Defensive Coordinator DeMeco Ryans Press Conference

Defensive Coordinator DeMeco Ryans

­­Press Conference – August 3, 2022

San Francisco 49ers

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After a practice like yesterday, things were getting physical there. With LB Fred Warner, is there anything you feel like you need to say to him in terms of walking that line between kind of pushing it and going over?

“I think Fred has done a great job of leading this team, leading this defense so Fred understands the limits. It’s training camp, it happens all the time and at all 32 training camps, I’m pretty sure scuffles and things like that happen. You want guys to be smart and understand we are teammates and it doesn’t go further than that, but scuffles are going to happen in training camp and that won’t change. But guys just understand you just have to be smart and continue to protect the team. That’s what we preach to our guys, just continue to protect the team in everything that we do on the field and off the field.”

CB Deommodore Lenoir made a couple plays today at practice. How’s his camp going?

“D-Mo has continued to progress and get better. He still has a way to go in improving and showing that he can go out and do it on a consistent basis. That’s one thing for not only D-Mo, but for all of our guys, how consistent can you be? We want the consistency. I told guys it builds trust, so if you can go out and perform each and every day at a certain level, your guys around you can trust you. So you have to build that, you have to earn it from your teammates by going out and showcasing it, each and every day. And D-Mo is headed in the right direction.”

With CB Darqueze Dennard, how have you seen him from his performance at the end of last season continue to make strides in camp?

“Yeah. Dennard, he’s been in at the nickel and he’s again, another guy who’s learning. He came in last year and did a good job for us on short notice. He’s done a good job. And now we have a lot of things in, so he’s done a good job of picking those things up, but he’s another guy in that same boat that all these guys are just competing for a spot. All these guys are competing, trying to show that they belong and Dennard has done a good job each and every day. He’s done a good job. He’s gotten better. And hopefully that continues to transcend in the right direction, but he’s there. He’s headed there. He’s doing good for us.”

I saw Samuel Womack III get some first-team nickel snaps today. Is that a competition there or was it more about giving Dennard some snaps off because he’s a veteran?

“Yeah. With the way we roll our guys, we’re just rolling them. So for me, and I tell our coaches, it’s no ones, twos, threes we want to see guys get in and compete against everyone. Nobody’s a set one, nobody’s a set two or three right now. Everybody is competing so we’re going to mix a lot of guys in. So, if you see guys out there in practice with the ones or twos, I wouldn’t put any credibility in that. There’s not any weight there because guys will be mixed in each and every day, so you won’t see anything until the time comes for the season.”

What do you look to see out of DT Javon Kinlaw’s part of the practices and team drills, what are you looking to see from him?

“Kinlaw, I tell him every day I walk by him and just say technique, technique, technique. That’s the main thing. If he just goes out and just owns his technique, we’re kind of ramping him up when he gets a few reps a day, then we’ll add more on. But the only thing Kinlaw has to focus on is just improving his technique. Kinlaw is a special player, special talent, but he just has to get back to playing football. It’s been a while for him. I like where he is. He’s not pressing, he’s not trying to do too much. He has the right mindset every day to go out and get better. And I’m seeing that from him in the individual drills and also in the team drills, he’s done a good job these past couple days.”

Outside of those individual competitions. What are the biggest things you’re looking to see at this point in camp?

“I think the biggest thing right now this camp is we have a lot of things in defensively. So the thing for me is, who can handle it mentally? At this point in camp, you’re tired, it’s been long days, you’re tired. Who can still handle it mentally in the meeting rooms and on the field? Going out and performing, when you are tired, you are worn down. Can guys still go out and perform, communicate at a high level? That’s where I’m looking at for training camp right now.”

Can you speak to how long it typically takes a player to reach that level of consistency where the concepts and the technique and being able to play fast, all comes together?

“I think it’s different for each player. Each player, depending on their processing, how they learn it, I think it’s different. Some guys get it quicker than others. Some guys it may take two years to get it. Some guys get it their first year, so it’s all depending on that player and, also, how much time that guy’s putting in. Not only when they’re with their coaches, but how much time are they putting in by themselves studying. And when you can see that, when guys come back and they perform at a high level, you can tell the guys who’ve been watching film and studying on their own, learning from their previous mistakes and actually getting better.”

What interaction have you had with QB Trey Lance through camp? Whether it’s on the field or just crossing paths out here. Do you tell them we’re coming after you or we’re cover zero or nickel blitz?

