think that’s a lot of credit to Wes and Kyle and how they have been able to pull the greatness out of Deebo, because we sit here and talk about him, he’s a rookie. And we don’t really talk about him like a rookie because he doesn’t play like a rookie. He plays like a grown man and that’s how it’s supposed to be. I’ve been enjoying just being in the room with Wes. And every now and then he’ll pull out some of his old clips to show the young guys, ‘Look, I might be saying this, but I’ve done this before, too,’ Don’t get it twisted.'”

Sanders on the skill players involvement in the run game:

“I think it’s a mindset. At the end of the day we’ve got a lot of guys who aren’t ‘me’ guys, it’s about let’s get the job done and let’s win. It’s more about ‘we’ than ‘me.’ And I’m one of those guys as well. And I think everybody is a part of it. You even look at (TE George) Kittle. Kittle is one of the best tight ends in the league, but everybody wants to talk about his blocking as well. So, I think it’s contagious around the building in terms of going out and doing your job. When you look at your best players and they’re doing it, I feel like everybody else will hop on board as well. So, it’s contagious.”

T Joe Staley on what makes the 49ers such an effective running team:

“Schematically, what we do offensively is really hard to defend. I think also just the mentality we have as any entire offense. It’s not just all on the offensive line, it’s not on the fullback, it’s not on the running back. It’s a complete team effort. I think the wide receivers really buying into really being run blockers and committing to that is huge. You don’t see that around the league. And they really understand that if they really commit and go all aboard in the run game, it’s going to open up things in the passing game. I think a lot of our skill players have no ego as far as stats go. They’re going to do whatever they can to give us the win. I think this last game, the game before that, too, was really indicative of that. You didn’t hear any complaining after the game. Obviously we’re going to the Super Bowl, it all worked out, but even during the game no one was complaining about no targets or anything like that. They were all fired up for the run we were able to do. So I think that’s a lot to do with it, just the mentality of everything.”

Staley on matching up with Frank Clark:

“I’m very familiar with Frank from his time in Seattle. He’s a hell of a player, a guy that plays with relentless effort the whole entire time. So he’s a huge challenge. I don’t really talk trash and guys really don’t talk trash much to me. It’s kind of a battle. We have mutual respect for each other. So it’s going to be a hell of a battle going against him on the biggest stage.”

DL DeForest Buckner on playing alongside his college teammate Arik Armstead:

“It’s been awesome. Coming in as a rookie already having one of my good friends and college roommates on the team already, who’s been in a similar position as me, getting drafted in the first round and being the team’s first pick the year before, and really helping me transition into the locker room and having a guy to really bounce ideas off of throughout the year. It’s been really beneficial for me, and it’s been fun, especially this year. All the hard times, we had a lot of good times at Oregon, and we went through a rough patch here the past couple of years. To finally have this year, everything happening the right way and getting here to the ‘big dance,’ it’s been a hell of a ride.”

Buckner on facing Mahomes:

“The whole thing is really just rushing coverage, you know what I mean. We all know (Kansas City Chiefs QB) Patrick Mahomes has an arm, and he’s one hell of a talent and he’s got speed on the outside that he can make those throws too. We just need to play really good coverage, limit the explosives and really do a good job rushing up front with containing him within the pocket and really bringing pressure early.”

LB Fred Warner on the challenge of covering Kelce:

“The dude is a receiving threat for sure. They like to put him in a lot of different positions to get him to catch the ball, and he knows what to do with it after he catches it. So I mean, he’s a mismatch for sure. You don’t really know who to put on him. You put a safety on him, he’s a bigger body. You put a linebacker on him, he’s shifty, he’s fast. So he’s going to be a challenge for us for sure.”

Warner on the challenges of facing Andy Reid’s offense:

“Oh, yeah, of course. Not just to myself, though, that’s just to the entire defense in general. I mean, he’s been doing it for a long time. I’m sure it’s evolved over the years, but the way he uses his weapons that he has, having one of the best quarterbacks in the game right now with the weapons he has around him, they’re able to do a lot of different things. That’s why I think you kind of see the success that they have. So, yeah, we’ll make sure we’re covering our bases.”


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