San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan wants his players to go straight to the line, but he doesn’t want that. footboard it is.
In response to an exchange of punches between Niners players — most notably linebacker Fred Warner and wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk — in practice on Tuesday, Shanahan made it clear Friday that he wants his players to be tough, physical, and even “annoying.” “but he doesn’t want them to throw up their hands.
“I want everyone to challenge each other,” Shanahan said Friday via the team’s transcript. “I don’t care how much crap they say about each other. I don’t care how close they are to a fight. They can do whatever they want to move and be as intense as they want and get the best out of each other. which often happens this way. And it’s the same on the field, but as soon as you hit, you get thrown out or you get a penalty. And we pride ourselves on the fact that I want people to be annoying. I want people to get as close as possible to all of this. I want people to be right on the line where they’re about to pass out. But you can’t pass out in football or you’ll cost your team, but I love doing that to other people.”
Much of the discourse on Tuesday came from Warner, admittedly trying to push Aiyuk. When Aiyuk stood up for himself, it eventually led to a fight.
Shanahan didn’t mind Aiyuk standing his ground.
“Definitely, I understood what he was against, so it didn’t bother me,” Shanahan said.
Essentially, Shanahan wants his players to push their fitness, themselves, and their opponents to their limits, but not over them.
Football fights end in penalties and knocked-out arms, so it’s best to overwhelm your dukes.
“I love its intensity,” Shanahan said. “I don’t think you have to fight to be tense. Fights are fights, but then they lead to other things. I think that’s why we have a guy on the record, because we took an unnecessary shot at someone, which led to a big fight. And then we had a bunch of mowers and things thrown in there that would only break hands. I think our team is pretty strong. I think we are pretty physical. I think if most people were probably the most physical team on film last year, I think we would have scored most of it. And we didn’t fight a single fight last year, so I don’t think it’s all about resilience.”
While Warner and Aiyuk clashed in a showdown that turned Donnybrook on offense and defense on Tuesday, it came after Warner landed a questionable hit on wide receiver Marcus Johnson. Johnson is now on concussion protocol, which Shanahan cites in connection with brawls that led to “other things.”
So, after the 49ers hit the headlines this week and inflicted a few wounds on themselves, Shanahan got his message across: keep the intensity high and keep your hands down.
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