Defensive Coordinator DeMeco Ryans Press Conference

Defensive Coordinator DeMeco Ryans

Press Conference – July 31, 2021

San Francisco 49ers

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What’s been your coaching points here through what, four practices?

“Yeah, I think the biggest thing coaching point-wise is just guys just have to get better each day. The biggest thing for me is guys focusing on one day at a time. You know, if you go out and do your best at one day, that’s great. Now put that away, go stack the next day. How can you get just a little bit better on the next day? So that’s been the focal point throughout these first four days. It’s just wherever you were yesterday, can you get a little bit better the next day? And guys have been honing in on that and doing pretty well.”

LB Fred Warner’s interception of QB Jimmy Garoppolo on a short throw, is that a play he would’ve made a few years ago? Is that something he instinctually knows what’s coming or he knows the script that’s coming?

“Fred, he’s just, he’s reading Jimmy, reading Jimmy’s eyes and he’s been doing a really good job of his zone drops. Fred’s a guy he drops in zone coverage and does a really good job being patient, staying square, eyes on the quarterback. And he really did a great job of reading Jimmy there, breaking on a ball and you know, Fred has been working on his hands throughout the offseason. So it’s paying off for him. So happy to see him get that pick and you could tell everyone’s excited on the sidelines for him. But Fred is a guy I look to make those type of plays, those impact game-changing plays. Those are plays that Fred can make, he’s done them in the past and just expect him to even do it more as he continues to develop in his career.”

I know a lot of players have been coming in and filling in for DT Javon Kinlaw, but DL Kentavius Street seems to be one of those guys that just seems to get snaps with the ones. What have you seen from him and is he off to a good start in training camp?

“Yeah, I think Street’s having a really good start. His first couple of days, Street has been, he’s been very consistent. Day in and day out, you know what you’re going to get. He’s been consistent in the backfield disrupting run plays. Also being able to react quicker on a pass play. This is the first year for Street that he really hasn’t had to be concerned about rehabbing or focused on injury, right? So he’s at this offseason to really work his tail off, to really put together a good training camp. And he’s off to a really great start. I’m excited to see how Street will do in the preseason games and moving forward. But I really liked the way he’s worked over the first couple of days here. Just the consistency is something you look for in a guy stepping in for Kinlaw, and he’s been very consistent. I’m happy with what he’s done.”

This was the first time in this camp, at least that we’ve seen QB Trey Lance take off running and including some designed stuff. How beneficial for your defense can it be to have a guy like that who brings that to the table and see it in practice more?

“Yeah, I think, you know, I’m very appreciative for our offense when they put those plays in, the zone-read type plays, QB movement runs. It’s very helpful for us as a defense so when we do face teams like that during the season, it’s not the first time that we’re preparing for it, right? So we have a chance to go through it, to learn, our guys get a chance to learn actually how to defend it versus different defenses. So it’s really, really great work for us. And Trey does, like you said, he broke out today on a couple, he’s doing an excellent job of running those plays as well. So it’s good work on both sides, iron sharpening iron.”

When you guys put together the practice plan, do you communicate with the offense and ask them to do certain things to test you guys and vice versa?

“Yeah. It goes back and forth. You know, we all service each other, making sure our guys are, as we’re scripting practice and get ready for practice, we want to make sure our guys are getting a ton of different looks. And that’s the thing, not just, you know, same guys getting the same type of plays. We want guys to see different looks, see different run plays, how to fit those runs, see different pass plays versus different coverages so we understand as a defense how we’re getting attacked and guys can see how different coverages fit plays differently. So it’s really [offensive coordinator] Mike McDaniel and [offensive passing game specialist Bobby] Slowik they do a great job of scripting offensively working together with myself.”

You haven’t watched the film of this practice, but just what you can tell with your eyes how much does he stress a defense from that standpoint?

“Yeah. They put a lot of stress on us today. Yeah. We put in a little different coverage today, they put a lot of stress on that coverage and it allows our guys to go back and study the film and see, you know, where can we get better? Where can we improve? But it’s good work for the offense and it’s also good work for the defense.”

From an evaluation standpoint, how excited are you to have the pads come on, I guess Monday?

“Yeah. You know, that’s real football. When you put the pads on, we have to go through this, you know, per the NFL, you have to go through the acclimation period for the first couple of days to make sure guys are getting their legs under them, making sure everyone is healthy moving in before you put the pads on. But you know, for me, pads is, that’s how you really can evaluate talent. Right? You put the pads on, that’s how the game is played. So you see who’s going to rise up and who’s going down when you put those pads on. So it really, when you put the pads on it separates guys, so you can see guys who flashed and look good in shorts, but who can step up and do it in pads. And that’s when it really counts. And that goes in practice. And it goes into the games as well. How are these guys performing when the lights are on.”

What’s your level of concern with Javon Kinlaw not getting into team drills just yet given how much you would like to see him take a leap forward in his second season?

“Kinlaw has been doing a great job on the side, working with our medical staff. He’s getting into individual doing some drills there. So his ease back into play is going really well. And over the next few days, we’ll see him get into practice, but I’m in no rush to rush him back. And when he’s healthy and he’s ready to come back, you know, that’d be, the medical staff would determine that time, but I’m not worried about Kinlaw at all. He’s been doing everything that we asked him. Kinlaw is a guy who’s been here probably the most during the offseason, just training and working on his body, getting where he needs to be. So I’m not worried about Kinlaw at all. He’s going to be fine for us.”

Looked like DL Arden Key forced a fumble in the backfield. What are you seeing from him early on in camp?

