Defensive Coordinator DeMeco Ryans Press Conference

Defensive Coordinator DeMeco Ryans

­­Press Conference – June 8, 2022

San Francisco 49ers

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It’s hard to kind of chart sacks in these things, but it seems like DL Samson Ebukam was getting a decent amount of pressure these last two days. Is he continuing where he left off at the end of last year?

“I think with Samson, towards the end of last year, he definitely started to ascend as far as when it comes to pressuring the quarterback. He started to gain a lot more pressure. I think the more comfortable he got, just playing the position, he’s picked up exactly where he has left off. Here in camp, he’s been doing a really good job of continuing that, getting pressure, doing those things, all the things that we ask him to do. So Samson is definitely a guy who’s getting better up front.”

DL Charles Omenihu also really picked up steam there towards the end. I noticed he was lined up at tackle a couple times today, is that kind of like the DL Arik Armstead situation last year, and also Jacksonville Jaguars DL Arden key was inside. Do you see that? Do you want to use the athleticism against guards?

“With all our guys, whether they’re ends or tackles, all those guys will move around as much as possible. So it’s nothing that’s kind of set in stone right now. We’re just working on technique, fundamentals right now and just putting guys in as many different positions as possible to see what they can do. Charles has done a good job, I think OTAs has been very beneficial for him. He came in mid-season, so for him to get all the groundwork, day-one fundamentals of how we play D-Line, this has been huge for him. I’m happy that he’s able to get these OTAs under his belt. He’s going to be much better for us just because he has a really base level of how we do things now.”

What’s been your assessment of having DL Nick Bosa back in here the last couple days, just how he looks? Does he look leaner? What’s his mindset?

“Nick is looking great, just like he left here. It’s great to have him here just around the guys. That’s the biggest thing for Nick being around the guys, building that camaraderie during this time here in the offseason. It’s about those guys just working together, being out there, going to dinner together, whatever. As much time they can spend together to become as tight as possible as a defensive unit and as a team. That’s what matters most and Nick is looking great. I’m excited to have him back in the building.”

QB Trey Lance said he noticed a different energy with T Trent Williams, Nick Bosa and WR Deebo Samuel in the building. Did you feel that change?

“Yeah, for sure. We go to mini-camp and you get some of our big-time players, Trent, Deebo, Bosa coming back in the building. Those guys are not only the talent that they have, who are definitely topnotch, all-pro players, but they bring a different energy to our team. They are big-time play makers, but they’re also big-time personalities as well. So they bring good energy. Deebo is giving the defense a hard time out there. Great to see Trent. Trent picked up right where he left off. It’s great to have your best players here and it makes practice a lot more fun.”

QB Trey Lance completed a couple of long touchdown passes on your defense today. How much stress has he been putting on your secondary this offseason?

“Trey has done an outstanding job. I think each day Trey has gotten better and better and better each day. Again, another guy who’s benefited from having these practices, these OTA practices, Trey has done an exceptional job and I know we’re proud of where he is right now. And defensively, defending him has been tough. He’s putting the ball on the money every time he throws it, the accuracy is there, the deep ball is there to show whatever he wants. He can zip in there and make a lot of plays, so I’m excited for Trey and what he can do. He’s setting himself up to have a really good season for us.”

You obviously have talked about linebackers coach Johnny Holland in the past and your relationship with him. Just from your perspective, how has he handled his health battles and have there been times during his journey where you’ve been really concerned for his wellbeing?

“Johnny throughout the entire process, he’s just been unwavering in his faith and how strong he is. As a man, he’s been very steady throughout the process, which it’s encouraging for me and for everyone else around the building, just to see him and the way he’s handled himself through it all. If he was having a bad day, it’d be hard to tell if he is having a bad day, but he’s handled himself very well, just truly been a professional through it all. I’m just proud of what he was able to do. The people he’s able to encourage with the things that he’s going through. Johnny never has a bad day. Always has a smile. Never has a bad day, always in great spirit, always great energy, so he’s been great throughout this entire process and I’ve learned a lot. How do you handle difficult situations? You keep going, no matter what, you keep going. You stay positive through it all and it’s just great to see where he is now.”

You obviously can’t measure something like this, but how much inspiration do you think you guys maybe get from him, even last season and into the playoffs?

“I think it’s huge just for all the guys, the entire team. They know what he’s going through, not only the linebacker group, for sure, I think those guys came together and played well towards the end of the end of the year. I think just overall, when you know what someone is going through, you know how tough a battle it is. We all, in life, have our own personal battles and struggles and just to see him just persevere through it all. That just encourages everyone around. Like, man, what we’re going through is nothing. We can all get through whatever it is, whatever you have going on in your life, you can make it through. Just keep the faith and just keep pushing, keep persevering. You can make it through anything you’re going through in life.”

DB Jimmie Ward talked a couple weeks ago about some plays he left on the field last year that were maybe the difference between being an all-pro and being the player he was last year. What does he need to do to sort of make those plays that sort of take him to that next level?

“I think Jimmie is an all-pro player. Sometimes those accolades they can’t come to everybody. Jimmie just has to remain the course and go play football. Jimmie is one of the best football players I’ve ever been around. Just his instincts, his feel, playing that safety position. He is a really great football player. Sometimes the accolades, they don’t show up. He just has to keep doing what he’s doing. He’s continuing to get better and [S Talanoa Hufanga] Huf out there with him. They’re both, I feel like both of those guys are working well together and Jimmie will, if it’s meant for him to be all-pro, he’ll just keep playing ball. He doesn’t have to worry about that status. That’ll come. You just play ball, have fun, do what you’re supposed to do and those accolades and things will come.”

When you were doing your offseason homework, did you take a peek at the Jets, just from a schematic standpoint? Do you give New York Jets head coach Robert Saleh a call, talk scheme or are you guys doing different things now?

“No, I haven’t, I just study. No slight to him, but I’ve just been studying what we do and how can we get better defensively? So the offseason homework for me has just been, man, what did we do well and what do we have to improve on? So really just diving in to see how can we be better? Situational football, how can we be better? How can our guys play smarter? How can our guys play with better technique? That’s what I dove in on this offseason.”

How much better is your cornerback core this year than it was a year ago?

“I think our guys have a chance to be really good. Corners, adding [CB Charvarius Ward] Mooney, [CB Emmanuel Moseley] E-Man has done a really great job this entire offseason. [CB] Ambry [Thomas] still is improving, still has a ways to go when it comes to improving and he’s working at it daily. So all those guys, there’s a lot of competition back there. The young guys we brought in with [CB] Tariq [Castro-Fields] and [CB] Samuel [Womack III], those guys have done a great job of coming in and doing what they’re supposed to do and really pushing those guys. So, it’s a really good group and I like where we are. It’s going to be great to see those guys coming back and coming to camp when it’s real football and time to take off. I’m excited for where they are now and they can still improve and get even better, so it’s going to be exciting for me to watch that.”

What are your initial impressions of DL Drake Jackson?

“With Drake, first off, just getting Drake, I’m just happy to have him because I didn’t think he would be there in that spot. Getting Drake was an awesome pick for us there. He has really great ability and he just has to keep working. He has the ability to get to the quarterback. And if he keeps working, keeps getting in there with [defensive line coach Kris] Kocurek, and learning from Bosa, learning from [DL] Arik [Armstead], learning from Samson, just diving in and really detailing out his job, Drake has a chance to be a really good player for us. The sky is the limit for him, he just has to keep working, keep improving daily.”