Photo courtesy of the San Francisco 49ers

Photo courtesy of the San Francisco 49ers

Transcripts: What Mike McDaniel and DeMeco Ryans said ahead of 49ers-Eagles

Sep 16, 2021 at 1:51 PM--

San Francisco 49ers offensive coordinator Mike McDaniel and defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans spoke with reporters after today's practice at The Greenbrier in West Virginia. The team is preparing to play the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday. Here is everything they had to say.

Transcript provided by the San Francisco 49ers Communications staff.

Offensive Coordinator Mike McDaniel

With WR Brandon Aiyuk, obviously all these guys are competitive and want to have large roles. How has he maybe responded this week? Just the past couple of days after maybe not having as big a role as he's used to.

"B.A. has done an outstanding job this week answering the bell. I know since he had his little setback with his hamstring, [WR] Trent's [Sherfield] got more opportunities and has done an outstanding job and deserves to get the opportunities he gets. What's been cool is watching a young guy who's always been so talented at every level, who's probably always been the default starter, regardless, because he's better than everyone, handle a small obstacle in his career. Now, he had the same amount of reps, the way the game went, in-house with the 49ers it's not like he's in the doghouse at all or anything. But responding this week, he's been running his routes hard, crisp and it's gotten better with practice so it's been very encouraging."

When you look at the practice participation report and it says full practice for him last week and yesterday, are they legitimate full practices for him or is he still sort of limited in a way? I know the snaps probably aren't, but is he is fully back from his injury?

"Now he is. We try to progressively take our time with that. You're right about that, you make sure you don't overload him right when he gets back. But he's been full participation as normal as all the other receivers that are on the active roster where we're splitting reps and trying to give guys looks for the game as best we can."

What impressed you the most how QB Jimmy Garoppolo played and when you're reviewing the film how well did he do on finding the open guy compared to the last two years?

"It was really awesome to watch Jimmy play this past game. The coolest part was Jimmy is a player that plays his best in game situations tight pockets. And historically, I think he would say this himself, the first game of the season, he's a little amped up and you're just not used to getting hit. This game was by far the best that he's had in those terms. He was awesome with the ball, protected it. Saw the field. It was very encouraging how he played and we were all pumped and I think the numbers speak for that."

How do you feel the offensive line played?

"What I can say is they blocked well. I think teams will find moving forward that Detroit presents some problems up front. But you wouldn't know that from the stat sheet and when you watched the film because of how they really attacked the defenders in the run and pass game. I think they are in a groove right now and got some confidence doing what they like to do best. And I think I'm really excited for this week because it is a tremendous challenge the Philadelphia Eagles present, their D-Line. I'm not sure how it's been advertised, but on the tape, it is as good as you see out there. So, our group is feeling confident, but knows the challenge ahead. So, they're excited to see where their game is at which we'll find out on Sunday."

Philadelphia's defensive line last year gave the team a challenge, 5.5 sacks. Do they look the same from their game film this year?

"They've done some schematic changes. They play some 3-4 looks now, but they also have, they did it all preseason, they have all their four-down stuff. I'm sure they have a couple packages waiting for us. So schematically, they're doing some different stuff and asking their players to do some stuff. And it's been very impressive that those guys that have been playing one technique for so long have the ability to still play that technique, which they do in nickel and when they're in their four-man base defense. So, it's very much like last year, but then there's an added layer where they've learned to play some two-gap stuff. And so, it's been really impressive to watch. The coaching staff, I don't know them over there, but I have a tremendous respect for them off the tape because to be able to get that done in a short period of time has been very impressive."

You obviously look for a specific type of running back for your offense. What are the qualities RB Elijah Mitchell possess where you're like in the sixth round you look at him and say 'Okay, that's a guy that we want'?

"Yeah, I like that question because what you could see on college film you saw last Sunday. He has very good vision and he has a natural feel for negotiating with blockers. There's a lot of running backs out there that they see space and they just cut right to it. It's important in our offense to press the line of scrimmage and press blockers and he did that very well. He had speed. He ran violently and got yards after contact. So that's kind of the common denominator with all the running backs that we're really looking for. You saw the same type of stuff that last Sunday on his Louisiana-Lafayette tape. It was just a little grainier tape."

What do mean press the blockers and press the line of scrimmage?

"After getting the handoff just going ahead and maintaining your track as long as you can. Whatever angle you're on, when you get the handoff, you take that handoff and as long as the offensive linemen give you the line of scrimmage and continue to block, you should continue on that track. Instead of making cuts in the backfield, he would really be in concert with his blockers, I guess is the best way to put it."

Is cutting back something you see a lot from younger backs? Do they just get impatient with a play?

"Yeah, it's hard and there's a lot of defenders trying to tackle you and you're trying to avoid that. And sometimes there's just a different type of runner out there that is very comfortable in those high-intensity situations. And I think there's a composure and vision thing that he possesses that's very good. And he doesn't go down on contact easy. He's trying to break all the tackles and he's, tough-minded that way. And it comes off in his tape. And it's what you guys saw on Sunday."