“Nah, it’s just been for me and my interactions with Trey I just always try to encourage him. I think he’s been doing a great job. Just so anytime I am in passing with him, it’s always just a word of encouragement to keep going, because I think he is really doing a great job of really taking hold of our offense and leading those guys. You just see him growing as a leader. You see him getting better. I’m encouraged by that. And just want to keep encouraging him and understand that we’re all in this thing together. As a defense, I want to make sure he has short fields to work on, so making sure our guys are playing at a relentless level, attacking the ball to put him in short field situations to help him out. If we surround him the right way, he should be good.”

T Trent Williams said that you guys know their plays, their formations, everything that the offense is running and that basically whatever Trey gets he’s worked for. Do you notice him making adjustments, doing things like that?

“Trey is a very smart player. Even though sometimes we do. Our guys have been seeing these plays for a while and sometimes they’re on it. Sometimes they’re not on it, everybody makes mistakes here and there, but it’s just the way you see Trey creating and making plays even though guys may be in the right spot. He’s still able to move around and create plays. And that’s what’s encouraging to see, and I’m excited to see him go out and actually play against someone else, because he’s done a great job versus us, so I’m excited to see him go play against someone else.”

Through the first week, WR Brandon Aiyuk’s been making a lot of plays and kind of wearing the defense out. Can you just talk about the challenges of a wide receiver who can beat you at all three levels and how that affects you as a play caller?

“Yeah B.A., I think he’s done an exceptional job of just getting better at his technique. And the thing you love about B.A. is just the contested catches that he makes. It doesn’t matter. Guys are in tight coverage on him. They’re competing. They’re where they’re supposed to be, but when the ball is up, he just goes up with aggressive hands, comes down with the ball. So it’s fun to see the competition that goes on with B.A. and our corners, our safeties. And it’s great to see him at the place where he’s at right now, playing at a really high level.”

I know you said don’t read much into first, second, third, whatever, but CB Ka’dar Hollman did get some run yesterday with the first team with CB Charvarius Ward having a rest day. Is that a reflection of his play?

“Yeah, Ka’dar has gotten better each day. He’s earned that. I talk about that consistency and earning the trust of your teammates. I think that’s what Ka’dar has done. He’s shown day in, he’s gotten better. He’s getting better, getting better, getting better. So yeah, he was able to hop out there with the ones, but that’s him being consistent in what he’s doing, so hopefully he continues to go in that direction as well.”

DL Arik Armstead lined up as a zero technique, nine technique and everywhere in between. Can you talk a little bit about the value of having a chess piece like that and how it assisted you when you’re constructing a game plan?

“Yeah, Arik is a very important piece to our defense. Arik was the key for us last year when we moved him inside. He really took our defense to the next level and we were able to really play better down the stretch because of his move inside, so having a guy like Arik, who’s done it at a high level on the outside, but who’s unselfishly moved inside and still able to perform at a high level, it does help the defense in a major way. His versatility has been great for us. We are expecting great things out of Arik, Kinlaw, [DL Nick] Bosa, all our guys on our D-line. They’re the ones who drive what we do. We can’t do what we do without them and [defensive line] coach [Kris] Kocurek and [assistant defensive line] coach [Darryl] Tapp have done an unbelievable job of working with those guys. And I can’t thank them enough for the job that they do and the energy they bring every single day.”

Yeah with DB Jimmie Ward, how much has it helped you to have a guy whose just kind of been a stabilizing force back there? He predates you as a coordinator, but in the time that you’ve had with him, have you seen him kind of find his voice as that guy on the back end?

“You see Jimmie becoming a true leader. When I first got here, Jimmie didn’t say much on the field, but I can see him now being in more of that leadership role. He has some younger guys that are back there with him now, but you see him becoming more vocal when it’s talking to the team or it’s bringing up the defense, he’s becoming more of that vocal leader. And one thing you don’t have to worry about Jimmie, he’s going to go out and play lights out every single day. You don’t have to worry about that. Like he’s going to bring it every day. He’s going to be consistent. He’s going to swarm to the ball. He’s going to be relentless. He’s going to compete every single day. And when you have a veteran guy who’s been in league for nine years and he’s done it at a high level. And he does it at practice every single day. It just makes the guys around you better, so I love the competitive spirit and the energy that Jimmie brings to practice every single day. And then he goes out in the game and he’s that same way. He’s one of the best safeties in this league and I’m happy to have him on our side.”