Defensive Coordinator DeMeco Ryans Press Conference

Defensive Coordinator DeMeco Ryans

­­Press Conference – December 8, 2022

San Francisco 49ers

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What is it like preparing for Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB Tom Brady, especially when he’s had so many of these late comeback games?

“Yeah, it’s a really tough challenge. Preparing for the best quarterback to ever play the game and it’s a challenge that our guys are really looking forward to. It’s one that guys won’t get much in their careers to go against the best and to kind of see where you are against the best to do it. It’s a really cool challenge for our guys and we’re all excited about it.”

Do you have any memories of going up against him as a player?

“Yeah, a couple memories. I know I was a young player in Houston. We went up to New England and he diced us up pretty bad. We didn’t stop him at all and then I had one memory playing with the Eagles where we were able to actually beat them in New England, so it was a pretty cool moment there. Tom is a special guy. He’s in his own category, he’s won the most championships. The best to do it, how many great things can you say about the guy? When it comes to accuracy, when it comes to running the offense, making sure the ball is where exactly where it needs to be, getting the ball out on time. You can’t say enough about the type of leader that this guy is, how he makes everyone else around him better, so  it’s really cool to have this opportunity to go against him.”

You’ve seen QB Brock Purdy against your defense on scout  team for most of this year. How have you seen him grow from kind of a defensive perspective?

“I think Brock, he’s the same every day. He brings it. He’s a competitor every day. That’s the cool part about Brock, he’s always competing, whether it is scout team or what he’s doing now. He’s a true competitor and he always wants to win. He’s always looking to win the rep and I think that’s what you saw from him Sunday. The moment, it wasn’t too big for Brock, he stepped right in and just did what he needed to do. It wasn’t about him, it was just about him running the offense, doing what he needed to do, putting the ball in our playmakers’ hands and he delivered big time for us. We’re looking for that from him and he doesn’t have to do too much. He doesn’t have to make it bigger than what it is, he just has to go out and play his game. And our guys just continue to do what they’re doing defensively and everybody around him, collectively, doing their job, playing their best. I think we’ll be fine.”

Do you and the defensive coaches have much interaction with the scout team offense to let them know exactly what you need to see from them?

“At moments, I may step in and ask for particular things, but for the most part our defensive QCs, they handle the scout team.”

Have you had much interaction with Brock?

“Yeah, just some little interaction here and there. Just if I want him to run around or want him to do something special with certain plays that wasn’t on the card, I’ll have that interaction with him. Brock, he’s been great at giving us looks all year. I think he’s part of the reason our guys have played really well, because he is challenging. He’s not just out there just throwing picks to our guys. He’s trying to actually fit the ball in and challenging our guys to really break on the ball and make plays, Brock has done that all year. He’s not just out there just making it easy on the defense. I’m happy where we are defensively, because of Brock. He’s helped us out all year.”

DB Jimmie Ward said that Brock takes his reps at the scout team much more seriously than a lot of other scout team quarterbacks have, where he really is feeling the pash rush and not taking it where he’s got a coverage sack, he still goes like, that’s a sack to him as opposed to some other’s scout quarterbacks and how useful it’s been for the defense. Do you see that as well?

“Oh yeah, like I said, again, he feels the rush in the pocket. He’s able to escape. One thing, I liked about Brock is he’s athletic, he can move out of the pocket and still try to create on the run. And we played a lot of moving, athletic quarterbacks this year and Brock did a really good job of giving us some looks of, extending plays and creating, throwing the ball down field, throwing no look passes when we needed him to. Like he’s done everything we’ve asked him to do, he’s a true team player.”

Is his mobility almost a little surprising?

“It may be surprising to some, but he can move and when he needs to move, he can move. And I think that’s very vital for any quarterback to be successful and the toughest thing on defense is when you have quarterbacks who can move, escape in the pocket and extend plays, it makes it really tough on a defense. I think Brock being able to do that really helps us.”

Tampa couldn’t get anything going for most of the game against the same New Orleans defense that your offense struggled with the week before, but when it got to the hurry up and Brady took over, he gets the two touchdowns, do you expect to see that maybe a little earlier from them or be ready for it?

“Yeah, for sure. We’re anticipating that the hurry up will come sooner in the game than just the final minutes of the game. That’s where you see their offense thrive the most, when Brady is able to control it and he’s able to run it from the line of scrimmage, that’s where they look the most efficient. For us, seeing that on tape, we have to anticipate that. Man, they can jump into no huddle right in the first quarter and our guys, we’ve been preparing for that and our guys understand that. We talked about it and we’ll be ready for it.”

DL Arik Armstead, how did he look and his first game back and are you continuing to ramp him up? Is the goal to get him back to more a normal snap count?

