The San Francisco 49ers are set to face the Washington Commanders as they look for their eighth-straight win. Here's what both teams had to say ahead of the Week 16 matchup:
Head coach Kyle Shanahan on what he thinks of the Washington Commanders in Week 16:
"Anyone who plays defense as well as they do and commits to running the ball, usually is a recipe to be in the playoffs. And they're number one in the league in time of possession. They're top four in yards. I think they're third on third down, they're top five in the least amount of explosives allowed. They're a top five defense and when you have that and you're able to stop the run without always having to play the run, it makes them real tough to go against. They don't give up big plays, they make everyone work for everything and then on the other side of the ball, they're controlling that clock, so usually when they take care of the ball, they win."
Shanahan on his relationship with his former team:
"I love (Commanders head coach) Ron Rivera, I think he's awesome. I respect the hell out of him. I love (Commanders general manager) Martin Mayhew. I think Martin's the man. I know those guys are really trying to do it the right way and I've been really impressed with what those two have done in there these last couple years and haven't got to see them on tape really until this week and I can see why they're where they're at. They're a good football team, and I respect the people in charge."
Defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans on Washington's run game:
"They've done a really good job of running the football, controlling the game. They're first in time of possession. They do a good job of just trying to stay on schedule that way, of protecting the football, running the football really well with two really good backs, a good offensive line, so it'll be a really good matchup for us and when it comes to the run game, probably the best run game we've seen since Atlanta, so it'll be a really good matchup for us."
Ryans on Washington quarterback Taylor Heinicke:
"Heinicke has done a really good job of just managing the game for them. I think here in this last game, you've seen him take a few more shots down field, so I would anticipate them trying that on us. Taking some more shots down field. They have a really good receiving core, I have a lot of respect for it. Those guys can go up and make plays on the ball, so we have our hands full, not only with the run game, but also with the receiving core. They're a really talented group of guys, so Heinicke can definitely push it down field and get the ball to those guys."
Ryans on the defense's mindset heading into Week 16:
"We didn't play our best in Seattle. There's a lot of things that we can do much better. If we want to go where we want to go, we have to play better on defense and guys understand that wasn't our best game, and if we want to be a great team and move on, we have to play better defense and guys got that message and they understand what we need to do. There's no take a breath, take a breather. There's none of that. There's no time to relax. It's actually a time to pick it up for everybody, for us."
Offensive line coach and run game coordinator Chris Foerster on the Commanders defensive line:
"Obviously their two interior players are outstanding. Their edge rushers are very good. This is a really good defensive football team. The stats are the stats, there are a lot of reasons for statistics, but when you get this far into a season, when a team is ranked high statistically, they're there for a reason. They've done a good job... This group defensively, you can see they're very sound in what they do schematically. They're very well coached. Their techniques are very good. They've got skilled players on that front four, five. They are outstanding players, talented and they reflect the toughness and mentality of their head coach. He's a tough-minded guy and they reflect that in how they play. When they come to tackle you, you know you're getting tackled. When you hit one of them, you know you hit one of them. It's a stout group. They bring it every single week and they present a great challenge for us up front on the offensive line."
Quarterback Brock Purdy on how he's feeling heading into the Saturday matchup:
"I feel a lot better compared to last week going into the game. Just compared to how I felt going into the game and then obviously having a good three days before doing anything of just rest and recovery, I feel a lot better."
Purdy on the team's mindset:
"I was like, 'man, there's something different about this place.' I could tell they (the veteran leaders) have one mission, everyone's hungry to win the whole thing and it hasn't changed."
Commanders head coach Ron Rivera on what impresses him about the 49ers defensive front:
"The biggest thing obviously is they've got speed, they can run and that's one thing that they do very well. It's not like they have a huge menu of things they do, but the things they do, they do very, very well. It's a big part of why they're so successful, what they do is they come in, the package is real tight and they attack."
Rivera on 49ers left tackle Trent Williams:
"It's the level of his play. It's continued to be as consistent as it was when he was playing here at his peak... When you watch him play, it reminds me of when we played against him back when I was in Carolina. That he's a big physical beast. The dude really is one of the better offensive linemen in the league. He really is. And he's continued that. I know he was hurt a little bit, but he's starting to round out into shape and he's a big part of their game. You watch him, he's got the quarterback's backside for the most part. I think part of the running game goes through him. And so the thing we've gotta do is we've gotta be able to at least get the stalemate, hold the point when he's blocking because if not, he'll get movement and he moves people."
Commanders quarterback Taylor Heinicke on how he's preparing to take on the 49ers defense:
"More of the same as I did this past week, just focus on my footwork. Try and put those offensive linemen in the best position they can be in. We have full confidence in those guys. They did a great job against Philly when we played them and they have a good front. It's a challenge for those guys but they're looking forward to it."
Commanders offensive coordinator Scott Turner on the 49ers defensive front:
"They're going to be coming after us. We've got to be physical, we've got to run the ball. We'll be able to take our shots when we get them. When they come up, the ball has got to come out of our hand, we've got to do a great job getting vertical when we get the ball, and every single yard is going to be at a premium because they don't give up a lot of them... They're fast, they're instinctual and they communicate well together. They're just really good players and they do their job well. They're not tricking you. They're just playing hard and playing well."