What's your assessment of, I know it was just a few snaps, with QB Trey Lance? The running plays in particular, with him and kind of where you're at in getting that part of it integrated?

"No, plays are plays in football. So, if you could predict the outcome, everyone would do those plays. I think in assessing him, in his opportunities, he did right by what we presented him. There was a couple of situations that I, as the offense coordinator, and I know [head coach] Kyle [Shanahan] looks at it this way and [offensive passing game specialist] Bobby Slowik looks at this way and everyone looks at it like, 'Hey, it's my fault. We didn't put him in the right position,' but he had nothing that that came up in that game that we're like, 'you should get better at this or that.' His second play, first pass in the NFL was a touchdown. We were pretty happy about that. And then there were a couple of run looks that weren't the best that we kind of put him at a disadvantage, which we're okay with, he's okay with, and we're moving forward with it."

How did RB Trey Sermon handle not being active for the game?

"I didn't talk to him about it. But I can tell you that the best way I know how he felt is by how he practiced this week. There was a deliberate intent and an extra focus to him, an extra aggressiveness that I think his teammates felt. So, what that told me is, 'Hey I didn't like not dressing. I want to play football. So how do I do that? I don't go and talk to people. I show people.' That's kind of the common denominator. Kyle always says to the players and coaches don't tell me, show me. And he showed I think all of us that he really wants an opportunity, which he'll get this Sunday."

Defensive Coordinator DeMeco Ryans

Now that you've gotten the chance to go through the tape, what were some of your takeaways on how the defense performed?

"I thought at the end of the day, their run fits were not as clean as I would like them to be early. We let three big runs get out on us and that's just not our style. I was disappointed in how that happened. It starts with me first and we've been working on those things, trying to get everything corrected, our issues. Our guys will be fine. Guys are responding well this week. We've had a so far great week of practice here and guys are, the effort, the intensity and the way guys are practicing has been really good."

It looked like DT Javon Kinlaw was able to get back today at some point. I don't know how much he did, but how encouraging is that? Are you expecting him to be able to play Sunday?

"It's encouraging to have him and we'll see. The next couple of days are big for him so we'll see how it goes."

LB Azeez Al-Shaair could end up playing a lot of snaps in Philadelphia. How did he do in Detroit? He played a lot of snaps there too and played a lot of different positions. How's he been this summer and on Sunday?

"I thought Azeez was really well. Azeez, he did a really great job. He stood out. Everyone could see the effort, the tackling in space, the way he played, that's the way a linebacker should play. He made a lot of plays for us. I was pumped up, excited for him, proud of the way he stepped up and played for us. And Azeez is a guy who is smart. He's a smart guy who's versatile. He can play multiple positions. So, I'm excited to see where Azeez started the season and he'll continue to get better and better, but I'm very proud of the way he played on Sunday."

Do you anticipate a lot of challenges for the linebackers by the Eagles just with the quarterback and the way they run that offense?

"Yeah, this offense presents challenges to our entire defense. They like to get on the perimeter with the screen game, the QB-run game, and they had a lot of explosive plays versus Atlanta. So, we have to do a very good job as linebackers, safeties, corners, D-Lines, everybody, it takes all 11 of swarming to the ball. So, if we do that, we'll be fine."

You talked a bit in preseason about just how much it can help you guys having a quarterback like QB Trey Lance who can give you better looks at practice. Having had a couple of days here, particularly going into a game against a mobile quarterback, what has been the benefit of that?

"Well, right now with Trey working with us on scout team, he's gave us the best looks we can ever ask for. And it's a very beneficial. We've had it all OTAs, all training camp. Trey is such a dynamic player and for us to be able to benefit from the look that he's giving us has been outstanding."

What's it been like the last couple of years because you'd have Jacksonville Jaguars QB C.J. Beathard or Cleveland Browns QB Nick Mullens doing it, but then you had to put WR Richie James in and things like that? Does is it maybe make it harder for guys to stay on?

"Yeah, for sure. When you have a guy who does it for real and a guy who's not out there just playing quarterback, a guy who does it for real, we can't ask for a better look than Trey. He's a tough player, happy I don't have to play against him."

It probably wasn't the plan to have DB Deommodore Lenoir play 90 snaps in the last game. How did he progress from the beginning of the game towards the end?

"Yeah, D-Mo was fine. He didn't blink. To be a rookie for his first game and to be tasked with that many reps. Of course, we didn't want that many reps, but one thing I liked about D-Mo, he didn't blink. He competed every snap and he was good. He continues to work and get better. So, I'm proud of the way he fought through the game, a lot of reps, but he fought through and it's encouraging to see where he can keep going."

What have you seen from his progression from OTAs until now?

