Photo courtesy of the San Francisco 49ers

Photo courtesy of the San Francisco 49ers

Transcripts: What DeMeco Ryans, Mike McDaniel said ahead of 49ers-Packers

Sep 23, 2021 at 4:58 PM--

San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans and offensive coordinator Mike McDaniel spoke with reporters after today's practice. The team is preparing for its Week 3 matchup against the Green Bay Packers. Here is everything they had to say.

Transcript provided by the San Francisco 49ers Communications staff.

Offensive Coordinator Mike McDaniel

You have such a new group of running backs that you're working with. With this new guy RB Jacques Patrick does he come in already fairly well versed in the offense? How much getting up to speed does he need?

"There's a lot of offense and a lot of plays, so there's a lot of get up to speed in the process. There was some carry over with the scheme that they do in Cincinnati in terms of the run play specifically. So, it hasn't been starting from square one, but again, it's learning a new language. The good thing about our offensive is that you can kind of compartmentalize portions of it, learn what you need to learn. And there's no shortcut. There's been a lot of hours worked by [running backs] coach [Robert] Bobby Turner [Jr.] and him putting in. We've got a couple of new guys and that's kind of been the case for everybody. So, it's been fun and it's just opportunities to coach."

Have you been encouraged by what you've seen from RB Trey Sermon in these two practices with what he could do limited wise?

"I've been encouraged in terms of talking to him and he feels good, but again it's a protocol. So, as a coach, have to prepare, you can't be like, 'oh, well, we thought he was going play.' So, you're encouraged by it, but you approach it like he's not going to play because that's the worst-case scenario and then move on from there."

Did you spend extra time this week sort of formulating a plan depending on which running backs are available? Do you have different plays for different guys?

"Yeah, there is a part of just preparing what you can call and what you cannot call with certain people. Because again, it's a short time span from when they got in the building. So, you want them to operate full-speed and be fair to them and let them play fast. So, you think through it, make sure that schematically you don't do anything that challenges their brain too much because their job is to carry a football and not get tackled. And it's hard to do that when you're thinking too much."

With all this talk about the running backs, it makes it sound like the offense is hamstrung, but you have WR Deebo Samuel, you have WR Brandon Aiyuk, T Trent Williams. Those three guys weren't around the last time the Packers came. So, do you feel that you can dial up almost anything you want?

"No. The biggest thing is that we have a group of men, 10 other players, including the quarterback that are also responsible for running the football as well. So, you make sure that everything's tight and that everyone's comfortable doing what they do. And you don't really approach it like, 'Hey, we can't.' No, we're a professional football team and we have an organization with a great personnel department that gives us talented players. And our job is to use running backs to run and that's really all we really look at."

Kyle said there was no thought that RB Trenton Cannon was going to play on offense, obviously he did like a snap. Can you just talk about what was going on in the fourth quarter when all the running backs were getting injured?

"Yeah. It's not fun. It's not fun at all. But again, it's also challenging and that's part of our job and responsibility to the 49ers' organization and the fan base. So, you were prepared for the worst-case scenario, but you're not super pumped up for the worst-case scenario. Not because we have a ton of confidence in that player and that's why he's on our team, but more that you don't want to put someone in a position to fail. So, you want to do stuff that your players are comfortable with. So, it was wild and not the best-case scenario by any means. But that's one of the things that we preach. One thing that [Head] coach [Kyle] Shanahan preaches all the time is that doesn't matter. There's going to be turmoil each and every game. It's how do players respond? Okay. If a player doesn't know what to do, it'd be great if the fullback or tight end told them what to do. You put it on the collective and he's just in one week, far ahead of where he was last."

I think his first practice was Thursday, what percent of the offense did he know Sunday?

"I don't know. You'd have to ask him. It's funny because in those situations you don't get reps. But we don't totally know all of what he knows. You're hoping that he's observing the other players do stuff, but you kind of have to ask during the game, 'are you comfortable with X, Y, or Z,' because you truly don't know because we haven't had the opportunity to get him the reps to do it. But that's something that is important in player-coach communication that you have to be comfortable with just being honest and saying, 'yeah, coach, I don't know what that is.' And fortunately, Kyle called a play that he was familiar with and we just kept it moving."

Deebo Samuel on the radio said yesterday that on his big gainer, he lined up on the wrong side. Did you notice that immediately?

"Oh yeah. No, it's one of those fun rollercoasters where you're like, 'what is he doing? Oh, no. Oh yes!' One of those things. What was cool about it was that Deebo and [WR] Trent [Sherfield] understood the issue, still looked at the clock, had awareness. And then [QB] Jimmy [Garoppolo] specifically knew exactly what was going on, knew his issue, adjusted his technique to compensate for the formation bust and didn't blink and threw an unbelievable ball between two hook players. So, it was a roller coaster of emotion, especially when he's threading the needle through two tight defenders and then Deebo spits out across the field."

