Q. On Sunday we saw a breakdown of fundamentals at the end of that game, the Dallas tight end not knowing the out-of-bounds rules and keeping his feet in bounds and the running back from San Francisco didn’t know to go down after 10 yards. How much of your preparation is in fundamentals? (Al Thompson)
SHANE STEICHEN: Yeah, it’s big. That’s one of the biggest things, one of our core values is fundamentals. We talk about it a lot. Obviously, you have to practice it, you have to preach it and then go execute it on Sundays.
Q. What makes 49ers Defensive Coordinator DeMeco Ryans’ defense so difficult to go against as an offensive coach? (John McMullen)
SHANE STEICHEN: I think just watching them over the past couple days, they’re very sound in what they do up front. It starts with [49ers DL Nick] Bosa and [49ers DL Arik] Armstead. Those guys are really good players. Bosa is an exceptional player. He has really good speed to power. They do a good job in their rush lanes collapsing the pocket, especially on 3rd down.
[49ers LB Fred] Warner and [49ers LB Dre] Greenlaw, really good players. I can’t say enough about Warner, just the way he plays within that scheme. You can tell he prepares the right way. He understands route combinations. He has incredible instincts to where the ball is. He understands line blocking schemes of when to shoot, go through the gaps.
Like I said, he plays within the scheme really well, but phenomenal instincts, and then on the back end, they’re really sound too. Just overall a really good, solid defense that we’ve got to be ready for.
Q. What kind of challenge is it when the best pass rusher on a team splits sides pretty much 50/50? (Jeff McLane)
SHANE STEICHEN: Yeah, no question. They do a good job of mixing him up right and left, so we have to have a plan for that and be aware of that, where he’s at at all times. He’s one of the best in the league doing it right now, so we’ve got to be ready.
Q. What was your reaction when you saw the play of 49ers LB Fred Warner carrying Cowboys WR CeeDee Lamb all the way up the field on that play? (Tim McManus)
SHANE STEICHEN: He’s an exceptional player. Like I said, he has great instincts. He can cover tight ends, receivers really good. Defensively they’re really good at tackling too. They don’t have a lot of missed tackles. They wrap up well. Just a really solid defense.
Q. RB Kenny Gainwell’s role has seemingly increased these last few weeks. The bulk of his catches this year have come in the last six weeks or so. What’s that a product of? (Ed Kracz)
SHANE STEICHEN: I think it’s just mixing those guys in, and obviously the more you play, I talk about this all the time, the more you play, the more you see, and the more you get comfortable with things, and [RB] Kenny [Gainwell] is running hard right now. The offensive line is doing a great job blocking for him, and he’s doing a really good job.
Q. We haven’t really seen that defense play a quarterback like Jalen Hurts this season except for week one, which is a long time ago. How do you try to figure out how they’re going to attack him? (Dave Zangaro)
SHANE STEICHEN: Like I said, we have to be ready for everything, how they’re going to play certain things in the run game, so we have to prepare the right way, give different looks in practice and walk-through of what we think we might get, all those different things, but I’m sure they’ll have a plan, and we have to be ready for it.
Q. Is that an advantage or disadvantage when you don’t really know what kind of looks they will give you against a QB run? (EJ Smith)
SHANE STEICHEN: I think you have to be ready for everything, to be honest. How they’re going to play that, we’ll see how they play it, and we have to adjust to it in the game.
Q. When you make that change and use RB Kenny Gainwell as a change-of-pace guy after RB Miles Sanders has maybe played the first three or four drives, what goes into that? Is that pre-planned when you go to Kenny? (Reuben Frank)
SHANE STEICHEN: I think it’s a feel thing, and [Running Backs/Assistant Head Coach] Jemal [Singleton], we talk about it throughout the week, just getting those guys rotated in and out, and all the stables of backs have been incredible. Kenny was running hard there and obviously he popped a big one at the end, popped another 3rd down run. He was running hard, and he played well, and so did [RB] Miles [Sanders].
Q. In half the games this year you guys have attempted a deep ball on the opening drive. Philosophically what’s the benefit in particular when you connect early in the game? (Zach Berman)
SHANE STEICHEN: Well, I think it depends on the looks. Sometimes that ball could have gone deep, it might not have, and they gave us a look to throw it deep, so we did.
I think when you can hit chunks early and especially, whether it’s early or late, when you create the explosive plays, your percentage of scoring points goes up, so that’s obviously one of our things is creating explosive plays, and that’s what we try to do every week.
Q. You guys went for 268, I think, on the ground. A lot of that is game planning, but in game as a play caller, what does that feel like when you’re running it and just keep going? (John McMullen)
SHANE STEICHEN: Yeah, it’s kind of what you said. Really when something is working you kind of stick with it, and the ground game was working there, and we stuck with it, and our offensive line was doing a heck of a job, the receivers, tight ends, backs. Everyone was playing hard, and it was working, so we kept going with it.
Q. What did you think of the environment Saturday night? (Ed Kracz)
SHANE STEICHEN: It was incredible. I can only imagine what it’s going to be on Sunday. I’m fired up for [Lincoln Financial Field] to be rocking, I know that.