“Yeah, I think Arik did an awesome job. With the reps that Arik was given, he was able to affect the quarterback and make really big plays for us. Got a really huge holding call that forced them to move back out of field goal range, and then he was able to get pressure up the middle and force [Miami Dolphins QB] Tua [Tagovailoa] to make an errant throw on Jimmy’s interception, so Arik, having him back, his impact was sudden. We had him in there, he made plays for us and we expected to see him continue to make those plays for us as he gradually works his way back in.”

DB Deommodore Lenoir, how have you seen him since Week Five grow as a player, and how have you seen his confidence grow?

“Yeah, I think D-Mo each week, I’ve seen more and more confidence. I think it showed really versus Arizona when he’s matched up versus [Arizona Cardinals WR DeAndre] Hopkins and we knew that was a big challenge for us and he went out there and he competed and made a play versus him and I think that really helped him. As a corner, that’s the biggest thing. If you’re going to play on the island, you have to have confidence. With D-Mo, I’ve seen it grow each and every week, and he’s continued to do a better job each and every week and I’m loving to where he’s headed, he just has to continue to work each and every day to get better. He’s made some good plays for us, he’s still growing, still learning, still a young player, but he’s getting some quality reps in there and he’s helped us to win games.”

How’s DL Nick Bosa doing this week?

“Bosa’s doing good. Working his way back in. He’s doing good.”

Is he playing his best football right now?

“I think he definitely is playing his best ball. You talk about someone, a guy who can change the game and affect the game the way Bosa does it. To me, he’s hands down the best in the league. You talk about a defensive player of the year type candidate. If it isn’t Bosa, I don’t know who else it should be. He’s put our defense in a position we’re in, we’re not where we are if it’s not for Bosa and how he changes the game, how he affects the quarterback, how he speeds up the quarterback’s timing and he’s still able to get as many sacks as he has. He’s able to get to the quarterback, put him down, force the ball where we’re able to scoop and score. There’s just so many game-changing plays that Bosa has made. The past two weeks you look at it. The play versus the Saints, he closes the game out right at the end of the game when we needed him most and last week, right there at the end again, he’s on the quarterback, knocks the ball out. You can’t speak enough about Bosa and how he affects a defense, how he changes the game, if you want to play great defense, you have to have a great edge rusher and that’s what we have in Bosa. He’s the best doing it in the league and I’m so excited to have him on our side.”

What adjustments do you have to make against a QB that gets the ball out of his hands so quickly?

“Yeah, with Brady, you know the ball is coming out quick, so guys have to be disciplined in coverage. You have to be tight on all the running backs, they catch a lot of balls from Brady, so we have to be tighter on the running backs, tighter on the checkdowns, because we know the ball is coming out very quick and you have to understand with pressure you’re not going to get there. He’s going to get the ball out as quick as we’ve seen all year, so our guys have to be very tight in their coverage and they have to be able to make plays when their opportunity comes. They have to be able to make plays on the ball.”

What do you admire about Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Todd Bowles as a defensive coach?

“Todd, man, as a player I worked with Todd when I was in Philly, he took over as defensive coordinator. And one thing I always remember from Todd, his first thing was when he said, man, I can’t believe we don’t have a blitz for you, so his first thing was installing a mike linebacker blitz for me. And it just showed that Todd is really great with the players. He understands how to build confidence in players and the one thing I learned defensively, just schematically is that he’s going to be aggressive. That’s just his mindset. That’s how he was. He was installing blitzes left and right when he took over as defensive coordinator. And that’s what I learned, like as a defensive coordinator, you can be aggressive and that’s who Todd is and he does a great job of communicating with the players and getting guys to play hard for him. I can’t speak enough good things for Todd. He’s a great coach, been a tremendous coach in this league, and I’ve learned a lot from him in my short time of working with him in Philly. I learned a lot from him that I’m using to this day.”

How would you describe your own style?

“My style is, I think it’s a mix of both. I think there are times when you can be aggressive and it is all about, for me, I love to be aggressive all the time, but it’s also about who do you have. It’s about what can the guys do? The guys that you have on your team, what can they do and what do they do the best? So for me it’s just all about putting guys in the right position to make plays. If it calls for being aggressive one week, we will be aggressive. If it calls for sitting back and forcing the ball to the checkdown, that’s what we’ll do. So my style, I’m very adaptable and that’s each and every week. I feel like I’m very adaptable and whatever I have to do to win the game, that’s what I want to do.”

The defensive numbers look really good last week against a very good offense, but Tua obviously missed a lot of throws. Were there a lot of teaching points you had as far as you go and say, ‘Hey, this, we need to tighten this up’?

“I think our guys did a really great job versus an explosive offense. I think to hold the offense to what we did, no one else has done this. I think our guys has done a really good job. They played their tails off and I’m proud of the way they played versus a very challenging Miami Dolphins team. Guys did a really good job and I’m proud of what they did.”