That play seemed to be sort of a turning point for the way Jimmy was playing. Was there a sense that maybe some of that chaos and just sort of how it happened might've helped Jimmy lock in in a different way? Maybe think a little bit less about everything else that was so frenetic in the first half?

"Oh, for sure. With football, the quarterback position, there's a lot of similarities to every other sports and you find a rhythm and you get a little more comfortable and you're thinking less and you're just reacting because of all your training. It is tough on players, offensive and defensive players, when you're going three and out because you don't get in that rhythm and you have all this time between series to think about what you didn't do and what's coming next, etc, etc. So, it was nice, that drive in particular, just getting a couple of first downs and him making a play to actually get us in position to make that play on the pass play and the consequential touchdown to [WR] Jauan Jennings."

I'm wondering if there's any more nuance to a quarterback sneak than we're seeing meets the eye. Is it good to have a veteran center there when you're having those crucial sneak calls at then?

"Yeah. It's center, guards, the entire offensive line, you can't have penetration on the edges. I think one of Jimmy's quarterback sneaks that he had last week, he got hit in the A-gap and then came back out and we don't get the first down if Juice [FB Kyle Juszczyk] isn't blocking the edge and Trent isn't sealing it down. So, yes, a veteran center helps, but it's the quarterback, he's a football player that's fearless. He's had success on sneaks before and every once in a while, when the game situation allows it, when his number's called, he's usually good at it."

What was the difference in terms of TE George Kittle of getting 15 catches on 15 targets last year playing the Eagles and why he only had four catches for 17 yards on Sunday?

"It's a different defense for sure. Like their front, they ended up playing us in a manner that was pretty similar to last year, but the backend and coverages dictate a lot of those things. You're trying to have an efficient offense and utilize all your skill players. But when you're getting doubled on third down or if you just have spot drop zone, it just affects things. So, the way the game played out, the way our defense was playing, dictated how Kyle was calling it. And how he was calling it was we started to build some momentum on the line of scrimmage and he didn't want to steer away from that. I think it was one of the better blocking games that I've seen and that's saying a lot from George. He had a lot of great finishes, really impacted the game as he always does whether he touches the ball or not."

We've seen a lot of like the viral blocks of Trent Williams where he's throwing somebody around. So obviously, he's big and strong and fast for his size, but are there little things that he's doing that maybe we don't see or that maybe show up on the film that allows him to be as productive as he is?

"Trent's rare in that he is a freak athlete at the position. Has been a freak athlete at the position for over a decade. But what people don't realize is how much Trent loves football. So, he continues to get better at little nuances. How to cut a defender off, how to set in pass pro. There's a lot of things that and his working relationship with [offensive line coach] Chris Foerster, I think all of that is leading him to play some of his best football he's ever played."

Kyle mentioned there was a few missed chances towards the boundary, do you feel like as an offense you need to become more efficient at taking advantage of those chances?

"For sure. No, that's the whole deal. Week in, week out, you're building towards the end. So, you don't really ever say, 'alright, finished product.' Because right there, you just lost your edge and whether you're getting exposed now or in a couple of weeks, the end is coming. So, Kyle does a good job of trying to build that culture. I think everyone buys into it where you're always building to be your best self and our best team and that's progressing through the year. We may have a great game. We might have a terrible game. That means nothing to the next week. So, I think it's awesome to get a win when you have a lot of yards and plays left on the field. So that's the silver lining to it, but whether you win or lose, you're trying to look at it that same way so that you can try to be your best football team in the home stretch when you're trying to get a playoff berth or you're trying to win home field or, whatever your team and your performance has allowed you to do the whole season."

Defensive Coordinator DeMeco Ryans

When it comes to defending the Packers and you have WR Davonte Adams and RB Aaron Jones, it's got to be more complicated than this, but can you just have a linebacker on every step Jones takes and DB Jimmie Ward shadowing every cornerback that gets Adams?

"I wish it was that easy. For sure, the Packers, they have a lot of weapons. You talk about the back, 33, or this receiver 17. And, of course, [QB] Aaron [Rodgers], the quarterback, he can make every throw and make every play. Those guys have been successful for a lot of years and they're not slowing down now. So, it's a tough challenge for us this week. We're up to it. Looking forward to the matchup, it's going to be exciting just to be back here in our home stadium for the first time in a long time to get our fans back in here, make sure they're rowdy and loud. We need all the help we can get. So, make sure they're pretty loud when we're on defense to help us out because we're going to need it."

How did you think CB Josh Norman did on Sunday?

