Defensive Coordinator DeMeco Ryans Press Conference

Defensive Coordinator DeMeco Ryans
Press Conference – October 7, 2021
San Francisco 49ers
Listen to Audio I Media Center

CB Josh Norman was out of that blue Jersey today. How is he feeling and how has he looked at practice this week?
“Yeah, he’s still progressing, going through to get ready. He still has a few important days coming up here. We’ll see how it goes. See where he is for the game.”

You’ve studied Arizona Cardinals QB Kyler Murray enough over the last couple of years, do you notice anything different what he’s doing this year to get that completion percentage in the passing game?
“I think it’s still a similar, same offense where the ball is coming out quick. You have the quick throws and the biggest thing, I think they added a lot of playmakers around him. Where he can get the ball out quick on screens, running backs are running the ball well. So I think overall, schematically, they’re doing a good job of getting the ball in the playmakers hands and you’re not seeing Kyler try to do it all himself as he kind of did in the past, whether it’s trying to take off and run. He’s not running as much. He can still run. He’s still elusive. He’s still fast. One of the quickest, fastest quarterbacks I’ve ever seen, very talented guy, and they surrounded him with a lot of playmakers, which makes it a very difficult offense to defend.”

I appreciate DL Dee Ford’s injury history and I’m sure you have to be cautious with him. But he obviously looked very explosive on Sunday, but he only played 12 snaps. How do you balance that and is the fact that he has a game where he just plays 12 snaps are you watching out for him and making sure he can get through a whole season?
“Yeah. Dee has done a great job for us. Dee has done a great job of getting after the quarterback and that’s what Dee does really well. And he’s done it at a high level for a long time. So when it comes to snap counts or however that game dictates, each game is different. So whatever it dictates for his snap counts, he’s ready to go. He’s shown the explosion, the speed off the edge, and he’s been a playmaker for us. So, I’m happy with where Dee is.”

I guess when he is a playmaker and he does look explosive, why doesn’t he play more than 12 snaps?
“Yeah. That’s the role we have for him now and if it’s 12 snaps it’s not a set like Dee is only getting this amount of plays. However, the game dictates his reps go, that’s how it goes for him.”

LB Fred Warner talked about after Green Bay, everybody needing to be locked into their assignments and it seemed like that happened versus Seattle a little bit more. What was it that changed in that week between that got everybody refocused?
“I think it’s humbling when you watch the tape and you see Green Bay, they played us well. They did some really good things, but you also see the mistakes that were self-inflicted and it makes you sick to the stomach when you see those things. So, having an opportunity to just sit back and just look at it and really focus in on how we can get better from the mental part of just being on the same page. And I think all the guys, like Fred is correct. All the guys just looking at it and seeing like, ‘hey, it’s it won’t change. It’s about us.’ If we’re doing what we’re supposed to do and make teams earn every yard, make teams have to drive the field on us and we’ll see how good they are, but let’s not have, let’s not let the 49ers beat the 49ers. Let’s not have self-inflicting penalties or mental errors where we’re hurting ourselves. Let’s just be as crisp as possible and play our style football.”

As a linebacker, how hard is it when you see a quarterback break out of the pocket to stay disciplined and not go after him staying behind the line of scrimmage?
“Yeah, it takes a lot of discipline. It takes a lot of practice. When you see quarterbacks break out of the pocket, your natural reaction is the guys running with the ball, so I have to go up and get him. But you have to understand, with Kyler, what’s been our main focus all week is talking about plastering and coverage because he’s not escaping to run per se. He’s escaping to hit the big explosive play, so our guys have to be disciplined, stay back in coverage and we’ll come up after he crosses the line of scrimmage.”

What do you guys need to do to create more takeaways?
“To create more takeaways, I think guys just have to keep plugging. I think we got two balls out this past Sunday, forced two fumbles but the ball landed right back into the opponent’s hands. So, guys just have to keep doing what they’re doing. Have a mindset to go after the ball. When the ball is up in the air, have the mindset to go up and pick the ball off. Be aggressive from that standpoint. So I think turnovers, they’ll come. Guys just have to keep playing with the effort that they’re playing with, keep attacking the ball the way they’ve been doing. And it’ll bounce our way.”

