Defensive Coordinator DeMeco Ryans Press Conference
Defensive Coordinator DeMeco Ryans
Press Conference – November 18, 2022
San Francisco 49ers
Maybe you want just kind of want to start talking about the state of your defense and what you’ve seen from them in the second half with a pair of shut outs the last two games?
“Yeah. Overall these past two weeks, the guys have come out and just finished. It’s one thing we harp on. That’s one thing we always want our guys to do. We’ve been good in games in spurts, but coming out in the second half, there’s been times where we didn’t finish and over the past two weeks, that’s what the guys have done. They’ve owned the opportunities that they’ve been given. We got the ball last week from Huf [S Talanoa Hufanga], guys are just playing really good in the second half and that’s when it counts. That’s when you have to step up and close the game out if we want to be a great defense. You have to finish the game in the second half and that’s what has allowed us to win these past two games because of the effort, the mindset, and the technique guys have finished with these past two weeks.”
You guys said that you didn’t make any actual physical adjustments at halftime, it was more motivational, can you tell us about that?
“Yeah, it’s always, for me, it always starts with the mindset of your guys. Guys are going to make mistakes and my whole thing with our guys is you can’t just dwell on the mistakes that you made. You just think about the next play that you get to make. Think about the opportunity that you’re going to get when the ball is up. You have an opportunity to take the ball away, so it’s not always about the Xs and Os of changing what we’re doing, what we do, the things that we do, they work, it’s just a matter of doing it the correct way for an entire four quarters.”
You said it was the same call throughout the second half, that was your adjustment.
“Yeah, we change calls up as much as we can just to keep offenses off balance. You always have to play that game. You don’t want offenses knowing exactly what you’re doing, so we want to keep those guys guessing as much as possible, what they’re attacking, but it’ll always come down to us, our players. If they’re able to go out and do what that call calls for and they’re able to make the call come to life. They’ve done a great job and I can’t be more proud of those guys for the past couple weeks, what they’ve done just because they’ve owned anything I asked those guys, they’re doing it. Nobody’s not ready for the challenge. Everybody’s always up to the challenge. Everybody’s always ready to give their best and it’s just a credit to the group. The guys that we have, we just have a great group of guys, great group of playmakers who are really fun to coach and they actually make it easy for me to coach just because of their attitude, their commitment and their effort, what they bring each week.”
You’re extremely upbeat and poised no matter what the situation is as a coach. Was that your mentality as a player or do you have a different personality as a coach?
“No, it’s always positive. I can easily harp on all the negative things, the plays that we didn’t make or beat guys up, but that’s not going to allow those guys to come back and be confident and make the plays that they’re supposed to make, so it’s always, for me, it’s always positive energy. No energy vampires allowed. I tell the guys always positive energy, it’s always upbeat, because when they make play, I want guys enthusiastic about playing football. The game of football is fun. I want guys having fun out there, flying around and most importantly, our guys have to be confident. And you’re confident when the energy is high. Everybody’s smiling, everybody’s having fun. If we’re making plays right, that enthusiasm is going to be high, the energy is going to be high and that’s when turnovers happen. That’s when big hits happen, that’s when big plays start to happen when everybody is just bought in and playing for each other.”
The last couple of weeks, you guys have faced plenty of the short gain stuff, screens and things like that. How much of that is a way for teams to try and offset the aggressiveness of your pass rush and if so, how do you as a playcaller kind of adjust when to press go and when to hold back?
“Yeah, for sure. We know teams want to take advantage of our style. We’re an attacking defense. We want to get after people, so we are an attacking front, so to do that, to slow us down, you’re going to see plays on the perimeter, whether it’s screens, whether it’s jet sweeps, all those things. All those type of plays we see, just to slow us down, so do we stop what we’re doing? No, we’re still going to attack, but it’s guys on the backend just making sure they fit properly. When we have plays on the outside, making sure we have guys setting the edge from outside in and we got relentless pursuit from inside out.”
That upbeat energy mentality, would you say someone like Talanoa Hufanga just embodies that?
“Oh, for sure. Talanoa, man, that’s the one guy when we are at home and we’re playing, that’s the one guy who I can always count on. He’s going to make a big play to get the crowd fired up and he gets his teammates fired up as well. And I think everybody is throwing up the “T” celebration just because everybody’s excited for Huf and the type of plays that he makes, but the guy brings energy every day. And the energy that he brings, it rubs off on the other guys as well.”
Are you expecting to face Arizona Cardinals QB Kyler Murray and how much does it matter? How concerned are you guys about this quarterback?
“Yeah, I tell the guys, some things we can’t control, the things we can’t control, we don’t get consumed with. So we’ve played [Arizona Cardinals QB] Kyler [Murray], we’ve played [Arizona Cardinals QB] Colt [McCoy], we know what both guys bring, both guys are really good players in their own different styles. Kyler is very effective in making plays with his feet. He’s one of the fastest quarterbacks in the league, so his ability to scramble and make plays, you have to be prepared for that. And we’re working on that, expecting him to play. If Colt plays, Colt is a guy who runs their offense very efficiently, he gets the ball out fairly quickly, makes really good decisions with the football, so he’s another guy who we have to be on. You have to be tight with your coverage. You have to be disciplined with both of these guys. The big word that comes up throughout the week for us is just us being disciplined. Whether it’s the quarterback run game, whether it’s Colt playing, you have to be on tight with your coverages. We just have to be disciplined in everything we do. And it never changes, no matter who’s playing quarterback, it will always be about us defensively and playing our best.”
What was your viewpoint of the call, the ejection on LB Dre Greenlaw the other day?
“Yeah. With [LB] Dre [Greenlaw] man, a tough situation that everybody’s just, we’re quick to get upset about it and he gets ejected. I don’t want to see any of our players get ejected or suspended, anything like that, so the thing is coaching. How can we coach him better? The thing is when the quarterback is running, we know you can’t get a violent hit on the quarterback, so you have to be smart when the quarterback runs the ball, we have to ease up a bit. We have to ease up and make sure that we’re especially not hitting him in the head or neck area, but if the quarterbacks giving himself up. We just have to allow him to give himself up and that’s the end of the play. We can’t think we’re getting violent hits on the quarterback. It’s just not happening.”
After the game Talanoa Hufanga was really hard on himself about the touchdown that he gave up, did you talk to him after that play? It seemed like he went through a whole rollercoaster of emotions.
“Oh yeah, I talked to him after that play. Just had to bring him back, everybody makes mistakes in games. That’s football. Nobody’s ever played a perfect game. So the biggest thing is, as I said earlier, is Huf you have to let that play go, you know what to do. You know how to do it. Let’s just not let that happen again. Let’s not help teams, let’s help ourselves by making plays and not giving them plays.”
Did it take him a little bit to get out of it? Or did he seem to bounce back?
“He bounced back. He bounced back. Of course, he was down on the sideline, but everybody, if you’ve ever giving up a touchdown, it’s tough. I’ve been in that position before. I know how bad it feels to give up a touchdown and how bad you feel that you let your teammates down and that’s a really horrible feeling. I still have some that I remember that I’ve given up. It still hurts, so I know it’s a very touchy moment, but bounce back. Bounce back. It’s all about how you respond. Not about what happens, but how do you respond?”
I think I know what you meant, but can you define an energy vampire?
“Somebody who sucks the energy out of the room, somebody who comes in, they’re moping or down, just negative energy, not enjoying each day. We’re all blessed with the days we’re given, man. I say you enjoy every day that you’re blessed to be here. See another day, enjoy it and live it to the fullest.”