Defensive Coordinator DeMeco Ryans Press Conference

Defensive Coordinator DeMeco Ryans

Press Conference – November 12, 2021

San Francisco 49ers

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How much of your time the past couple of days has been spent on trying to figure out if and how the Rams might use Los Angeles Rams WR Odell Beckham Jr.?

“Man. I had so many more problems before him and now there’s extra problems. No, the news broke yesterday, I think. And everyone knows OBJ is a great player, he’s been a great player in his league for a long time. The Rams already presented us with a ton of problems with the guys they had, a pretty good team already. So for them to add OBJ is a really good add for them and a big challenge for us. But at the end of the day, players got to go make plays. So we’re up for the challenge. We have to go out and just play our game and make plays. It doesn’t really matter who lines up across from us. It’s just all about our mindset, our mentality. Going against these guys, we just have to be ready to go work, play our technique, play with great effort, play together and we’ll be fine.”

What happened Sunday because it didn’t look like the typical defensive effort you’ve had?

“Yeah. It wasn’t great. It wasn’t good at all. And what happened was we gave up way too many explosive plays and I think the most explosive plays we’ve given up this entire season. And the problem with that is we didn’t tackle well, we didn’t track the ball carrier well. And when you do those types of things, you give up that many explosives, it’s not going to be a great outing. So yeah, we have to, collectively, play better, play together as a unit and we have to we have to tackle better, we have to track better. We have to do a lot of things better, if we want things to change.”

With DB Emmanuel Moseley and CB Josh Norman battling injuries, how much confidence do you have? How much confidence do you have should CB Ambry Thomas and DB Deommodore Lenoir have to contribute?

“I think Ambry and D-MO, both of those guys have been working. I think they’re coming along really well and if it comes to it, those guys can go out there and play for us. I think they’ve been getting better these past couple of weeks. They’ve been getting better and they’ve been fighting to earn the right to be out there. So I’m happy with where those guys are and where they are progressing.”

With Ambry, I think head coach Kyle Shanahan mentioned yesterday on the radio that he needed to add a little bit more strength coming out of college after sitting out last year with COVID, was that the case? And can he do that in half a season, add some strength that is?

“I think you can do that. You can add strength throughout the season and the biggest thing about that position, being on the outside over anything, it’s all about confidence and mentality. You got to have the right mindset to be on the island, which is one of the toughest positions to play in NFL, corner. So you have to have the right mindset and I think Ambry is coming along really well. I’m really pleased with where he is now. And I think, he’s put in the work to give himself a chance and be in a great position for us.”

Kyle indicated it was not his decision or it was your call to bench Norman after his penalty. Why did you do that?

“Yeah, we’ve handled that internally. So that’s between us and I’ve already talked to Norman about that and so we’re good.”

What did you see from the Tennessee Titans, what they did to the Rams, can that kind of serve as a blueprint for you guys on Monday night?

“The Titans, they played them really well. The one thing the Titans did, they play hard and their D-line really got out after the offensive line. You can tell, they put pressure on the quarterback with their front four and I think that’s what helped them. And also, they took the ball away, in this league every week we talk about turnovers and taking the ball. If you want to win, you have to win the turnover battle. I think that’s what the Titans did. That’s the blueprint they showed, but that’s the blueprint for every game in the NFL. Like you have to win the turnover battle. We have to take more defensively and we have to secure it offensively.”

How do you approach this game when you’re facing a team that’s in 11 personnel as much as it is, does that kind of streamline things as far as what you guys concentrate on or does it open up more problems? How do you just go into a week like this?

“Yeah, it’s kind of what a lot of teams are going to now. You don’t see as much 12 and 21 personnel. So that’s pretty much been the kind of theme for most weeks for us where teams are going heavy 11 personnel, but with the Rams, they are pretty good in that they can do everything out of 11 personnel with the personnel they have. I think with a great player as Los Angeles Rams WR Cooper Kupp is, he gets in there, he blocks and he can block just as good as a tight end on some of the run plays that they have. So with the personnel that they have, I think they they’re able to get away with it just because of the talent that they have at that receiver position.”

When you say get away with it meaning they can still run the ball?

“Yeah, they can still run the ball there. They’ve been successful running the ball. We know that’s what [Los Angeles Rams head coach] Sean [McVay] wants to do, first and foremost, he wants to run the ball. They do a good job, the offensive line and the receivers blocking. That’s the one thing that sticks out the most watching these guys on film is the effort of their receivers blocking in the run game.”

