Defensive Coordinator DeMeco Ryans Press Conference

Defensive Coordinator DeMeco Ryans

­­Press Conference – September 15, 2022

San Francisco 49ers

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This Sunday’s game, obviously S Talanoa Hufanga had a great game around the line of scrimmage. How was he on the back end and in the coverage stuff?

“I think Huf had a really good game for us. He flew around, he played with the type of energy, the tenacity, the grit that you would hope for, he stuck out amongst the entire group, just his style of play and I’m very happy with the way he played. The style of play he played with, we just have to have all 10 guys playing like that. I think Huf did a really good job and he’s only going to continue to get better, so I’m very happy with what he did for us in that game.”

Do you recall your reaction when you first heard Denver Broncos QB Russell Wilson was no longer going to be in the NFC West?

“Probably similar to everyone’s reaction. It was just shocking. You see a guy who’s been with the team for so long and has had so much success there in Seattle. So it was a little weird seeing him on Monday night in a different jersey. It is a little weird, but I think everybody had that same kind of reaction, so nothing different there for me as well.”

Was any part of you happy?

“I wouldn’t say happy. It happens all the time, for me, I’ve been in the league for a long time, so guys change teams, guys move to different places. So for me, whoever we played really doesn’t matter. Russell leaves the NFC West and we still have to play against him, so it’s really not that big a deal for us.”

When Seattle Seahawks QB Geno Smith opened up Monday night’s game by completing almost every one of his first half passes, was that a good wake up call for you guys going look we have to be on point with this guy now that he’s taken over?

“Yeah, and that’s just with everybody we play. Geno was successful. Yeah, I think they set it up for him where he can make some quick reads. He gets the ball out on time. Does a good job of going through his progressions, he’s a veteran quarterback, who’s done it for a while. So we have high respect for Geno and what he can do with that offense and the way they play. They play the game the right way. They run the ball well. They play good defense, good special teams. And they surround Geno with good players, so we have to do our part on Sunday. We have to finish. That’s one thing we didn’t do this past Sunday, we didn’t finish. We had opportunities to close that game out and defensively, we didn’t get the job done. So, for us, the thing coming in is how much better can we play? How can we help support our team and put us in position to win the game?”

How did you think DT Javon Kinlaw did the other day?

“Yeah, Kinlaw did really well. To start the game off, to get pressure on the quarterback, to forcing an inerrant throw. Kinlaw was active, he played with great pad level. Think he’s doing a really good job inside, and he played well for us. And Kinlaw is another guy who will continue to get better as he continues to play, so I’m happy with where he is. He did a good job for us on Sunday.”

How noticeable of a difference, he obviously was dealing with that knee thing for so long, but not having it and kind of being healthy, could you notice a big difference?

“Definitely, I notice a huge difference in just how he’s moving around. His demeanor, he’s in a really great space and he’s playing well for us and he’s moving around well. He’s not worried about injuries. Anytime you can get some stuff off your plate, mentally. You’re not worried about injuries. You’re not worried about rehabbing. Now you have time to focus on really getting better as a player and that’s where Kinlaw is. His focus is in the right place and you see his game improving each week.”

It seemed like he got more one-on-ones early. He was pretty effective, it seemed like they started double teaming him more.

“Being an interior guy, sometimes the way they slide to you, the way they’re sliding the line, sometimes he’s just in that position where he’s going to be doubled based on the protection that the offense is giving us. But, again, he’s doing what we ask him to do, and he’s really affecting the game. He’s helping us. He’s being disruptive inside and he’s being the player that we thought he could be.”

How frustrating are the defensive penalties considering they we’re an issue last year and the defense is just so elite when it’s not making those mistakes?

“Yeah, you don’t want penalties, that’s it. You have to play smarter. The thing about those penalties is they’re self-inflicted. Self-Inflicted penalties will kill you, so we have to do a better job of just playing smarter, continue with the same relentless effort, the mindset, but we just have to play smarter on a few of those penalties where you guys saw. They went down and scored on us on the three times we stopped them on third down and we allow drives to continue to go on. Guys in this league are too good. You can’t continue to give good players opportunities to make plays, so once we have guys down, we have to finish it.”

