Photo courtesy of the San Francisco 49ers

Photo courtesy of the San Francisco 49ers

Jim Trotter breaks down why 49ers are high on DeMeco Ryans

Jul 20, 2021 at 1:30 PM--

The San Francisco 49ers promoted DeMeco Ryans to defensive coordinator after Robert Saleh left to become the head coach of the New York Jets. Ryans was asked in June what fans can expect to see from his defense this season. Was he planning to follow the same blueprint that Saleh laid out, or were some bigger changes on the horizon?

"Our defense will be a fast, attacking, aggressive defense," Ryans responded. "I want guys to play fast. I want guys who are smart. I want guys who are going to play physical. That's one thing for me is just growing up, watching the 49ers play defense. The defense has always stood out here. This has been a defensive organization. They played great defense in the past, and we just want to continue that tradition of playing aggressive defense."

The new coordinator shared that the focus would remain on the fundamentals and executing at a high level. It sounds like, at least at first, fans can expect to see a similar scheme and attitude on the defensive side of the football as in previous years. However, it may include some wrinkles from Ryans to make the system his own.

NFL Network's Jim Trotter has a lot of confidence in Ryans' ability to transition to his new role. The former NFL linebacker has earned a great deal of respect over the years.

"One thing about DeMeco Ryans, he is a guy within the organization that many people believe is on that track to become a head coach one day," Trotter told Marc Ross and Andrew Siciliano. "He's very studious. He's very serious about his work. He's a former player who relates well to players, and he has put in his time. So they are very high on DeMeco Ryans about what he can bring to this defense and for what his future is."

Ross also has a lot of respect for Ryans but doesn't assume the transition will be 100 percent seamless, noting that there is a lot of nuance to being a defensive coordinator.

"Has he had enough seasoning to do that?" Ross asked. "Obviously, the 49ers believe so. But sometimes, you can't just assume, 'OK, we lose a great coordinator ... who's the next man up?' This will be a big challenge for DeMeco Ryans. Hopefully, he can do it because he's a stand-up guy, but that is a concern on the defense."

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