Defensive Coordinator DeMeco Ryans Press Conference

Defensive Coordinator DeMeco Ryans

­­Press Conference – November 23, 2022

San Francisco 49ers

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General manager John Lynch was on the radio this morning and he was talking about the defensive play and he said after the Chargers game there was only one missed tackle and that was as good has ever been done around here since he and head coach Kyle Shanahan have been here. The Arizona game looked pretty similar in that regard. Just curious to your sort of your observations on the tackling and why it’s been so good.

“Yeah, I think the tackling is good just because of our guys and their mentality. We allow our guys just to go and shoot your gun. Nobody’s hesitating. We’re all swarming to the ball, how many hats can we get to the ball? So we want all 11 guys just as fast as they can shooting their gun. And for us, it really doesn’t matter, even if you do miss a tackle, there should be two or three other guys coming to clean that guy up, so that’s just our mentality in tackling. It’s a swarm mentality where we want to get as many guys to the ball as possible. We want to make sure we’re tracking the inside hip being in proper leverage, but when you get there, it’s no hesitating. We’re never worried about missing a tackle. We’re always shooting our guns to make it.”

Head coach Kyle Shanahan was saying that on the film you can see all 11 guys in the frame in a lot of them. Say there’s only eight one time, do the three guys that don’t make the frame have it pointed out to them?

“No, it’s not pointed out to those guys. Everybody is trying their best to get into that frame though. That’s one thing I always learned, like when I was in high school I had a coach tell me, ‘Hey man, if you want a scholarship, you need to show up in the frame.’ Show up in the frame, so that’s kind of always been my mentality since high school. If you want a better opportunity for yourself, whether it’s getting a scholarship or it’s winning a game, it’s getting a new contract, show up in the frame. And it’s always about the effort, the mindset, the physicality of our guys and everybody is buying in.”

When you played, how much did it bother you to miss a tackle?

“Oh, it bothers you a lot to miss a tackle because that’s all you worry about. When you do miss, it just feels like this huge spotlight is on you and it’s like, ‘ah, everybody’s looking at me.’ I missed, so I like to take that away from guys. I like to take that mentality away from them and you don’t worry about missing. If you do miss, you don’t worry about it. You got another brother coming to clean you up, so the spotlight is not on you, or it won’t be on you for long because we got other guys coming.”

I’m sure you’d like to shut out every opponent in the second half the, the whole game of course, but when you start putting a streak together in the second half, three games in a row where you haven’t given up any points, can you sense like amongst your guys how much it means to them to kind of keep that going?

“For us, guys aren’t really thinking about that. We’re thinking about just playing clean football and really the emphasis is, man, how do we do this in the first half? Can we not give up the bonehead play in the first half to even allow teams to be in position to have to now we shut them out in the second half. The mindset is can we go out and play our best for the entire game? That’s always the mindset, just playing better, playing cleaner technique and being on the fundamentals of our job, but can we do it for four quarters? Not so much emphasis on the second half. Guys have done a great job in the second half of being where they’re supposed to be making plays that they’re supposed to make, but they’re doing an outstanding job. I can’t give those guys enough credit. If you want to win games, you have to close it out in the second half and they’ve done that the past three weeks.”

I’m sure it’s a combination of things, but is that second half success more adjustments or just guys eliminating those mistakes?

“It’s all about the guys. It’s all about the guys. It’s about them playing the game the right way. Them being on their assignments and doing their jobs as best as they can do it. And that’s what our guys have done. I’m proud of our guys. Our guys play inspirational football. You watch our guys play, you watch the film, our guys play inspirational ball. It just jumps off the tape the effort these guys play with, the way these guys play together for each other. It’s just an inspiration to me to watch these guys from the sideline, watch these guys play and how hard they play each and every week. It’s unbelievable and I’m just proud to coach these guys and I’m happy and blessed to just be in position to be their coach because of the mindset and their attitude each and every week.”

Speaking of tackling, CB Charvarius Ward seem to be leading the way in that regard. Sometimes that position isn’t always associated with strong tackling, but how is he in that regard? On the edge there?

“Yeah, Mooney, he had a really nice tackle this last game versus [Arizona Cardinals WR DeAndre] Hopkins, but he’s been solid as a tackler, it’s everybody on our defense. We try to coach like, corners you are going to have to tackle. That’s where teams attack us, they want to get the ball on the edge, so corners are just as important as linebackers or safeties, they’re going to have to step up and make tackles. You don’t get off the hook just because you play corner and it’s okay not to tackle. If you want to play defense for us, you have to step up and tackle and if you can’t do that, then you’re not going to be out there.”

Is that sort of physicality something you have to establish in training camp and maybe it might be a tougher training camp than with other teams, but do you feel like that’s a necessary component of making sure guys know from the jump?

“Oh yeah, our guys know from not only training camp, they know from OTAs. Our first meeting with our guys, that’s who we’re going to be. We’re going to be a physical defense, so guys understand that before we even put pads on, they understand the style of play we have to play as a defense and we carry that on throughout training camp. Is it going to be tough? Yes, it’s going to be tough, but anything worth having, you have to work hard at it. It’s not going to be easy, it’s not easy to be a physical defense. And coaches are grinding each and every week to bring that physicality out of you, but when you have the right guys in the locker room who have that mindset, I don’t have to speak on it much because you will stick out like a sore thumb if you’re not being physical on our defense.”

What was the week like for Charvarius? I know that he missed the first two practices. Did that mean that he wasn’t quite as acclimated to the elevation when he eventually got to?

“I think that would be a better question suited for him. I’m not sure how he was feeling out there. He didn’t practice as much, but he still went out and I can’t say enough good things about Mooney and just the way he competed out there without having a practice or getting acclimated. He still went out and battled each and every snap, so I’m just proud of Mooney, proud of what he represents and the man that he is and for him to go out there and play the way he played was great for us.

How big of a challenge does New Orleans Saints TE Taysom Hill represent and what he can bring?

“Yeah Taysom, he just provides a different element. A lot of teams do the wildcat things, where different position players are at quarterback. Taysom is a very tough, physical runner. We know he can do that. We know he can create explosives in the running game, but the thing that he presents different is he can throw the ball. So it’s not just your normal wildcat, everybody play the run. This guy can throw the ball, he can make every throw on the field, so we have to be prepared for both and that’s what opens it up and that’s what makes him a special player just because he’s truly a dual-threat guy.”

Coaches don’t necessarily consider Pro Football Focus to be the gospel, but over the last two games somebody that charted it has the most pressures in the league over the last two weeks is DL Nick Bosa with 14, Buffalo Bills LB Von Miller with 14 and DL Charles Omenihu with 14. Does that speak to the way Charles is playing?

“Yeah, Charles has done a really good job over the past couple weeks. Sometimes those inside guys, it goes unnoticed how much presence they bring. And Charles with the length that he has, he’s able to utilize that length to really make it tough on the quarterback, so Charles, he’s done a great job. He’s getting better each and every week. He is applying pressure to the quarterback. Bosa may get most of the attention because he actually gets the quarterback down a lot more and he’s our best player. Without a doubt, but Bosa can’t do what he’s able to do on the edge, if it’s not for, it’s [DL] Kevin Givens, it’s [DL] Kerry Hyder [Jr.], it’s Charles, it’s [DL] Drake [Jackson], all those guys inside doing their job that allows Bosa to excel on the outside.”

What is your favorite Thanksgiving dish?

“Oh, favorite Thanksgiving dish. Sweet potato pie. Sweet potato pie. Can’t have a Thanksgiving without that.”