Q. One of the loudest venues you’ve been in? (Ed Kracz)
SHANE STEICHEN: Oh, without a question. I think it’s one of the best venues, actually not one of, I think it is the best venue in the NFL, coming here and playing here. Shoot, the first time I was here was coaching here. I never got to play here because the divisions switched over. I never got to come into [Lincoln Financial Field] until I started coaching here, but obviously the first game I coached in here was incredible, and just to see the passion, the atmosphere that these fans have for this team, it’s incredible, so I’m excited for Sunday.
Q. When QB Jalen Hurts kept on the first zone read play, you guys ran with him, lost a yard. But did you see them after that point have to basically account for him? (Jeff McLane)
SHANE STEICHEN: I think you’ve always got to account for him in the run game. Any team that plays us knows that we have that in our arsenal, so they’ve got to be ready for it.
Q. Teams who have played them have had horrible records in their next game. People have attributed that to their physical play. Do you think there’s anything to that? (Jimmy Kempski)
SHANE STEICHEN: I think every week is a new week. I really do. I think you have to go into every game prepared for whatever they can throw at us, and offensively obviously we have to go out and execute and that’s the bottom line, execute and take care of the football.
Q. We talked about last week emphasizing the importance of doing what you guys do well. When putting a game plan together, how do you balance that versus figuring out what they do well on defense – (Bo Wulf)
SHANE STEICHEN: Yeah, it’s a little bit of both, but sure, if stuff fits that we do well, we want to do that and dress it up and do different things. But that’s the biggest thing is putting our guys in position to make plays.
Q. You talked about the environment; how impactful can that be on communication? You used to play in Kansas City a lot. (John McMullen)
SHANE STEICHEN: Oh, it’s huge, exactly. Being in Kansas City as a visiting opponent in there and how loud it gets and the communication with the play clock and all those things, and obviously if you have checks going on, it’s tough. It’s definitely an advantage.
Q. When you look at San Francisco 49ers S Talanoa Hufanga and San Francisco 49ers S Tashaun Gipson Jr. on the back end for them, how do they affect the passing game, and what have you seen from overall team? (Chris Franklin)
SHANE STEICHEN: Yeah, they’re really physical. Obviously [San Francisco 49ers S Talanoa Hufanga] 29 and [San Francisco 49ers S Tashaun Gipson Jr.] 31, they’re really good players. 29 has been really good all year. He’s good in the box. He’s good in the post. Gipson, I was with Gipson for one year in Cleveland in 2013, a veteran player. Both those guys are really solid. They can fly around. That whole defense is really good.
Q. I know much has changed since the game last year, but in watching that film, what stood out? (Zach Berman)
SHANE STEICHEN: I think we as a team being together, we’ve grown as a team, just like fundamentally, details more than anything, looking at little things that like I’m like, oh, shoot, we’ve done that better this year. So, I think just within the scheme of what we’re doing, the repetitions of what we’re doing and how we’re doing it and how we’re teaching it. Like I always say, the more you do it, the better you’re going to get at it, and I think the details of how we’re doing it is a lot better.
Q. Head Coach Nick Sirianni confirmed that WR A.J. Brown was dealing with something late in the game and maybe frustration, all receivers want to get the ball more. How has he been during the season when there have been weeks that he hasn’t gotten the ball as much? (Jeff McLane)
SHANE STEICHEN: He’s been awesome. This group is a selfless group. They know it could go to them 10 times in a game, they might get it four times in a game, but the bottom line is winning the football game, and these guys understand that, and where we’re at in the season right now, guys know what’s in front of us, and we have to go get it.
Q. How do you handle it when a lot of receivers want the ball and they express it? (Jeff McLane)
SHANE STEICHEN: You go talk to them and have those conversations with them, and then we go from there.
Q. Knowing him and being around top-end receivers, do you understand where he was coming from? (Tim McManus)
SHANE STEICHEN: Yeah, these guys, he’s the ultimate competitor, I mean the ultimate competitor. He’s passionate about the game. All the great players want the ball, and I don’t blame them. They’d better want the ball if they’re a great player, and he’s a great player. Same with [WR DeVonta Smith] Smitty and [TE] Dallas [Goedert] and [WR] Quez [Watkins] and [WR] Zach [Pascal] and the running backs. Everyone wants to get touches, too, but they all know at the end of the day it’s about winning football games.
Q. What did you make of RT Lane Johnson’s performance? (Dave Zangaro)
SHANE STEICHEN: He’s awesome. I can’t say enough about [RT] Lane [Johnson]. What he’s done all year has been tremendous, and then obviously coming back from that injury, the way he played, I can’t say enough good things about Lane.
Q. What dictates whether you go WR Zach Pascal or WR Quez Watkins in the slot? (Zach Berman)
SHANE STEICHEN: It’s just a game-by-game basis, what’s going on. Zach got some more reps there, and we have trust in all those guys, and Zach got a little more reps.
Q. Did you and Run Game Coordinator/ Offensive Line coach Jeff Stoutland kind of find yourself looking at Lane a little more just to make sure he was okay? (Reuben Frank)
SHANE STEICHEN: Yeah, you always do that when a guy is — just make sure he’s good, but he was phenomenal. He got through it great. He felt great so we’re excited about this Sunday.
Q. How much do you take away from last year’s game against them early in the season? How much do you take away from that film, granted the personnel is all different? (Chris Franklin)
SHANE STEICHEN: We look at it for sure, just like I’m sure they’re looking at it, and then we go from there. Nothing really more to say than that.