Defensive Coordinator DeMeco Ryans Press Conference

Defensive Coordinator DeMeco Ryans

­­Press Conference – January 5, 2023

San Francisco 49ers

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When you guys have a game like you did Sunday, that was kind of unexpected as far as a number of points allowed and yards allowed, where do you start the process of kind of deconstructing where things went wrong?

“Yeah. Well, the game Sunday definitely wasn’t representative of who we are and the guys they knew that while the game was going on. They knew that and they knew what we needed to fix and the thing there is we have to play better in the back end with our eyes. The eye discipline it has cost us some really big plays and plays that we shouldn’t give up, we’re giving them up because of the discipline with the eyes and our guys understand that we have to get better there if we want to continue to play good defense.”

How did everybody emotionally bounce back this week?

“Yeah, I think the guys, they came back and they were ready to work. They came back in with the right mindset. The guys understood that was a big letdown for us defensively. And they understood that at halftime during the game, they understood what we needed to fix. And I’m not happy that it happened during that time, but I’m also encouraged that it’s things that we can clean up, things that we can fix. If we are more disciplined with what we need to do, we can clean up those things, so it is encouraging that we can clean up those things. We can get better and we’ll see how that looks this week versus the Cardinals.”

Against the Seahawks you had CB Charvarius Ward follow Seattle Seahawks D.K. Metcalf around, why not do that with Las Vegas Raiders WR Davante Adams in this game? Any sense that you wanted to kind of test the DB Deommodore Lenoir and just kind of give him a nice challenge in this game?

“When it comes to traveling, all of that is pretty much dictated on coverage, so it could be, coverage that Mooney is traveling and it may not be, so it is all gameplanning. It’s all based on different calls and it’s not the same call every time we line up, so there will be different looks. We won’t give an offense the same look. We won’t be that predictable all the time and whoever lines up out there is expected to just make the plays, play with the proper technique that they’re supposed to play with. That’s what we expect. It doesn’t matter who lines up across from you.”

How would you gauge how Lenoir has played this year coming in for CB Emmanuel Moseley and whether there’s growing pains or whether there’s other issues there?

“Yeah, I think D-Mo is a young player who has stepped in for us. I think he’s done some really good things. He’s grown a lot. He’s been he’s been steady for us out there and of course, for all of us, we can all make more plays, we can all play better and he falls in that category as well, but I’m happy with the growth that I’ve seen from D-Mo throughout the year and he’ll continue to get better with the more reps that he gets. This is truly his first year of truly playing and being out there for us, so it’s encouraging to see where he is and where he’s headed.”

S Talanoa Hufanga played so well the first half of the season. In the last few weeks, it seems like he’s given up some big plays. You just mentioned eye discipline, has that been an issue for him lately or what are you seeing from Talanoa?

“Yeah, it’s the same. He has to clean up his eyes. It’s too many big plays we’re giving up and Huf knows that. You have to clean up your eyes, especially when you’re protecting us in the back end. You’re the eraser for us. Your eyes can’t be dirty, you can’t be in the back field and he knows that and he has to get better at it.”

Can you explain what eye discipline is?

“Eye discipline, it simply comes down to when you’re in whatever, zone coverage, man coverage, you have a certain progression of keys and where your eyes should be. And where guys get caught a lot of times is, guys are looking in the back field at the action of the back or the quarterback when they don’t need to. And if you’re doing that and you’re not progressing and looking at the proper things, whether it’s a route concept, whether you’re passing a route concept off, whether it’s a particular man who’s coming within your zone, or if your eyes should be in that area and they’re not, it’s going to be really hard to make plays. Guys in his league are too fast, they’re too good for you to not look at the proper thing and then try to look late. And if you look late, it’s too late and guys will make you pay. It doesn’t matter who you’re playing against, the guys in this league are too good. They’ll make you pay.”

Is there a tendency if you’re a playmaker, you want make plays, you want to know where the ball is at all times, so that’s where your eyes go?

