Defensive Coordinator DeMeco Ryans Press Conference

Defensive Coordinator DeMeco Ryans

­­Press Conference – December 29, 2022

San Francisco 49ers

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What was your day like yesterday morning when you found that Las Vegas Raiders QB Derek Carr isn’t going to be the quarterback for the Raiders?

We kind of caught wind that it may happen earlier in the week, so it’s something that we kind of thought would happen and we were aware of it. It’s part of the league. It happens. It’s no different if a guy gets injured, it’s just how you have to prepare for the next guy. So it’s next man up for those guys and I think [Las Vegas Raiders QB] Jarrett [Stidham] is guy who’s been in that system for a while, so I think he’ll be able to run it efficiently, understand what [Las Vegas Raiders head coach Josh] McDaniels wants from him and I feel like he can move the ball and he’s a good quarterback and he’ll be able to operate within that scheme, within that system because he’s done it before, he’s familiar with it, so that’s what we can anticipate from him.”

I think we’ve asked you a thousand different ways about DL Nick Bosa, but in terms of run defense, how can you quantify or just describe the impact that he makes in the run game even if he’s not the guy making the tackle?

“One thing with our defense, when it comes to the run game, it’s all about setting the edge and that’s one thing that allows us to play really good run defense and Bosa, he’s fighting with [DL] Samson [Ebukam] to be one of the best at it. Both of those guys do a really good job of setting the edge, and that’s why we play really good run defense. Bosa, the way he handles tight ends, that’s what really sets him apart. Just his physicality of knocking tight ends back, resetting the line of scrimmage and that allows the linebackers and safeties to step up and fit where they’re supposed to fit, but it all starts with the edge set, whether it’s Bosa or Samson or [DL] Charles [Omenihu], all those guys do a really good job of bottling the running back in, allowing the other guys to fill.”

A lot of pass rushers take pride in the pass rush. Do you get the sense that it’s really important for him to be that kind of all-around defensive end?

“It’s really important for Nick to be the best football player that he can be, so that’s all-encompassing. That’s run game, that’s pass game, that’s how you prepare throughout the week with your body, with how you work in the weight room. It’s all-encompassing. It’s 24-7 of being the best that you can absolutely be and that’s who Nick is day in and day out. And everyone gets to see that on Sundays, but that’s him all throughout the week and it’s really cool to watch his process of who he is and it doesn’t change. We’re so proud of what he’s done for us and what he means to our team, our defense. He’s truly an MVP-caliber player with what he’s able to do for our team, so we’re excited and happy to have him on our side.”

Can you define setting the edge? What do you mean by that?

“Setting the edge, it comes from when a lot of offenses, they’re trying to stretch defenses. They’re trying to run the ball outside. You got outside zone, crack-toss type plays where they’re trying to get the perimeter and get, pretty much fast running backs, they’re trying to get them on the edge to get away from the pursuit of our guys from the inside, so teams will try to circle a defense and get outside, so for us, setting the edge means it’s like you’re putting up a stop sign, like, no, you’re not coming this way. You have to go the other way. So those guys put up a stop sign on the edge of our defense and funnel them back inside to where all our pursuit is.”

Nick said after the game Saturday that he in the past has really focused more on what he was doing and too much film study of offensive linemen clouded his mind and that changed this year, his study of offensive tackles. Have you been involved in that process or aware of that or is that just stuff he’s doing behind the scenes?

“That stuff, film preparation, those things, that’s stuff that Nick is doing on his own. Stuff that [defensive line] Coach Kris Kocurek does a really good job of preparing reports for our defense linemen, so they know their opponent, know who they’re going against and then it’s up to the player, individual of what they’re doing when they’re away from here and how they’re studying. Some guys can look at a lot of things and process a lot of things and some guys can’t, so I always try to tell guys you absorb what you can handle and what can help you when you line up on Sunday to where you have a clear mind and you have fast feet and you can go out and play as fast as you can absolutely play without thinking. And that’s where Bosa sets himself apart, he can go out and play fast. He can react to something that changes on the fly just because he’s a very good athlete. He’s a smart and instinctive player.”

