The San Francisco 49ers are set to face the Philadelphia Eagles on the road as they look to earn a spot in Super Bowl LVII. Here's what both teams had to say ahead of the NFC Championship Game:
Head coach Kyle Shanahan on facing the Eagles:
"Seeing them across the league throughout the year and just watching a little bit that we've done here since last night, there's a reason that they've been the best in the league so far throughout this whole year on offense, defense and special teams."
Shanahan on Eagles linebacker Haason Reddick:
"It's hard to rush the quarterback in this league and he's gotten better each year and he's playing at the top of his game right now and he's always been a good player."
Shanahan on preparing quarterback Brock Purdy's silent count:
"I feel like we're good to go. He knows what to expect, he knows how we do it and we'll give him reps at it all week. He got it ready on just a Wednesday when he played Thursday, so I feel like it won't be an issue this week."
Shanahan on Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts:
"He's just gotten more consistent. You can see in that game, the ability that he has and what he was close to doing a number of times. He made some big throws in that game and we contained him fairly well, but I think we're up 17-3, with five minutes to go and then he started getting going again and they brought it right into a one score game so you could see the ability that he had real early on and I know towards the end of that year he started getting on a roll and that's why they ended up making the playoffs last year because of how good he got after that, but we could see signs of it in that game and now just watching him this year hearing about it, he is borderline NFL MVP and then turning the film on these last two days, he's just like how he was with potential and now he's doing it down in and down out."
Shanahan on the Eagles defense:
"It's just a sound defense. When you play sound defenses, there's not a lot of holes schematically. You try to put guys in position to beat their players and they've got pretty good players too. And on top of it, when you have a real good pass rush with a good backend, with all seven of those guys, it just combines for making everything more difficult and that's usually what you see this time of year. I think that's exactly how our defense is. And they'll come after you, they'll do what's needed to keep you off, but anytime you have a team that doesn't have to do that, because they can cover with good players, have seven guys versus four guys, to keep people to help with protection, then you have seven guys versus three guys. All that stuff becomes a factor and allows teams to be sounder, which makes it a lot harder to get big explosives."
Defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans on how Hurts has improved since last facing him in Week 2 of the 2021 season:
"Jalen is looking a lot more comfortable within the offense, and scheme wise, it seems like they've put in more concepts that he's more comfortable with and he has a really great command of the offense. He's decisive with where he's going with the ball and they surround him with a lot of playmakers, adding (Eagles wide receiver) A.J. Brown. He has a lot of playmakers around him, (Eagles wide receiver) DeVonta Smith, Brown, the backs, tight ends, they have a really good core of guys. He distributes the ball really well and those guys are really good after they catch the ball of making a guy miss and creating space and getting more yards after the catch. So, they've done a really good job of just tailoring the offense around Jalen and that's what makes him look more comfortable."
Ryans on defending the Eagles dynamic offense:
"We know the challenge that we have this week when guys have to go up and be able to make a play. They get opportunities when the ball is up, it's an opportunity for us to go up and make the play. That's how I view it, and when it comes to him scrambling around, that's all 11. It starts with our D-line being where they're supposed to be and guys who are responsible to go get the quarterback. We just have to do our job."
Ryans on the Eagles offensive line:
"Their offensive line is the strength of that team. You have two veteran guys there in (Eagles center Jason) Kelce and (Eagles tackle) Lane Johnson who've been together for a while and they anchor that line. They've done a really good job, very physical group, big offensive line, physical offensive line who tries to get after it and they're a really good team, but also our guys are good too, so it's going to be a physical matchup. We know we'll get their best, they're going to get our best as well."
Ryans on A.J. Brown:
"A.J., the first thing is his size and strength. That's the one thing that separates him from a lot of receivers, but not only that, when he catches the ball he turns it to a different gear. His run after catch, it's been pretty dynamic to watch this year, so that's where he separates, he's big where he can go down the field and make plays on the deep balls, but also he's just catching the five-yard routes and turning it up field and turning that into an explosive. That's where he's been really good this year."
Quarterback Brock Purdy on playing with a silent count:
"Everything in these kinds of games is all about communication. How can you operate smoothly, get in and out of the huddle, get the play off in the right way, make sure everyone's on the same page. That's definitely a big emphasis this week just at practice with the little things, the details of communicating and being on point. That starts with the cadence, so it's going to be huge for us."
