Defensive Coordinator DeMeco Ryans Press Conference
Defensive Coordinator DeMeco Ryans
Press Conference – November 10, 2022
San Francisco 49ers
“Alright guys, just to open it up. I know everyone saw the news, heard the news about [CB Jason] Verrett, but it’s just an unfortunate, devastating injury for him and for us. We all feel for J.V. We know the work that he’s put in to come back and we’re all saddened about what happened to him. J.V. is an unbelievable person, unbelievable leader and for us, he’s been tremendous. Leading these young guys and giving us everything he’s had, so it’s just an unfortunate thing. We’re praying for J.V., that he’s able to bounce back and recover. He’s been through it before, we know he will. Strong man, so all our thoughts are with him at this time, because we know how difficult it is for him and we know how much work he put in, how dedicated he was to coming back and helping his team, so it definitely hurts for us. The guys are with him and the guys around him will pick up the slack and be ready to roll.”
How did he get hurt?
How close was he to probably playing on Sunday? Were you expecting him to debut?
“We were still working through it to see where he would be by the end of the week, so as he’s been in the past, we’ve just been giving him time to work back into it.”
He has such a big presence in the locker room. What’s the mood like? What was the mood like at practice today?
“Yeah, as you guys would expect, it’s a somber mood because all those guys have seen him working on the side, seeing him being back out there and the energy that he brought to the team, just him being back out there working, everybody seeing him work, it was definitely uplifting for the entire team to see him, so when you see him go down, it’s just a somber move for everyone, coaches, players, everyone. And our support staff, everyone just feels for him.”
What does it do to the cornerback room, just mentally because you’ve suffered a number of big injuries this season in that room?
“Yeah, the thing with injuries, they are tough, but it happens to everyone in this league. So for that room, guys just understand the position they’re in. It doesn’t change. You’re always competing to be your best. You’re always competing with yourself and guys just have to continue to do that. Guys don’t have to do anything different. You have to just continue to hone their skills, work their techniques and give us the best that they can give us.”
In the cornerback room, you talked about how Jason is kind of a pseudo coach in there. Who are some of the young guys he’s especially given tips to and encouragement?
“Yeah, just watching him throughout the years, the way he worked with E-man [CB Emmanuel Moseley]. Throughout his time here you see the development of E-man and all the younger guys, I think just pouring into him whether it’s safeties, talking to [DB] Jimmie [Ward], talking to Huf [S Talanoa Hufanga], it’s all the guys, not any one guy in particular, but just all those guys when he talks, all the guys listen.”
You told us the last time he went through this that he almost retired. Was he close to doing that again after Week One last year?
“I’m not sure. I can’t answer that for you. That would be a question for him.”
You had LB Oren Burkes step two weeks ago and play every single step after being on special teams. I assume that if LB Dre Greenlaw’s back and LB Azeez Al-Shaair’s back, he’ll to go back to special teams, but how big is that for him to be able to do that and produce in case he’s needed down the road?
“Yeah, that’s where guys, you get your opportunity in this league. You never know when it’s going to come. So are you ready? You don’t know until you’re thrust into that moment, into that position and Oren, he stepped in and he did a good job for us, played the entire game, made some big plays for us and he stepped up and did what he was supposed to do for the team. And then whatever his role is, the great part about Oren, he’s a smart guy who’s always ready to step in and help out at either one of those linebacker positions, so I’m proud of the way he stepped in for us and made some big time plays for us.”
Has S Tashaun Gipson Sr. since he got here, exceeded your expectations?
“Watching Gip, you always seen that he’s been a starter in this league. He’s been a top player in his league, so he didn’t exceed my expectations, but he’s been everything we could have hoped for. To get a guy that late and the ease of transitioning him coming into our scheme, very smart guy picked up on it very well. And not only just smart, but a good player. He’s made a lot of plays for us, coming out of the post, making some really nice tackles for us and he’s been a calming force in that back end for us. And so I’m proud of Gip and happy that we were able to get him when we got him, because normally you don’t find good players during that time.”
Do you have any guess as to why he was unemployed in mid-August?
“No, not sure why, but I’m happy he was. He’s employed now. That’s all that matters.”
What kind of progress has DL Drake Jackson made and what’s his state of readiness if DL Samson Ebukam can’t go for a bigger role?
“Yeah, Drake has been progressing each week. I’ve seen Drake be better and better each week, so Drake has to just continue to do what he’s been doing, man, I’m happy with where he’s headed. He’s been doing some really good things for us and I think he’ll continue to get better with the more reps that he’s given. He’ll continue to get better and make plays for us, so I’m happy with where he is.”
Can you just speak to the Los Angeles Chargers front line, they’ve surrendered the least amount of sacks in the NFL so far?
“Yeah, the Chargers, I think with them surrendering the least amount of sacks, I think it’s in part because of the quarterback play. [Los Angeles Chargers QB Justin] Herbert is a very talented quarterback. He does a good job of getting the ball out very quickly, going through his progressions and the accuracy is really good. This guy’s one of the top quarterbacks in this league. You talk about the movement skills in the pocket and being able to make any throw on the field, I think that’s part of the reason why those guys don’t have to block for long, because he’s making smart decisions with the football.”
I don’t know how far you go back when you’re watching film of the opposing team, but he had a pretty severe rib injury that he played through. The feeling down there is that he’s just about back to being normal again. Can you see that or could you see that he was impaired a little bit on older film?
“Oh, for sure. You can see, a rib injury, if anybody’s going through it, it’s tough and you definitely don’t want to take more hits. So you see his game change a little bit. You see him getting the ball down to the check downs a lot more, getting the ball out even faster, but you see this last week him starting to move around. He could still move in the pocket, athletic guy, big guy. He can move around and make plays on the move, so he’s a very dangerous guy that we have to be on our toes, have to be ready for him.”
What makes Los Angeles Chargers RB Austin Ekeler such a dangerous player as both a big play threat but also has a check down option too for Herbert?
“Yeah, I think Austin, he’s a guy, if you watch their offense, he’s a guy that is trustworthy. He seems like a guy they can count on, whether it’s running the ball, catching the ball, in the check downs and gaining positive yards. He gets a lot of catches because it seems like the quarterback can trust him and he does good things with the ball in his hands, so all around tough player, whether it’s blocking, running the ball, catching the check downs or screens. Really respect Austin and what he’s done for himself in this league. He’s a really good player.”
The only running back who’s had any receiving success is RB Christian McCaffrey against you guys. How can he help you guys, as far as inside the building, slow down one of those versatile kind of running backs?
“Well I think every guy is his own guy, so I don’t put Austin in that category with Christian. We’re happy he’s on our side now. We don’t have to deal with him anymore, but Austin poses a different set of problems, both good players.”
How are Azeez and Dre progressing back and how much can they help stop Austin?
“Yeah, we would love to have those guys back. When you’re able to get two of our top players back in the middle of our defense. There’s so many things that they can stop with their speed, their athleticism, their physicality that they bring to our defense. They are our defense. They symbolize everything I ask for in our defense, whether we talk about speed, physicality, like those two guys show up and make plays for us all over the field, so I’m hoping we can get those guys back because they can help the passing game, run game. They play sideline-to-sideline, so Azeez and Dre are really two good players that we’d love to have back.”