You’re a guy who went through training camp where you were doing two-a-days during camp and playing in all the preseason games. Do you think that maybe guys not playing in all the preseason games, I know it’s part of the agreement, but do you think that affects their chemistry right off in Week One?

“I think every guy is different. I think some guys can really handle not playing in preseason, but I think for the most part, a lot of guys do need preseason to just get that first hit out of the way, it’s a lot of guys first time going on the ground and their first action. So for a lot of guys, I think younger guys, they do need that time. They need to see just a few reps in preseason just to knock out some cobwebs, where guys who’ve played for a while. Guys who are veterans that have done it at a high-level. Those guys can get by with it just because they got a ton more reps than younger guys. So they can get by with missing a preseason, but I think there’s something to getting a few reps, and every guy is different. I don’t think it’s a team-by-team, but every guy, each individual is different when it comes to preseason, some guys need it. Some guys don’t, some guys just hit the ground rolling like they didn’t miss a beat. Some guys they come out and they’re a little rusty. They’re not tackling as crisp. They’re not quite on it where they should be communicating but, it’s always up to that individual.”

From a coach’s perspective after a loss like that, is it easier to get your players’ attention and drive a point home? Not that you don’t have their attention, but you know what I mean?

“Yeah, I don’t think as a coach, when we had that game, there is not any room to get any attention, guys already know. They know that we were in position to finish and win the game, so guys know that and they know what they have to do before. As a coach, I step in and say anything, the guys, they already know the mistakes that were made. They already know the corrections. They’re just disappointed. We’re all disappointed because we feel like we can play much better than we played and guys know that. And you don’t have to harp on it for too long, because we’re dealing with professionals here and they understand what we’re here to do.”

DL Nick Bosa got that third down sack and he wasn’t involved in many plays, obvious plays, were they neutralizing him? There weren’t that many pass rush opportunities, but from your perspective, how did he play after that?

“Yeah, Bosa did a great job. He did a really good job rushing the passer. There weren’t many pass attempts. It was sloppy conditions, so a lot of run game that we saw, so that kind of, depending on which side they’re running to, it kind of takes him out of the game, but he did a good job, good effort. He was attacking the ball. He was playing the right style. He did a really good job for us, but it was just really tough conditions for everyone out there. So when you are in those conditions, it’s just hard to get the proper foot and to go rush the passer. Guys are not dropping back as much, so you won’t have as many opportunities.”

You had one rookie out there who played a lot of snaps, CB Samuel Womack III. How did he do in his first real NFL game?

“I thought Womack, he did some good things in his first game and he also has a ways to go. He has to continue to play better for us. I thought he was okay in his first game, but we’ve been grinding him, working him to continue to up his level of play. And he’s going to do a good job for us.”

Was he, I don’t want to say at fault, but I guess what happened on the Bears WR Dante Pettis touchdown?

“It was just a breakdown in coverage. When you play a quarterback like [Bears QB] Justin Fields, a quarterback who’s going to scramble, move around in the pocket, we all knew that, but one thing you can’t do is if the quarterback hasn’t crossed the line of scrimmage, we can’t have everyone running down to get the quarterback if he’s not past the line of scrimmage. So it’s just one of those plays that, he got out of the pocket guys got antsy in coverage, and guys just undisciplined from a standpoint of trying to go get the quarterback too quickly. And he found one and it was a great play by him to be able to throw that ball back across the field and make a play like that. It was a good play by Justin Fields.”

You always expect your guys to play well and keep it clean in every game, but do you kind of attribute just it being Week One as part of kind of getting back into it?

“I don’t. I think we’ve had a lot of reps of training camp. We’ve had preseason games, so I don’t attribute it to it being Week One. I think Week One, you should come out and the focus has always been on your fundamentals and technique. That’s the things you have to rely on in Week One, and we did that for the most part. Our guys, they played their butts off for the most part. They played outstanding, we just had a few breakdowns with the penalties that we can clean up and we just got to go get the ball more. I think it was great for Huf getting the one interception, but my challenge to our guys is can we get more? Can we get more? Can we get more? So if we continue to play like we played on Sunday, play smarter and continue to attack the ball. Everyone’s going to be happy with the results on Sunday.”