“Yeah. Arden Key, another guy we added. He’s doing a really good job. Key has been very effective rushing the passers. Watching practice, he’s always around the quarterback. That’s one thing about him. He has a really nice neck, nice feel for rushing the passer. And he’s a long guy who can run, can bend really well. You see today he scooped up a fumble, ran it back for a touchdown. So, he’s a guy who can make plays for us. I’m excited to put on the pads and get in again. I’m excited to see where he fits in our scheme and where he can help us.”

It feels like there’s a healthy rivalry between WR Deebo Samuel and WR Brandon Aiyuk and CB Jason Verrett, DB Jimmie Ward, CB K’Waun Williams. Have you seen them really kind of elevate each other’s play throughout?

“Yeah, it’s really great watching our receivers, watching Deebo and Aiyuk with Verrett or K’Waun, Jimmie, those guys work together to help each other. And they’re always challenging each other and pushing each other. And that’s how you become better as a team. That’s that true brotherhood where guys aren’t, we’re competing, but we’re also helping each other. ‘Hey, you can run this route a little bit better here. Hey, this coverage where you can do this a little bit better.’ So that’s iron sharpening iron, and that’s what we have. We have really great guys. That’s a great example of our team. Just wide receivers and DBs, they’re competing every day when the ball is snapped, they’re competing every day, but they’re also cordial off the field. They know how to work together and they have fun with each other. So, it’s good to see that chemistry. Good to see those guys work together the way they do it.”

It’s pretty evident LB Fred Warner’s impact. Not just in the past seasons. Just started camp, he’s pretty much everywhere. Do you think he’s changing sort of the mold of what a linebacker is with what he does on the field?

“I think the way the game is changing with a lot more passive, a lot of spread offenses, you know, there’s a lot of running involved now with the linebackers. So there’s no more, 250 pound, big linebackers running downhill. You have to be able to be athletic. You have to be fast. You have to be able to cover backs, covers tight ends. And that’s what Fred does. He fits the mold of the new age linebacker. I’d say before he can do it all. And I think that’s where the game is going. And those are the type of linebackers that we look for our scheme.”

What did you think of the pass rush today? Just because it seemed like outside of Warner’s free run through, the quarterbacks had all day to throw it seemed like.

“Yeah. You evaluate pass rush in training camp, again, we don’t want to get too close to our quarterback. The pass rush has been consistent. It’s been good all throughout training camp and guys have done a great job of just protecting themselves, protecting our quarterbacks and easing up when it’s time to ease up. So overall pass rush has been consistent and I’m very pleased with them.”

It looks like this is a really good environment for DL Samson Ebukam to kind of flourish. He seems to be working well against OL Trent Williams and other kind of rivalry?

“Yeah. I mean, for our ends, Samson, Arden, and all those guys, for them to be able to go against Trent Williams, [OL] Mike McGlinchey, it’s the best work they can have. And Samson has been very active. He never stops rushing. He’s always pushing the pocket forward. Samson has done a really good job. And I know it’s just again, I talk about that iron sharpening iron, he’s getting to go against an All-Pro tackle every day in practice. So that’s only going to elevate his game and make him better. Trent Williams is probably one of the best tackles to play the game. So, for Samson and all of our guys to get the work versus Trent, it’s just great work. I would say that. It’s just hard to explain and you don’t get to go against guys like that all the time. So it’s just really good to see Samsung be effective also versus Trent and not Trent always getting the best of him. So it’s good to see a good back and forth there as well.”

You talked about it a little bit with Trey running some options stuff and how much that’ll help. That’s been one of the few things that seems to really bother the defense the last couple of years. Just how much of a difference do you think it makes having him do that as opposed to trying to have WR Richie James or wide receiver run that option?

“Yeah. With the option plays, zone read type plays as much as you can get a realistic look of it, the better it is. So I think for us getting a great look from Trey, I mean, very dynamic runner and thrower. He can do it all. So for us to get a, a great look from him, it’s the best thing we can ask for a defense. And we don’t have to try to manufacture it by putting a wide receiver at quarterback or a running back, back there and trying to do the old wild cat stuff. Like we get a real live look at a very bonafide quarterback who’s capable of running all those plays. So I’m thankful for our offense for running those plays to give us the work.”

Just confirming that it was a routine maintenance day for LB Dre Greenlaw.

“Yeah. I think Dre had just a little issue with his foot, but overall Dre will be fine. Nothing. Nothing’s good.”

Verrett had a good day. He broke up a pass and had the interception. Do you think if it gets there, you would maybe let him travel with receivers?

“Whatever we need to do defensively to win a game, that’ll go with our weekly defensive scheme. Whatever we need to do. JV is very capable of doing that. That’s the type of skillset he has to go match the number one receiver every week. Are we going to do that every week? No, our game plan will vary and we’ll do whatever we need to do that particular week to get the win.”

You ever been on a team, either coaching or as a player, where the energy coming from that defensive line corner that defensive line coach Kris Kocurek brings is as palpable as this one?

“No, never seen that energy like that. It’s close with [Denver Broncos defensive line coach Bill] Kollar is a really good D-Line coach that we had in Houston, but nothing like coach Kocurek. I mean his consistent energy day in and day out. And it’s not just an energy with him, it’s also just the detail that he has in his teaching approach and the love that he has for his guys. He is all D-Line all the time and making sure those guys are getting everything. Everything they need, he brings it every day. That’s one thing I love about him, it’s never an up or down day. It’s consistent energy day in, day out. And then you add in [assistant defensive line coach] Daryll Tapp, he’s another ball of energy. He brings it. He is similar to coach Kocurek. They both are very high energetic guys and they get their guys to play hard each and every down. And that’s all you can ask for defense line coach. He has done a fantastic job and I’m very happy to have him on my staff. He’s just a great asset, a great mind, a great teacher.”