Defensive Coordinator DeMeco Ryans Press Conference

Defensive Coordinator DeMeco Ryans

­­Press Conference – September 22, 2022

San Francisco 49ers

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Last week DL Nick Bosa said that he has given speeches, I think on walkthrough day to the team before each game and he said that his first one for the Chicago game he was pretty proud of it. He said he thought he did well. Have you been in on these speeches that he gives to the team and what would your evaluation be?

“Yeah, Nick does a great job. That’s just for the team. That’s about as far as he needs to go with it. Nick does a great job of speaking to the team when he is asked to. Nick is one of our captains, one of our team leaders, not only by his play on the field, but also just by the person that he is and the respect that he has in the locker room. So just a great guy to have as a captain who truly leads by example.”

Does S Tashaun Gipson Sr. already know this defense or are there parts he’s still learning? I know you talked about him playing in Jacksonville, so he has some familiarity.

“Oh, yeah, Gip has come in, he’s a veteran, so he’s seen a lot of ball. He’s played in a lot of different schemes, did a lot of things different from that safety position. But the thing that sticks out with him, he’s a very smart player and he has a great feel for the game. Just instincts. He can make plays all over the field, just based on above the neck. Just being smart, understanding what the offense is trying to do pre-snap. So he’s able to put himself in position to make plays that way. Just by being a very smart player, a veteran, who’s seen a lot of different things and he knows how to play the game the right way.”

Last week, we were asking you about while you’re playing Seattle without Denver Broncos QB Russell Wilson, and now here he is. Does he look like the same guy to you?

“Yeah, Russell is Russell. Like one thing about Russell is continuing to watch him, he still is great at – probably the best at – being able to extend plays. Guys are able to find that soft spot in the zone and he’s able to hit defenses who are not quite on it and create explosive plays. So for us, that’s one thing we’ve been harping on is just Russell is still Russell. He can make you pay if you’re not on it. So we have great amount of respect for Russell and the player that he’s been, the playmaking ability that he’s been able to do throughout his entire career. He’s still that guy. So we have to be on top of our game defensively or he’ll make you pay.”

With S Talanoa Hufanga, I don’t know if there’s a way to break it down, but he seems like he triggers really fast when he recognizes something. How much of that is the studying and the work that he puts in and how much of that do you think is just instinctual and it’s in him?

“It’s both for Huf. He is very great at preparation throughout the week. He’s always into it. He’s always asking questions, trying to figure out just how many nuggets can he get to get another step, to see what the offense is doing. And then he goes to the field and he’s able to process things in a fast way that allows him to trigger and make plays. So Huf, he doesn’t hesitate because of his preparation throughout the week. That’s what allows him to light up on gameday. And that’s the guy you see, that’s just a culmination of all the prep that he’s done in the background when no one’s watching. You see that show up on gameday, just a guy who plays with his hair on fire. He’s everywhere, all over the field. Making plays, probably everybody’s favorite player, just because of the plays that he’s making. And he’s definitely a spark of energy for our entire team, just because of the way he’s played these past two weeks.”

You say he looks for any small thing, can you give an example?

“Things that he’s looking for, if it’s a certain alignment by a tight end, if it’s a certain motion, what are they doing off of that motion. So he’s always asking very great questions in meetings, always engaged, always making sure, me as a coach, I’m on top of my P’s and Q’s as well, because he’s going to ask some good questions.”

What do you think his biggest improvement is since last year?

“I think his biggest improvement overall is his communication and his confidence. I think just being out there and playing, you have to play the game to gain that confidence. And he’s gotten a lot of reps throughout the offseason and working with everybody on our defense. And it means a lot to him, that’s why he’s gotten better. He’s staying out when everybody else is in the locker room, he’s grinding. Always grinding, always working and it shows on Sunday. When you see guys show up on Sundays, it’s because of the preparation that they’re doing behind the scenes and Huf is one of the best guys at prepping throughout the week that I’ve been around.”

Hufanga was the PAC-12 Defensive Player of The Year. Why do you think he was still hanging around in the fifth round?

“I don’t know why he was hanging, but I’m happy we grabbed him.”

Do you anticipate the elevation playing any kind of factor on your defensive linemen, especially in that second half? Do you anticipate altering the gameplan in terms of rotation patterns?

“We try to rotate our guys, already, we try to keep them as fresh as possible and with the elevation that definitely plays a factor. So we will be rotating our guys just as normal and making sure everybody is fresh when they hit the field. So from that standpoint of preparation, and I don’t think it’s much you can do to prepare for it, just being in a different climate zone here, so there’s not much you can do to prepare for it. But just for three hours, that’s what football is about for three hours, no matter what the elements are. Can you stand up and go dominate? Go perform for three hours.”

Going back to the Denver Broncos versus Houston Texans game, Russell was able to make the Houston defense jump offsides three times with the hard count. What makes him so good with that hard count? How do you prepare for it?

“You have to be aware of it and you have to understand that he is going to hard count you so you can’t trigger on sound. That’s how you prepare for it. You have to key the ball and when the ball is snapped, that’s when you go. You can’t trigger on sound. You can’t relax at all with Russell because he’s so great at the hard count and him being at home, he can use that to his advantage. So we are aware of that. We just have to make sure we’re on top of it because that’s how, again, he gains explosive plays by the defense not quite being on it. And he’s able to take advantage of it.”

You obviously know Denver Broncos NT D.J. Jones very well and he’s going to be opposite a young unproven, interior offensive line. What can they do to kind of subdue him and what are your thoughts on him as a player?

“D.J. is a tremendous player. I loved working with D.J. for the past four or five years. Just working with him, he’s a great guy off the field, really great guy and a really great player. The thing I think for our guys to prepare for him, they had to just have to work together. Just understand nobody’s out there by themselves. D.J., he may make a few plays, but we just have to make a few more plays than him. Try to keep him out of our backfield.”

Two games in DT Javon Kinlaw, what have you seen from him and his improvement and how has he been affecting the game?

“Kinlaw’s been improving every week. What I see from Kinlaw is growth. It’s steady growth, each and every week. He’s doing a great job in the run game, playing with good pad level. He’s doing a great job of affecting the quarterback when he does get there. He’s doing a really good job of affecting throws by getting his hands up at the proper time to force an errant throw. So I’m happy where Kinlaw is going and it’s exciting because I see him continuing to get better. That’s the cool part about him. He’s getting better and better. So, who knows what it’ll be mid-season, end of the season, how good he’ll be playing, but I think it’s going to be really great for us.”