Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

49ers’ DeMeco Ryans discusses the challenges of facing NFC West quarterbacks

Jun 3, 2021 at 8:31 AM--

Wednesday represented the first time DeMeco Ryans sat down and spoke with reporters since being named the defensive coordinator of the San Francisco 49ers in January. He has the difficult task of replacing Robert Saleh, who is now the New York Jets head coach.

An even bigger challenge might be stopping the quarterbacks within the NFC West. Not only does he have to find a way to slow down Russell Wilson and Kyler Murray twice a year, now he has to worry about Matthew Stafford being in the division.

Ryans was asked about that challenge on Wednesday, and the coach shared his thoughts on each opposing quarterback.

Russell Wilson of the Seattle Seahawks

"I think when you look at the quarterbacks in our division, first starting at Seattle with Russell Wilson, just seeing him over the years, he is a true competitor," Ryans said. "He's going to keep his team in the game. He's able to make plays, not only with his arm, but also with his legs. He is a competitor.

"So it's someone we've went against in the past and have a history with. He's gotten us a couple of times, we've gotten him, but we kind of know him. But you know it's always going to be close there with Russell because of the competitor that he is."

Matthew Stafford of the Los Angeles Rams

"Then you go down to L.A. with the addition of Matt Stafford," Ryans told reporters. "I think it was a really great addition for them, their offense. And the things that Stafford has been able to do throughout his career, he's really been a top quarterback in his league when it comes to the fourth-quarter comebacks, which he's very known for.

"But he provides leadership to that offense, and he's going to be a playmaker for them. So he'll present a lot of challenges, whether it's calling it at the line of scrimmage -- whether he gets more leeway with that, we'll see. But we'll see how their offense comes along with him. A few unknowns there, but kind of wait and see."

Kyler Murray of the Arizona Cardinals

"And then you go down to Arizona, and Kyler Murray is a fantastic young player, dynamic player who is electric when he's running with the ball, has a big arm to sling it across the field as well," Ryans said. "So we know he's definitely a hard out, so to speak. He's a hard out.

"But again, it's a guy that we've grown to kind of know. You know the type of competitor that he is. You know the playmakers that they surrounded him with. So, we feel like they'll be better this year, and they'll have a ton of challenges as well."

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