“Yeah. Well the biggest thing is just being on it every single snap. And that’s the thing that I was talking to our guys about this week, like it’s not your play to make every play. Everybody will make plays in our defense when everybody is playing with discipline, playing with the proper technique, playing with the proper eyes, eye discipline. If everybody is doing that, there’s enough plays for everybody to go around, so when guys do get antsy and they try to do too much, they try to play hero ball. You try to make plays that you’re not supposed to make, that’s when you get gutted as a defense, so defensive football, you want to be sound, you want to play great defense, you have to be disciplined at all three levels.”

Las Vegas Raiders QB Jarrett Stidham got loose a couple times, clearly, and afterwards DL Nick Bosa talked about pass rush discipline and we saw him, one time for sure, he stopped his pass rush when Stidham still had the ball. Sometimes do you have to just to maintain your angle almost at the cost of getting to the quarterback?

“Same thing with the eye discipline at the back end. It’s the rush discipline up front. We allowed Stidham to get out way too many times. We’re running past the level of the quarterback, so we have to be conscious when we’re rushing. We have to be aware at all times of where the quarterback is. We can’t open up huge lanes for the quarterback to get out, so it’s discipline up front. It’s discipline in the back end as well and those guys, they understand that they have to be more aware of what’s going on.”

With the Cardinals going to a lot of their backup guys and some of the key play makers on offense in question, what kind of wrinkles does that create in the gameplanning?

“There’s no wrinkles at all for us. We have so much to clean up for ourselves. That I’m really not even focused on the Cardinals. I’m truly focused on our guys and cleaning up what we need to clean up defensively, because it really doesn’t matter who you play, if your eyes aren’t right, if you aren’t rushing with proper awareness, it doesn’t matter who you play, you’ll get embarrassed, so all of our guys understand we have to play better. It doesn’t matter who we play against. We have to do our jobs better.”

With Arizona Cardinals QB David Blough likely at quarterback, what are you expecting from the Cardinals offense?

“I’m expecting our defense to go out and play the way we play defense. Again to me, it’s not about the Cardinals at all. Who’s at quarterback, running? It doesn’t matter, honestly. Like defensively, the Niners have to play Niner Defense if we want to play good football moving forward.”

A few times we’ve heard about the Friday team meeting, and how head coach Kyle Shanahan has gotten on Bosa, they both have talked about. Gotten on some other players. Do you suggest some things to him or sometimes are you surprised when Kyle’s kind of, whether it’s teasing or just kind of like pokes at one of your guys?

“Kyle, he has this deal when he meets with the guys and talking to Bosa, talking to all the guys. Kyle does an amazing job in our team meetings and all of our meetings with the guys of just motivating, making sure our guys are ready to go. And a head coach has to motivate his guys. And Kyle does an excellent job each and every week of doing that, making sure our guys are ready to roll, ready to play our best football.”

I know you say it shouldn’t matter who you’re facing, but after the game, Nick Bosa said it felt like the players underestimated Stidham. How as a coach do you guard against that happening this week with David Blough?

“That’s each guy. Mentally what each guy’s thinking going into the game. That’s how they think. For me, you never underestimate anyone. There’s no room to underestimate anyone. There’s just room to go out and just play your best. It doesn’t matter who you line up against, if you’re doing your best, it really doesn’t matter who you’re going against. There is no letdown in this league. There is no week off, when you suit up, it’s time to go out and play and be your absolute best and it does not matter who’s across from you. If you’re not your best, then you can get embarrassed each and every week, no matter what’s the team’s record, no matter who’s on the other side that’s what this league is about. You’re going to each and every Sunday, each and every time you go out, you have to be at your absolute best.”

In your experience, will a team like the Cardinals get a lift from a player like Arizona Cardinals DL J.J. Watt playing in his last game and is that something that can lift an entire team?

“It could. J.J.’s been an excellent player in this league. A former teammate of mine and a very well-respected guy. Great person off the field, been a great player who’s pretty sure a lock for the Hall of Fame. He’s just done a lot of wonderful things on the field with the sack records, defensive player of the year. Off the field, the charity, the things that he does in the community. He’s just such a great guy and if that lifts them, whatever they need to help them play, that’s cool, but for us, again, it goes back to being about us. We just expect teams that we play against, I’m always expecting them to play at their absolute best. Whatever motivates them, whatever they need to get up for the game, bring it on because we’re motivated and we’re ready to go each and every week.”