You were, I think, a team captain for most of your football career. When a team is whatever it was 3-5 or just struggling, what was your approach as far as leadership and rallying the guys?

“Yeah, when things aren’t going good, as a leader or whatever it is, I think everybody just has to take a step back and hit the reset button. And one thing that happens when things aren’t going well, everyone tries to panic and you try to find this reason, that reason, everybody just has to hit reset and just get back to doing the basic things the right way. And it’s football, so we have to tackle, we have to attack the ball, we have to run it, we have to throw it and catch it. We just have to get back to the basic, the fundamentals. And when I was ever in these positions, it’s just reminding guys to get back to what got you here. Remind guys what got you into the NFL. What made you special. What sets you apart. Just go be that guy. And when you’re that guy, you go do it on Sunday, Monday, whenever it is. When you go do that, collectively, everybody doing that as a team, that’s when things are changed. It’s not about pressing and trying to do something different. Everybody just has to be themselves, be who you are. And the reason why you were in this position, why you’re in the NFL, just Playmakers got to go make plays. That’s one thing I was telling our defense is that’s when things will change. No matter how you look at it in this league, playmakers make plays. And when your playmakers are making plays, you got an opportunity to go win and change things.”

You strike me as more of a lead by example type, but how you would talk, was that screaming and hollering, is that– there’s been talk about, ‘oh, the Niners have quiet leaders, etc… and they need someone to scream and yell and carry on. Can that be effective? Or is that like maybe it’ll get guys charged up for five minutes?

“Yeah. I think, the screaming and yelling, that goes well with some people, some people it doesn’t. And how long does that last? I don’t see that always an effective form of leadership. I think, like you said, leadership is by example, it’s how you work in practice throughout the week. It’s how attentive are you in the meetings, how detailed are you with your notes and how you go play on Sundays. That’s what matters. That’s setting the example. Going in and playing to the best of your ability. When you’re playing up to the level of your ability, that’s to me, that’s leading. Some guys can talk and not play, if you’re going to talk that’s okay, but back it up with your play and guys will follow along, but everybody has to be a leader in their own right. And just play to the level of their capability.”

When Lenoir is he getting outside and nickel snaps during the week? How are you bringing him along this season?

“Yeah, Lenoir, he’s focused more, he’s been more on the outside, but we’ve also been getting him some inside reps as well. And he had some reps out there today, yesterday. He looked good in the inside as well. So he’s juggling both. He’s doing a good job of it.”

When you’re looking at a young guy who potentially could be a nickel, what do you look for? Is it sort of tackling ability, feistiness or what are the attributes that you’re looking for?

“Yeah, well that nickel position now. We’ve talked about like the 11 personnel and more teams going into that. So that nickel position now, to me, you’re a hybrid, you’re almost a linebacker. So you have to be able to be tough enough, physical enough to be able to fit the run. Nickels have to be physical guys, but you also have to have quick feet. You have to be quick enough to mirror some of the slot receivers who are sometimes some of the quicker players on offense. So you have to be able to have that foot speed and lateral quickness to cover guys in the slot as well. And the nickel as well, one thing that makes the nickel stand out is you have to be a really smart player. Because like I said, as a linebacker, you’re doing both. You ahve to understand run fits and you have to be great in pass coverage, whether it’s man or zone. So nickel has to be a very smart player. And one thing we have with [CB] K’Waun [Williams], he’s a very smart guy, very sharp player, physical. He does it all, blitzing, covering. He can do it all. And D-MO has a great guy in front of him who he can learn from.”

You had referenced best players have to be their best. LB Fred Warner acknowledged he’s not having his best season, as a former linebacker, what does he need to improve to reach that level he was at?

“Yeah, I think Fred is fine. Fred will be fine. Like I talked about earlier, he doesn’t need to press. He doesn’t need to press and feel like he has to do something special or extra ordinary. Fred just has to be Fred and go play like he’s always played. He doesn’t have to put extra on his back and do more because we don’t have this guy or that guy, he just has to go. He just has to go play and be Fred and everyone around Fred has to play better as well. So it’s not just on Fred, every player should look at themselves internally and always want to do better and be better for the team. That’s everyone. It’s not just Fred. It’s everyone on the team. We all expect it, I tell guys you should expect the best out of yourself and he knows what he’s capable of doing and Fred will be fine. He just has to keep playing ball.”