Defensive Coordinator DeMeco Ryans Press Conference
Defensive Coordinator DeMeco Ryans
Press Conference – October 28, 2021
San Francisco 49ers
Let’s start with the defensive backs and what do you want to see out of them at practice this week? And maybe update us on where DB Deommodore Lenior and CB Ambry Thomas are in their development.
“Yeah, I think for our DBs, everybody has seen and heard about the defensive pass interferences and that definitely has hurt us. We gave up over close to 100 yards in penalties and we can’t do that. We can’t beat ourselves from that standpoint. We have to play smarter, we have to play better. So, we’ve been working with those guys all week, just putting them in those positions as often as we can. Putting them in positions, so they’re confident and they’re comfortable to go out and make a play in the game. And [defensive passing game specialist/secondary coach] Cory [Undlin] has done a great job of working with those guys all week and we expect them to be better as we go out on Sunday.”
What are the coaching points there because other coaches have said, if defensive backs look back for the ball, there’s a chance they lose their man in coverage? So in terms of finding that balance between looking for the ball and trying to disrupt the catch point, I guess what’s the balance?
“Right. Yeah. It’s always about just, with the DBs, being in a proper position to start. I think most times guys panic when they’re not in position, we call it in phase or out of phase. When you’re in phase with the wide receiver or tight end running a route and if you’re in phase and you’re comfortable, you can look up for the ball. If you’re out of phase, sometimes guys panic and just reach out for the guy but still understand you have time to catch up and just play through the hands, play hands to hands, when you’re not in position when that guy’s in front of you and you’re behind him, you just have to play through the hands and finished at the catch point.”
Do you feel like because you guys were struggling to create turnovers that some guys were pressing a little bit too much to try and create them?
“No, I don’t feel that way. I think we had our opportunities on Sunday to create turnovers. We were able to get two, had opportunities for a few more. If a ball hit us in the hand, we have to catch it. So, we had our opportunities for at least at least four turnovers there. We just have to capitalize when the ball is thrown to us, we have to make them pay.”
Deommodore Lenoir had a lot of playing time early in the season and he was inactive last week. Is there anything that’s going with him or is it just you thought that was the better situation?
“Yeah, he still has room to grow. Still has room to develop and learn and keep pushing. I think Lenoir, he did some good stuff for us early. He still has to continue to maintain that sense of urgency to go out and compete and be his best every week. And he’s still pushing through, still battling. So, I expect him, I expect Ambry to continue to fight, compete, to battle to be better, work on their techniques and everything they need to do throughout the week, so they can have the opportunity to be up and available for the game.”
When you guys drafted Ambry, was the expectation that he might not play a whole lot this year given that he didn’t play last year? Was this sort of expected by you guys?
“No expectations either way. When you draft guys, you don’t know for certain either way. So everything is about that developmental process for all of these guys, whether they played or didn’t play, it’s all about how much can they grasp and how quickly can guys catch on. Some guys, it doesn’t matter where you’re picked, some guys catch on earlier than others. So it’s just a matter of, for me, it’s always about just developing guys and bringing them on at their speed. You’d like it to be as quickly as they can so they can get out there and help us.”
Obviously just one practice with him back, how did DL Jordan Willis look today? Is it realistic to think he could contribute for you guys as soon as this week?
“Yeah. I’m very pleased where Jordan is. Jordan looked really well. He’s been working out here, he’s been in meetings. So Jordan, he’s looked like he hasn’t missed a beat. So I’m very excited to where he is and the shape that he came back in. It’s just a testament to him. He’s really been working hard while he’s been away. You can tell it means a lot to him and Jordan loves football. It means a lot to him and he showed up that way and he’s out to prove a point.”
With three guys missing today, DL Nick Bosa, is that a maintenance day?
“[Head coach] Kyle [Shanahan] will handle all that stuff with why these guys miss.”
How has S Talanoa Hufanga’s development been? Is he ready to take the next step?
“Yeah, Huf has done a great job and I’m trying to get him more opportunities to get out on the field. I think he really takes advantage of the times that he has ops and he’s out there on the field. You see, just like he was in college, he can create some plays for us. And I’m excited to where he is and trying to get him out on the field, even more. I think he can be a spark for us the way he competes, the way he works, smart player. I just love his intensity on and off the field, in the classroom. He does a really good job. He does things the right way, so I’m excited to see how he progresses.”
I feel like as a rookie, he’s got an incredible amount of energy. Kind of also a confidence about him as well. Do you see that as a difference between maybe some other rookies you’ve seen?
“Yeah, that’s everything with rookies, it’s not about– sometimes rookies come in and they kind of overthink it, over process and it slows them down. And I can see that with Huf, he’s confident and he knows he can go make a play. He expects to go and change the game and that sets guys apart. Football, it’s all about the mentality. If you have the mentality, you believe in yourself that you can go out and compete against anybody, you can make a play, you’ll make plays.”
How have you seen DL Kentavius Street grow now that he’s had a chance to actually play in a series of games here, strung them together a little bit?
“Yeah. Street has come along well. It was up and down for him to start off his career with all of the setbacks and injuries. But I think Street is coming along well. He’s progressing well. He’s getting a valuable playing time in there with the guys that we’ve been missing. So he’s getting valuable time, valuable reps and he continues to get better each week. Is still grinding to get better every week. So, I think Street is in a good place with his development so far.”
Is there another level that comes with just being able to actually finally play multiple games in a row and just get comfortable?
“Yeah. There is another level, it’s part of just playing, but then it’s going and not just playing, but being a factor and being a playmaker when you’re out there. It’s not enough just to be out there. We need guys, all of our guys, to step up and be difference makers for us at every position.”
Kyle talked to about Nick Bosa yesterday being so much better than he has been in the past, present-wise than his rookie year. Have you seen that from him? What do you see that’s been different since he’s started here?
“Yeah. Bosa, he’s come a long way. I think just as far as playing the game much smarter, understanding his opponent and going against and understanding what offensive tackles, what offenses, are trying to do, how they’re trying to attack him. I think early on just playing off of pure instincts, which is good enough when you’re as good as Bosa, but just taking that game another level. Playing smarter, understanding the looks, being able to move around in different positions along the D-line. I think he’s advancing as this goes into his third year, he’s advancing and I think the sky is the limit for Bosa. You don’t have many players that come around with the type of talent level that he has. The sky is the limit for him. I expect really big things out of him.”
Have you noticed him get tangibly better week-to-week the further he gets from last season’s injury?
“Yeah, and that’s the thing he came off of an ACL, a really bad injury and I’m just impressed the way he came back in, no preseason games or anything. But he came in that first game and played way more reps than anybody expected that he would play and he didn’t miss a beat. But then you know there’s more, he’s continued to progressively get better and better and better. And you think about the injury and think about where he is now it’s really amazing to see the progress that he’s made. That guy, he’s a true warrior. One of the hardest working guys that we have, and he’s dedicated to making sure we’re a successful team.”