"Just the confidence level has really picked up for him. And I know, as a rookie, it's a lot. We're throwing a lot at guys and they're just wide-eyed. It's a lot on their plate, so I'm proud of the way he's been consistent. And he's been consistently getting better and better and better. And the confidence level that he has, has definitely risen over the time when he first started to now."

How can you possibly compensate the loss of CB Jason Verrett for the rest of the season?

"It's tough. You don't compensate for the losses of a guy like Verrett. He's a true pro, great man, been an awesome leader for us. So, it's devastating to lose a guy like that, man. He's one of the hearts and souls of our backend, the corners and safeties. Just the way he leads and leads those guys. It's devastating news. It hurts to lose the guy and know what he's gone through. So just praying for him and his recovery process that everything goes well and he can get back to playing football. You don't replace a guy like Verrett."

What do you do? Because obviously you're going to figure it out, but NFC West, three really good quarterbacks, maybe five Pro-Bowl level wide receivers. Obviously, people might panic. How do you say you shouldn't panic about that?

"Yeah, we shouldn't panic because in the NFL, as you guys know, you just take it one day at a time, one week at a time and you see what happens. We work our tails off every week to prepare and be ready to go out and be the best for those three hours on Sunday. So, there are ebbs and flows of the season, but we don't worry about who we're going against and what challenges. It's all about us and how are we working throughout the week and how we go out and play on Sunday. That's what I tell my guys. That's why we don't panic. We just work."

Having seen CB Josh Norman for about a week and CB Dre Kirkpatrick for the past couple days, what's their state of readiness right now?

"Yeah. Both guys have come in and they've picked up on the defense. Really sharp guys. Great, great football instincts. Guys have stepped in and done really well. They've played a lot of ball, so it's not much that they haven't done, that they can't grasp. So those guys have done a really great job of getting up to speed very quick."

Norman said that you and he and the 49ers have been looking at each other for some time. In the offseason, do you have a list of go-to guys that you keep in case you do have an injury like Verrett's?

"I think just during the free agency process, when we're evaluating all those guys and when we get back from break, we're evaluating everyone at every position. Always trying to see how we can add depth to our roster, trying to see how we can get better. So, out of all those guys, however many guys that they present to us, we watch them, evaluate them and see who we like and who can help us. So, that list it can be long or it can be very short. It just depends on the quality of guys that are out there."

What'd you think of the second efforts that you got out of your pass rushers whether it was DL Nick Bosa or DL Dee Ford or DL Samson Ebukam? It seems like they had to give that second effort to get the sack to close out.

"Yeah, our pass rushers did a really good job of affecting the quarterback, disrupting him. And that was key to our game plan. How can we disrupt the quarterback? And they did a great job of just being relentless in their rush. And that's what we ask of those guys and ask of everyone is to be relentless. It's going to take that second effort, it's going to take that second surge to get to the quarterback. It's not going to be easy all the time. You have to work for it and that's what those guys did. Dee, Bosa, Samson, [DL] Arik [Armstead], all those guys were effective in putting pressure on the quarterback. And we need that out of that group every week. If we want to be successful we need that same effort every week from those guys."

Obviously, Lenoir hasn't arrived yet, but he looks like he could be a good starter in the NFL. Why was he there in the 5th round? What were some of the concerns whether it was size, what were some things that maybe were questions?

"You know, the Draft is never an exact science. You look at guys like, Lenoir or a [LB] Dre [Greenlaw] or Kinlaw like why are they 5th round picks? It's never an exact science of when you get guys. You look at first round guys who don't do so well. So, it's just a matter of just honing in on guys, seeing guys, seeing the guys that have the ability, have the mindset that can help you. And no one truly knows how the process is going to work out. We would like to say we know it all, but we don't. It's all once you get the guys here and you want to hope that they are who you thought they were and they work, they compete every day and they bring it. So, it's great to have Lenoir in the 5th round and wherever you pick, you're just happy to add guys who can go out and help you on Sundays."

Bosa's a perfectionist, obviously. What have you seen from him in his game film from Week 1 versus what he did previously?

"Yeah. You can see that he's back to himself. One thing you can count on Bosa, when he's away he's working. He's always working on his craft and you could see he popped right in there game one and he hasn't missed a beat. The way he was affecting the Lions last week, it was impressive to see a guy coming back off of such a serious injury and to see how effective he was in his first action. It's just a testament to Bosa and his dedication and his work ethic when he's away from here, when he's here he's always the same guy. He loves football, loves to go get after the quarterback. So, I'm happy for him and proud of the way he went out there his first game and he'll continue to progress and get better."

DL Dee Ford also said that he's back when he gets his first sack. He got his first sack. Does he look like he has that same speed as before?

"Yeah, Dee has been great. He's been great all offseason. He's been progressively getting better and better and he was fast and explosive on Sunday, relentless. I see Dee continuing to do the same thing."

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