Purdy on playing against Hurts in college:
"It was a great experience to go against Jalen and they had a great team, and he was making plays and I feel like we had to do the same to keep up and stay alive in that game as well, but this is a different situation, different scenario going into Sunday."
Wide receiver Deebo Samuel on playing in a loud atmosphere on the road:
"We know it's going to be loud, but no stadium is as loud as ours. At the end of the day, they're at home for the NFC Championship. They're going to be all riled up... We don't feed into all that too much. We put the pads on and just go to work."
Linebacker Fred Warner on defending a dual-threat quarterback like Hurts:
"You've got to be on your assignments for a full 60 minutes, which is way easier said than done. There are times in a game where you might be part of a long drive, guys get tired and all of a sudden the first thing that goes is your mind, you forget where you might need to fit in a certain play. But it's all about being detailed and everybody swarming to the ball, getting to the ball carrier if or when he does pull it."
Warner on his expectations for the contest:
"I expect it to be a battle all the way through. The Cowboys and Eagles are both physical and talented teams who are really fast and have a lot of talent. Just like it was a battle this past week, I'm expecting that, if not more, this week. Being in their home stadium, home crowd behind them, they're going to be juiced up and ready to go."
Warner on the mental game:
"This part of the year, in this game specifically, it's all mental. Obviously everybody's bodies are beaten down. Mentally you're drained, but who can do it right longer? Who can continue to push through for the end goal? Do you want it that bad? Are you starving for this? Is it something that you're going to get out of bed and do whatever possible to make sure that you attain that goal? So that's where we're at."
Defensive lineman Nick Bosa on his confidence heading into the NFC Championship Game:
"This team rises to the occasion of each next step that we take. I'm really confident in this squad."
Bosa on what's at stake:
"We've been tested a lot this year and I think this will be as big of a test as there is."
Tight end George Kittle on the magnitude of Sunday's game:
"This is what you dream about since you're a kid. You dream about it when you're in high school, college and when you're in the NFL you dream about situations like this. Whether it's a hunger, a starvation, a desperation, you do everything you can to make sure at the end of the game that you're going to win it."
Kittle on how the 49ers can be successful against the Eagles defense:
"Let's just come out to a hot start and get some points on the board so we're not playing from behind or having to make miracle plays at the end of the game."
Left tackle Trent Williams on the team's mindset at this point in the postseason:
"When you get this deep in the playoffs, it has to derive from a place of hunger because it's hard. Including preseason, it's been 20-some-odd weeks in and we're right at the end of it. It's tough, guys are banged up. This has been a long season but when you have the pinnacle of the game which is the Super Bowl dangling right in your face, I think the starvation to get there is what's going to push people through, what's going to push people to focus a little harder down the stretch, to treat their bodies right during the week, to be ready to go, to play into the whistle... Starvation has a lot to do with that. We're all starving to win. Everybody wants that ring."
Running back Christian McCaffrey on facing the Eagles defense:
"They've got a lot of really good players up front. The linebackers fly to the ball well, their secondary is talented and they pose a lot of challenges in a lot of different areas... For us, it's just about executing the play call. Kyle (Shanahan) knows all that stuff, he knows exactly where he wants to go with the ball and it's just up to us to be able to go out there, do it full speed and play beyond the X's and O's... There are challenges all over the field and it's going to be up to us to exploit them."
Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni on Purdy:
"He's a winner... That's what I notice with him, that he's a winner... A quarterback that can lead the way and find the right place to go with the football consistently, who's just a playmaker."
Sirianni on Shanahan:
"He's always been a guy that has a great reputation in the NFL, and he is a great offensive coordinator, a great offensive mind... I have a lot of respect for him and with him as a football coach."
Sirianni on DeMeco Ryans and the 49ers defense:
"I see his players genuinely selling out, and you can see their interactions in the game when you watch it on television. You see those guys playing really hard for him... They really recognize that that coach cares about them as a person. They really recognize that that coach is genuinely making them better.. These guys love to play for him. That speaks a lot to Coach Ryans, because obviously they have really good players, but he's gotten a lot out of those guys... This is a really well-coached football team, and we'll have to be on our stuff this week."