You look at Arizona’s production receivers. There’s like five of them, with almost the same exact line. Are they running the air-raid to near perfection when they’re that balanced and then how difficult is it to prepare for something that could go to any of those receivers?
“Yeah, you have to be dialed in, like you said, they have a lot of weapons. When it comes to their receivers, it’s probably the the most complete group we’ll see, as far as the playmakers and guys who’ve been in this league and done it at a high level. So, the ball can go anywhere. So, everybody has to be on top of their job. Everybody just has to be disciplined from a defensive standpoint, nobody has to panic or anything. Everybody just has to be disciplined, play with good eyes and we’ll make the plays we should make.”

CB Jason Verrett had a pretty admirable play last year against Arizona Cardinals WR Deandre Hopkins. Is he around at all or sharing any notes with corners?
“Yeah, JV has been around. Still see him, he’s around and just lifts your spirits to see him with a smile on his face. And he brings me joy just to see him around and still leading from that perspective. Talking to the guys, making sure they’re in tune with the gameplan. He’s in tune to what we’re doing and the game plan every week. He’s calling and talking to the guys, checking in on them. So JV is still around, still involved.”

Is the best advice, maybe he can give them is to maybe play confidently when you’re going against a big guy, like he does?
“Oh, for sure. That’s any corner, any safety, any DB when you’re matched up out there on some of the best athletes in the world, it’s all about confidence. I think that’s half the battle right there. You have to be confident in what you’re doing and confident that you can make a play against anyone you line up against. So, our corners, our safeties have to have that mindset and they will have it this week.”

Why did you have to go with the CB Dre Kirkpatrick and CB Dontae Johnson in the slot as opposed to CB Deommodore Lenoir in one of those two spots?
“Yeah, we made some moves. Guys we practiced throughout the week and guys did a good job. And we went with what we felt like would be the best group for us going into this week.”

Does he still have some, I know he didn’t start playing in the slot until later on in camp. Is there still some room he has to learn in the slot?
Oh, for sure. As a rookie, it’s a lot for a rookie to process and go out and handle in a game. So, I think he’s still processing a lot. He’s still coming along. He still has a lot of learning to do, a lot of growth, but that’s any young player. That’s how it was going to be for any young player. No young player is going to come in and have it all in three or four weeks. It is a maturity process that he has to go through and he’s battling, he’s competing, he’s still doing everything the right way. He just has to keep working.”

On the Seattle Seahawks QB Russell Wilson rushing touchdown, it seemed like DL Arik Armstead took an inside rush on that play and there was room on the outside. It is that Armstead’s responsibility to keep that edge? Or has that been an issue this year, last year, as far as running quarterbacks, them getting out on the edge?
“Yeah, I think that particular play, it involves more than just Armstead. Armstead yes, he took an inside move, but we have another d-tackle to wrap off it. We have a linebacker who’s a free player in the middle who has to play it better. So, that play is just not on Arik, himself. We have to play better as a group, all around him.”

How crucial is to keep Kyler Murray in the pocket, to defend the rush in particular?
“Yeah. If he wants to get out of the pocket, he’s going to get out of the pocket whether he retreats back 10 yards. I think guys throw that out, where keeping him in the pocket. Well, this guy’s elusive enough. He’s probably the fastest guy on the field. So, if he wants to get out, he’s going to get out.”

The numbers indicate they haven’t done a lot from this perspective, but what’s your assessment of DL Samson Ebukam and DL Arden Key as far as pass rushing?
“Yeah. Samson and Arden have done a great job in the spots they’ve come in to the games for us. One thing is that they play physical, they play hard. And that’s the one thing I love about both of those guys. They give us everything they have, every time they’re out on the field and that’s to be expected from those guys. That’s what they do in practice all week. So, I’m pleased with where Arden and Samson are and I’m pleased with the production that they were able to give us.”