Nick leads the league in sacks, QB hits and is second in TFLs on the best defense in the league. What do you think it’ll take for another defensive player to win the MVP?

“I’m not certain what it’ll take. I think Nick has really set himself apart and I know there’s a lot of different factors, a lot of people that vote go into that. I know what he means to us and I know that without him we wouldn’t be where we are and we’re fortunate to have him.”

Nick lines up on the left and right side. What goes into that? Is that sort of a game plan going into the game or feel for him, how do you guys go about that back?

“Yeah, we want to move Nick around as much as possible. We understand how teams will try to gameplan for him. He probably gets double-teamed more than anybody I’ve ever seen, so for us as coaches, it is on us to move him around and put him in positions to be successful and so, teams can’t just tee off on us and they always know he’s going to line up on this side or that side. For me, as a coach, you never want to give your opponent any absolutes and that’s what we try to do with Nick to keep offenses on their heels.”

DL Jordan Willis looks like he’s bigger this year. He looks like one of your bigger defensive ends and I know coming out in college he was known for his speed and his athleticism and stuff like that. How has he been able to kind of marry those two things this season?

“As you said, Jordan has always been one of our faster guys and he’s definitely at a size, which helps him in our scheme to what I talked about earlier when it comes to setting the edge, he’s another guy who’s done a good job of that. He’s physical in the run game, and Jordan played one of his better games for us last week. He jumped off the tape just with the physicality, with the speed, being able to run the quarterback down to the sideline. Like Jordan, he made some big time plays for us last week in the run game and I feel like that size, the strength and the speed, you saw all of those three, you saw all of it in this past game and saw why Jordan is a really good player when he steps in. He’s not just a rotational guy, just to eat reps, he steps in and he affects the game, he makes plays for us, game changing plays and it was really cool to see for Jordan.”

There’s a lot of talk about the Raiders quarterback change and the fact that they’ve lost a lot of leads that they’ve had, but I guess the flip side of that is they’ve taken a lot of leads and they have a pretty elite wide receiver and a pretty elite running back and a tight end that’s really good. When you see them, do you see a dangerous team?

“With the Raiders, I do see a very dangerous team because they have playmakers all over the field. You talk about their big three, they have guys who can really take over games and we still have our hands full no matter who’s at quarterback. We still have our hands full with this team. They have been in a lot of close games. They’re a team who’s vying for a playoff spot, so we know we’re going to get all that they have and we know they’re coming out gunning for us, so we have our hands full and we’re ready to roll.”

How would you describe CB Charvarius Ward’s demeanor on or off the field?

“Mooney, he’s a very quiet guy, a quiet, confident guy. I think on and off the field, it’s the same personality with Mooney. One thing I say about Mooney, he’s never had a bad day. He’s always in a really great mood, always positive, uplifting, so he is a fun guy to be around because he always has great energy about himself.”

Mooney was talking about how he likes to match up against guys, like he has in the second half of the season. How do you see the matchup with Las Vegas Raiders WR Davante Adams this week?

“With Davante, this guy is one of the best receivers in the league and we faced him a few years in a row. He always seems to make plays, no matter where he aligns on the field, they move him all over the place, get him on the outside, this guy can go up and make plays. He does a really good job of finding the ball, making it tough on corners and he’s a guy who’s always looking forward to that matchup. You can tell he thrives in that one-on-one moment. I know Mooney is looking forward to the matchup as well, so it’ll be a really good matchup if Mooney lines up on him, if our other corner [DB Deommodore Lenoir] D-Mo lines up on him. Whoever lines up, they have their hands full and they have to go make a play, but we have to understand that guys aren’t out there by themselves. With our corners, it is going to be about our rush, affecting the quarterback and it’s about just mixing things up with coverages, with schemes, just mixing things up to make the quarterbacks figure it out.”

We saw CB Janoris ‘Jackrabbit’ Jenkins a couple games ago. What have you seen from him and has he put himself in position where he’s on standby to get that call up in case you need somebody?

“With Jackrabbit, he is a veteran who’s played a lot of ball and he’s learning in our system. He’s doing a really good job of picking things up and he’s practicing really well these past couple of weeks and if we need him to be up, he’s ready to roll.”