"Those two guys, and I have a lot of respect for them. Then they have good players all across the defensive line headlined by Nick Bosa and Arik Armstead. Their corners, they have Charvarius Ward that I thought was a really good player there last year as we were watching guys that were free agents. The safeties can really cause havoc in there. Then not to mention the offensive line that they have and the skill players that they have. They have unique skill players with Deebo, McCaffrey and Kittle. I really liked Brandon Aiyuk coming out of Arizona State. I remember thinking very highly of him. You can tell Kyle (Shanahan) does a good job of really coaching the details to the wide receivers. You see them running good routes, really detailed routes. So again, just going back to their coaches and how good they are, a lot of good playmakers on this football team. A lot of good playmakers on this football team offensively and defensively, and it's no surprise that they've won all these games in a row. They have good coaches, and they have good players... That's what the NFC Championship Game should be. It's going to be good-on-good, and it's going to be tight."
Sirianni on the matchup between the Eagles and 49ers physicality:
"I know that both teams are built the right way as far as their O-line, D-line... I know the 49ers, this is their third out of four years that they have made it to this game. That's pretty darn impressive in my opinion and so that's a great streak to have. Sure, we'd love to have that, but all we're really focusing on is this game at this time and knowing that we are playing a good football team and that we're a good football team."
Eagles defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon on if the 49ers are going to be a challenge:
"A big-time challenge... They're in the Final Four for a reason. They're very well coached and they have a lot of really good players. They do a good job. They put them in good situations, and they're multiple. They do some unique things with their guys because of their skill sets. Just like any game, we have to have a plan for that. But you start going through, start watching the tape, and then you look at the paperwork and talk to different people in our building about what do we need to do, this and that, and it just keeps coming back. It doesn't surprise me, this is the Final Four game, of course they're going to be good in every metric. Of course they've got really good players. I think they've got guys at their position that they're probably the best in the world at their position."
Gannon on what it's like game planning for the 49ers offense:
"Tough. They deploy Kittle different ways, and he does different things. They do a lot of different things with him. It's not just like they align him here and these are the couple things that he does. He does a lot of different things for them, and they use him accordingly like they do with Kyle Juszczyk, with McCaffrey, with Deebo, with Aiyuk. They use all those guys in different ways. It makes it hard to defend."
Eagles special teams coordinator Michael Clay on San Francisco's special teams:
"They're a very good unit. (49ers special teams coordinator Brian) Schneider does an unbelievable job. He's done an unbelievable job in his career... George Odum, I can't say enough good things about George Odum. He's an All-Pro special teams player, plays with great speed, tenacity, motor. Obviously, Robbie Gould, you don't kick in this league for a long time without being an ice-in-the-veins type guy. Mitch Wishnowsky, I could go on and on about their special teams unit."
Clay on Ray-Ray McCloud III:
"Ray-Ray has been in the league a few years, very explosive. He stretches the coverage, puts his foot in the ground and gets downhill. He tracks the ball really well off the punter's foot. He's not afraid of contact."
Eagles offensive coordinator Shane Steichen on San Francisco's defense:
"They're very sound in what they do up front. It starts with Bosa and 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 third down. Warner and 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. He plays within the scheme really well, but phenomenal instincts. 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."
Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts on Purdy:
"I have a lot of respect for him. He's always been a really good player, has a lot of moxie, makes plays and he's been doing that since college. surprise to me that when he was given this opportunity to see the success he's having now."
Eagles defensive end Josh Sweat on Philadelphia's goal against the 49ers offense:
"First and foremost, stop the run. We know they're good at it and they're going to be physical. Then we want to rush the quarterback. That's what we do very well. But we know they have a great offense and they throw a lot of things at you. There is a lot to think about, so we just have to focus on our jobs and go out and play our best football."
Eagles wide receiver A.J. Brown on facing San Francisco in the NFC Championship Game:
"I have a lot of respect for the 49ers, but I think we're really good too. We've grown together all season and we like the way we're playing. There is always room for improvement. We know that. We know we have to be at the top of our game on Sunday and I think that's a challenge that everyone accepts and embraces."