"I was pleased with Josh. I thought he stepped in and did really well. He competed, one thing about Josh, he competes every snap, no matter who he lines up against he's going to compete. Has great energy. He's great on the sideline with the guys. He's a true vet, true leader, it's been awesome being around Josh and he's just fit in with our guys really well and he's done a great job for the couple of weeks that he's been here."

How do weigh that if CB Emmanuel Moseley's able to return this week with him and DB Deommodore Lenior? With kind of the vet guy versus the rookie?

"Yeah, we have options there at cornerback. So, with E-Man and D-Mo, Josh, all those guys are capable of going out and playing for us. And the good thing about it, D-Mo, E-Man, they've played a lot of ball for us. I'm happy for D-Mo to get experience. So, he did really well for us this past Sunday. Again, just competing, never shied away from any anybody or anything. He's stepped up, competed, and I love that about D-Mo. So, we got a lot of guys there who can step in and help us."

Would you suggest DL Arik Armstead is playing really well? Would you say this is the best you've seen him play? I know it only been two games.

"I think Arik has done really well for us these first two games. He's been disruptive on the quarterback. It maybe doesn't show in the sack production and things like that, but when we talk about effecting a quarterback, I think Arik has done that and done it at a very high rate. And Arik continues to excel and do well. He's playing with power and he's moving the pocket. He's forcing the quarterback to make errant throws. So yeah, I'm really happy with where Arik is and just happy for Arik. Just the type of leader that he is and everything that Arik represents. He's a great guy to have, great teammate to our guys, great leader. Probably one guy who studies a lot of film, very smart guy, very cerebral, very smart, understands looks and things, how people are trying to attack us. So that's one thing about Arik. He's very detailed in his approach. He's very detailed in his work ethic. Like every week he's on it. He understands what the offense is going to give him and he's able to capitalize on that."

How did you feel that you guys did? I know there were some issues at the start of the Lions game in terms of a lot of inside runs. How did you feel like you improved in terms of maintaining gap integrity and how did DT Javon Kinlaw sort of help that?

"Kinlaw, I was happy for him to get back out there. Kinlaw is a big piece to us shoring up on the inside of our defense. Kinlaw is a major piece of that and he did a solid job for us on Sunday. And just the back end, all the guys being where they're supposed to be. Guys being detailed on their fits, eyes in the right place. That helps us stop the run. The run game is also about a mindset. Guys have to have that physical mindset when it comes to the run game and have the mentality that nobody is going to run the ball against us. It's more attitude and it's detailed on where you need to be."

Is this the best that DL D.J. Jones has looked over his career this year, especially in terms of pass rush?

"Yeah D.J., he was very explosive and disruptive on Sunday. Yeah, I think their offensive line had a really hard time dealing with D.J. He's doing great. I mean, those guys up front every day. Starting with their coach, [defensive line] coach [Kris] Kocurek he's training those guys every day to be their best. And you see all those guys are playing up to that level all across the D-Line. And I tell them all the time, everything we do defensively, it starts with our defensive line. So, when they're playing their best and all the guys your mentioning, all of them are playing their best. Like we'll be a good defense, based on how our D-line plays."

33-years old is getting up there for a cornerback. With Josh Norman, I assume he's not physically the same guy he was at 25. How much does his experience and everything allow him to play like he did Sunday?

"Well, the older you get in this league it's like, 'how do the older guys keep up with the younger guys?' And it's all about, from the neck up. How smart are you when you're out there? Understand that you've seen as many things as you're going to see. Route recognition, splits, all those things from the cornerback position. But it doesn't matter, wherever you play at in this game, offense, defense, if you've been around long enough, you've seen a lot. And you're able to understand and anticipate what you're going to get. That allows you to gain that extra step maybe on a young guy who's still trying to figure things out. Older guys are able to gain that step on it, just because of the mental game that they're able to play. And I think that's where Josh is ahead of a lot of people, just because of his mental prep."

It seems like LB Azeez Al-Shaair was in the right spot all day long. There was a couple of missed tackles, however. What's happening on those plays? Is he going almost too fast on some of them?

"Yeah, Azeez, like you said, he's in the right spot, but anytime anybody is missing a tackle it's all about technique. Just guys keeping their feet underneath them, keeping a good base, and just put him body-on-body and wrapping guys up. That's the main thing. You see guys, miss tackles, a lot of times people are leaving their feet trying to sell out when it may not be the exact time to sell out. There are not many times when you just need to sell out. You just need to be confident in what you're doing, put your body in and keep your feet on the ground and just wrap people up. That's the biggest thing on tackling and tackling is confidence as well. Just being confident in what you're doing and just getting a guy down and tackling is not just on one person. It's on all 11 guys. I don't expect one person to make a tackle without, 3, 4, 5, 10 other guys showing up at the ball."

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