Defensive Coordinator DeMeco Ryans Press Conference

Defensive Coordinator DeMeco Ryans

Press Conference – August 26, 2021

San Francisco 49ers

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Can you have DL Dee Ford out there with a couple of other guys? It appears you have options to get creative with your pass rushing? What does that do for the defense?
“I mean, having Dee and [DL] Arden [Key] and [DL Nick] Bosa and [DL] Samson [Ebukam], having all those guys available we can do a lot of things. All those guys are very talented and you have unlimited option with what you can do with all those guys. All of them are really great talents. All of them are awesome at rushing the passer. And we just want to utilize guys to their best ability. We want to be able to utilize them, utilize their strengths, to help us win games.”

After two practices with Bosa out there in team reps, how does he look? How does he feel?

“Yeah, Bosa, he looked fine out there and I was happy to see him back out there, just get him into the flow of things. The biggest thing always coming off of an injury, is just the mental hurdle of taking a hit and hitting the ground and getting up and dusting yourself off and understanding that, ‘Oh, everything is still intact. I’m still okay.’ It’s back to football. So, I think he got a little bit of that yesterday with his first day back and again today. So, I see him just continuing to progress. But physically, I think he’s fine. It’ll just be the mental hurdle of getting over it. And I see him progressing really well in the area.”

Do you want or need to see him play in a preseason game on Sunday?

“Whatever Bosa needs for him to be mentally ready for Week 1, I’m all for it. If it’s playing in a game or not, that’ll be up to [head] coach [Kyle Shanahan] and his decision, whatever Bosa needs, we know the type of player he is. He’s a great player. He means a lot to our defense, to our team. So, having him out there for Week 1, for me, is the most important thing.”

 When you were a player, what was your kind of preseason philosophy? Did you want to get out there and knock rust off?

“I guess when I was playing, we didn’t have philosophy. It was set. You’re playing. Starters are playing 15 plays the first game, a half the second game, you’re playing a half in the first series of third game. And typically, you didn’t suit for the fourth game. So that was always the standard from when I first came into the NFL. Now it’s changed a little bit. It’s changed a lot, where coach’s philosophy has changed as far as playing guys, not playing guys. At the end of the day, you want to make sure that guys are getting really good work. I think you do that more with all of the joint practices that are now in the NFL. I think that helps guys get good competition. And with the preseason, you really want to see the young guys. You kind of know where your veterans are. You know what they can do for you. So, you kind of want to see the battle between the young guys and see who can rise to the occasion.”

What kind of camp has LB Marcell Harris had and what can he gain from getting those first team reps this late in the process?

“Marcell has grown. I think every day Marcell has grown and he’s becoming better at having a really good feel of playing at that second level at the linebacker spot. It seemed like a play he made yesterday, just him feeling the D-Line and playing off of the D-Line. I see him developing and transitioning into being able to help us there at that linebacker spot. So, Marcell, like I said before, he’s a playmaker, wherever he is on the field, you know he’s going to always be around the ball. He’s going to find a way to get the ball out. And I’m just excited with his growth process at the linebacker position.”

Do you view him as a guy who will exclusively be a linebacker? But if he’s around, could he also still help you at safety? And how much does that help?

“Whatever we need from Marcell. I think he’s been spending most of his time exclusively at linebacker. But like I said, when you have a playmaker of his caliber, you just need to find a way to get him on the field so he can help us with.”

What is CB Jason Verrett dealing with?

“Oh, you have to talk to Kyle about that tomorrow.”

Defensive passing game specialist/secondary coach Cory Undlin said at the start of camp with the rookies, you were just trying to get their feet wet and not throw too much at them. So, you weren’t putting DB Deommodore Lenoir in the slot, but it’s looked like he’s worked there a little more. What are you seeing from him in that position?

“Yeah, we started him there yesterday and his head is spinning a little bit, but he’s handled it really well. He’s eager. One thing I like about him, he’s eager to learn, he’s eager to grow. So, when you have that type of mindset, you’ll get better at anything you do. If you have the right mind for it. So, he’s been fine in there. He’s not out of place. I can tell you that. He’s done a good job with the reps that he’s been given and he’s made a few plays in the backfield. So, he’s done a really good job there at the slot position.”

When you guys prepared for the New Orleans Saints in recent years, how much extra work, extra worry did having QB Taysom Hill as a possibility to come in give you guys preparing for that offense?

“Yeah preparing against those guys, it was always big time. You know Taysom Hill is coming in. You know you’re getting zone read. You know the quarterback run. All the plays you can get, you have to prepare for it. So, it’s tough preparing for it when you haven’t seen it all year. And I think that’s the value that we have now of going against Trey and the problems our offense presents us with the quarterback run stuff. It’s been really great work defensively. I can’t tell you how much that helps us being able to go back and study it and see where we can get better, things we’ve done well, things we’ve done not so well, things we need to tweak as far as how we fit in our philosophy for fitting the zone read. So, it’s been really valuable work going against our offense.”

Where do you think the defense is right now? Are you feeling good just generally about it?

“I’m feeling really good about where we are. All of our guys, I just love the way they come to work every day. These guys are out here. This probably was our best practice today. And to be this far ahead in camp and it’s just both sides, defense and offense. I thought it was a very competitive practice on both sides. I just love the mentality of our defense. Guys are swarming to the ball. They’re doing everything we’re asking them to do. They’re playing fast, they’re playing aggressive and they’re playing for each other. They’re communicating really well. So, I couldn’t ask for our defense to be in a better space than they’re in now.”

I know we always reference 2019, but so much of that personality of that team and the defense, was the defensive line taking over practices. Do you see that happening?
“Yeah, I do see it happen with [DL Javon] Kinlaw back out there. [DL] DJ Jones, [DL] Arik [Armstead], Samson, Bosa, those guys always encourage them. They do a great job at it of reset the line of scrimmage. If they reset the line of scrimmage and the guys on our second level, we just play off of those guys. So, we allow them to attack and play aggressive and play physical. And they’ve done that this camp every day, they control the line of scrimmage.”