Defensive Coordinator DeMeco Ryans Press Conference

Defensive Coordinator DeMeco Ryans

­­Press Conference – August 10, 2022

San Francisco 49ers

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What have you seen from CB Samuel Womack III so far this camp?

“Yeah with Womack, I think for him, throughout this entire camp, I’ve seen progress. Each day I’ve seen progress. I like the way he is in man coverage; he’s been sticky, he’s been challenging. A lot of contested throws there, PBUs. So he’s headed in a really good direction, just continues to get better. I’m excited where he is and it’s exciting to see his growth and his continued development.”

I know we’re not supposed to make too much of first-team, second-team, but he had a lot of first-team run today, is that a sign that he has been playing pretty well?

“We’re just, again, we’re mixing guys in. So first, second, right now in practice based on individual groups and those things. We’re just mixing a lot of guys in, moving a lot of guys around, so that’s what you saw today.”

Looking forward to Friday, you know the first preseason game wins and losses aren’t necessarily counted, but what would you consider a win on Friday?

“A win, for me, in preseason games is to really see guys who are young guys. To see those guys when the lights come on and go out and perform. No coaches on the field with them, nobody is holding their hand, they have to go out and compete. And do what they’ve done to get them here and somewhere along the line they’ve went out in games and played well. In high school, college and now I’m happy for guys to get to showcase it on the NFL level. A win for me is to just see our guys go out and compete at a high level, play great technique and make plays. That would be a win for me.”

What are your expectations for Green Bay?

“For Green Bay, we’re expecting to have a really competitive match versus Green Bay. I think they run the ball really well. They can throw it too, so we’re expecting a really tough matchup. They’re a physical team, we’re a physical team, so I think you’ll see a physical football game with the running backs that they have, the O-line that they have, I think you’ll see a really physical game from that standpoint.

Are you happy with what you’re seeing in terms of sort of straddling the line between being physical and taking care of each other also? It seems like a couple of times each practice somebody goes to the ground and I know you’d rather have that not happen. What do see?

“As a team, we all want to stay up. We all want to be as physical as possible through contact, but keeping guys up. And there is a fine line in training camp. Guys are going to trip up and fall, but we’re the most elite athletes in the country here, so can you be an elite athlete, thud a guy and stay up. That’s what we’re expecting. We’re expecting our O-line to come off and be physical, guys to get off their blocks and just make plays by thudding guys up and letting them go. Now sometimes it doesn’t always work out that way; you just want to make sure you keep guys healthy. Guys aren’t falling into each other’s legs and things like that, so our practices, I feel like they’ve been pretty good. We’ve had guys on the ground, we’ve done a good job of being physical, but overall, I think guys have done a good job of trying to stay up, trying to take care of each other while being physical.”

Without CB Emmanuel Moseley and CB Charvarius Ward for a little bit, it seems like a good opportunity for someone to say ‘I’m the number three cornerback.’

“Oh, for sure. It’s a great opportunity. When you do have injuries, it sucks when you have guys who are out, when guys miss some time, but it’s also, for guys who are behind them, this is your opportunity. Step up, showcase what you can do, showcase what you can add to our team, what type of value are you adding to our team, so these guys will showcase that. And the depth there at the corner position, a lot of guys competing, a lot of guys battling for spots on our team, so what an opportunity for guys to step up and own it and take it.”

Do you have a feel for the role DL Drake Jackson might have for you this season and can he do some of the things that Jacksonville Jaguars DL Arden Key did for you last season?

“With Drake, he’s coming along. He’s doing a good job for us. Run game, pass game, he’s been doing a good job. As a rookie, he’s continuing to grow and develop. And when the time comes for him and how we’ll use him, it depends who’s up on gameday. How many guys we have and we’ll utilize those guys as best as we can to execute the gameplan and go out and win. So whatever it takes for Drake, whatever that best position is, that’s where he’ll be. We want to put him in position to be successful and get after the quarterback.”

How valuable is it while you’re evaluating the younger players, the rookies to see them get some looks versus a different team instead of this offense that they’ve been playing every day?

“It’s the perfect time. Everybody is kind of at that point in camp where you’re kind of tired of going against the same guy, same offense, same scheme. So it’s a really great opportunity for those guys to go out and see if they can truly own the fundamentals and techniques that we’ve been coaching these guys, pressing and stressing these guys over their technique and fundamentals. Now, can they go and take it against another receiver, another style of offense? Can they go out and perform and do the things that they’ve been coached to do? I’m excited to see those guys just take hold of that and go compete at a high level on Friday.”

Quarterbacks coach Brian Griese said last week that QB Trey Lance going against your defense is about the hardest challenge he could have. He said it’d be also nice to build some confidence along the way as well. How do you see his confidence responding when he has some really tough days against a really good defense?

“Yeah, he just bounces back and that’s what it takes in this league. Everybody is not going to have a great day. You’re not going to have the best game each and every week, but as a pro it’s how can you let the last play go and go onto the next play. The quicker you can move on, and also learn from those mistakes, but the quicker you can move on, just keeping slinging it, keep ripping it, keep being aggressive. At every position, quarterback, linebacker, whatever it is, everybody is going to have a bad down, a bad day, but you just keep going. You don’t look back, you just keep going, keep moving forward.”

Have you talked at all on the guardian helmets that the lineman have been wearing and the linebackers have been wearing, have they been well received by the players? Have they been bothered by them? Are you concerned at all that they might try to do something more that they might do because they are wearing them?

“I think the caps have been good. The guardian caps have been good. We’ve had a couple of instances in our practices where I think a quarterback has come down and hit his thumb on a helmet, and if we didn’t have those on we could be missing our quarterback for some time. So I think it’s been good on that part as far as the health and safety is concerned. And I haven’t noticed any substantial differences with the guys. We teach keeping your head out of the tackle anyway. We teach leverage-side tackling, so we don’t use our head in tackling. We don’t want guys using their heads anyways, just to make sure our guys are safe. So the guardian caps, I think it has been great for the protection of our guys and it’ll be good to see them now. I think they’ll move a little faster when they get in the game, those things get a little heavy it seems like.”

Do you have any memories from your first preseason game?

“First preseason game, I do. It was versus Kansas City. Kansas City was my first preseason game. I went out probably didn’t know the defense, didn’t know what I was doing, but I just knew to fly around and make plays. I ended up with like 10 tackles in the first half and [former NFL] Coach [Gary] Kubiak and [linebackers coach] Johnny Holland were like we can get him out of there, that’s our starting linebacker.”

You must have known what you were doing.

“One thing, same with me when I played, it’s about having fun out there. You may not know everything that’s going on, but are you playing with intensity? Are you playing with effort? Are you playing with physicality? If you do those three things, you’re going to be around the ball. You’re going to make some plays.”

I heard a couple guys say this is the best defense in the league, and they seem to have a kind of swagger about them that way. Do you like that at this stage? And do you see that potential?

“I love that from our guys. I want our guys believing in each other. That’s the main thing, believing in each other. When you say you want the best, anything you do, you put so much effort in, you put so much out and it’s hard in this league, so when you work the way these guys work, they’re working to be the best. And that’s the only way I know how to work so it’s a certain standard that we have that we want to uphold. We want to uphold a standard to the best, that’s what the Niners organization has always been about. And that’s what we want to continue to build on for our unit. They want to be the best and I’m pushing them each and every day to reach their maximum potential and to be the best in the league.”