Defensive Coordinator DeMeco Ryans Press Conference

Defensive Coordinator DeMeco Ryans

Press Conference – November 24, 2021

San Francisco 49ers

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I think we know how head coach Kyle Shanahan feels about Minnesota Vikings QB Kirk Cousins after all these years. What’s your thoughts on Cousins and what makes him a good quarterback?

“I think Cousins is really playing at a very high level right now. I think he’s making really good decisions with the ball, has a ton of playmakers out there helping him make those plays. But think Kirk is just one of the best at when it comes to delivering the ball, getting it out and making the correct read and going where the ball needs to go and if it’s not there is probably one of the best at getting it to his checkdown and allowing them to get four or five yards there. So when you see Kirk, he’s just very decisive quarterback. Also a very smart quarterback who puts those guys in a lot of good situations.”

Have you gone through a process or your players, have they gone through the process of trying to figure out how every position group, every level fits together and how you coach them, how you want them coached, position coaches and personnel all coming together? Has that been a process?

“I think it has been a process going on. We have new coaches that are here with us, just learning my style of how we do things. So it has been a process, but I think overall, we’ve had a core of guys that have been here that it hasn’t had to change much. And it’s been a very smooth transition with the guys and our guys understand how we play. And it’s not about me. It’s just about the Niner way and the type of players that we bring in. That’s the most important thing, guys who love football, guys who are passionate about it, guys who are going to play with a ton of energy. Those are the types of guys that we bring in the organization. So from that standpoint, it’s easy to coach guys when you’ve got the right people in. So we don’t have to worry about the person. We just get the player correct with their techniques and where they’re supposed to be. But we have guys who love football, love playing football, and they’re excited about it. So that makes it easy.”

So what do you think we’ve seen? The last couple of weeks it’s been pretty good. What do you think you’ve seen? What has coming together in these last few games?

“I don’t think there’s anything drastic that happened. I mean, we’re doing the same thing. Guys are just owning the fundamentals. I think I talked earlier a couple of weeks ago when things didn’t go well, you know, in the Arizona game that everyone talks about, but we didn’t play good fundamental football. We didn’t tackle well, we weren’t where we needed to be. We didn’t make plays on the ball. And when you don’t do that, you don’t have everybody running to the ball like they should. Everybody’s not taking the proper angles. When you do that, no matter what week it is, you’re not going to have a good outing. When you’re giving up explosives it’s not going to be good. So what you’ve seen over the past couple of weeks is guys are just owning the fundamentals. Guys are just doing their job. Coverage is tight. Guys are being where they’re supposed to be. And guys are just doing their job. And that’s the one thing that happened. We had to letdown and that wasn’t us. It was very uncharacteristic of our defense that particular week. But I mean, how guys have been playing, that’s who we are, that’s who our guys have been.”

When DL Arden Key was with the Raiders he had the reputation of the guy that kind of flashed on you a little, but never quite finished. In fact, I don’t think he ever had a sack. And now he’s got three in the last three games. What have you seen from him since he got here and his progress to now?

“I see Arden as a very, very athletic rusher. And one thing that Arden has that you can’t coach his length. Arden has very long arms, it allows him to be able to get to the quarterback and get him down. He’s very good when he’s rushing inside on guards. I think that’s probably his best suit, but Arden has just done a great job working with coach [defensive line coach Kris] Kocurek in our stunts and games that we work. He’s really taken grasp of it and really owned it. And he’s just doing a good job of executing those particular stunts. And he’s done a good job of just rushing when he has his one-on-one opportunities. You know, he’s come away with pressure on the quarterback and he’s gotten the quarterback down in some very critical situations that has helped us to win some games.”

The other day DL Nick Bosa was talking about how he’s kind of improved his plan for taking on the double teams and all the things that are thrown at him. I’m curious, what kind of growth have you seen in him from just kind of the way he approaches the game on a mental side?

“Yeah, I think overall Bosa is just, he’s still, he’s a young player and as young players you think you know it all, but you have to keep going and learning and the more you do it, the more experience you have. And I think that’s what we see with Bosa is that he’s just gaining experience and the more experience he has, he’s being able to play smarter, understand how teams are trying to attack him and understanding how we need to counteract that so he can still be who he is and be a dominant player who can affect the quarterback. So Bosa is definitely, he’s learning, he’s gaining experience and he continues to get better each week. That’s the most impressive thing about him. He continues to get better. You can see he’s in a really good space physically and he’s doing an outstanding job for us.”

How do you help him? Because he was talking earlier in the season that he was frustrated with all the double teams and stuff and kind of would get defeated a little bit, even on the field. How do you kind of help him through that, knowing that, “Hey, you’re not going get there even one out of 10 times probably.” How do you help him get through that?

“That tells me he’s one of the best players out there. They’re going to put two on you. So that’s the one thing he has to understand. He’s garnered a lot of attention, which is rightfully so. He deserves it because of how affective he is. And you know, that’s a compliment to him first and foremost, that teams are paying that much attention to him because he is a guy who can wreck games. So you just, you’re appreciative of that from other teams. But you also, we’ve got to find a way as coaches to move him around and put him in better situations so he doesn’t have to worry about those double teams as well.”

This obviously isn’t just the 49ers, but your offense has a lot of positionless players. From a defensive perspective when a team does that, what is the challenge for a defense when the fullback is split wide, for example?

“I think the way our offense operates with [FB Kyle Juszczyk] Juice, [WR] Deebo [Samuel], you never know where they’re going to align and that’s the beauty of our offense and the way they scheme up plays it’s you don’t know where guys are going to align so as a defense you can’t do too much because you don’t know where these guys are. So you can’t do too much schematically. You just want to be sound, want guys to know exactly where they need to be no matter where those guys are in those different positions, but it does make it tough on a defense. If you’re trying to match up certain guys and you don’t know where they’re going to be, it can make it very challenging for teams defensively. And I think our offense is one of the best in the league at moving guys around, putting guys in certain positions. I know they probably never thought Deebo would be lined up at running back and making plays there. So it’s just, it’s a credit to those guys, Kyle and the staff have done a tremendous job of, as a coach your job is to put players in position to make plays and that’s what our guys I think do the best in the league at.”

What’s your favorite Thanksgiving dish?

“Favorite Thanksgiving dish would be the macaroni and cheese and sweet potatoes.”

Along those lines, what’s your family’s Thanksgiving traditions and do you or anyone in your family do any black Friday shopping?

“Our Thanksgiving tradition has always been, we would always, all the family always came together at one place and everybody brought their best dish. So that was your one time of the year to try out everybody’s best. So it’s always fun to just have family around, good eating. And with the black Friday, I haven’t done that in a while and now everything is online so you don’t have to worry about getting out at stores and going, running to Walmart and Target and standing in long lines. So you don’t have to worry about that anymore, doing it online now. So I don’t get involved with the black Friday.”