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Photo courtesy of the San Francisco 49ers

Photo courtesy of the San Francisco 49ers

DeMeco Ryans provides defensive updates after 49ers’ Monday practice

Aug 29, 2022 at 4:05 PM--

San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans spoke with reporters after Monday's practice, as the team prepares to head into Week 1 of the regular season. Here is everything he had to say.

Transcript provided by the San Francisco 49ers Communications staff.

We're in an odd stretch of the season, where's your focus? Is it on making sure that you got the right guys on your side of the ball to make it through the cuts or is it gameplanning for the Bears? How do you kind of divide your time right now?

"This has been a good week for us. I think my focus has generally been to just get the guys better, who we have out there. So we're still going against our offense competing every day, but it's always a focus on how can we get better for each individual player. Each guy has something that they need to improve upon, so that's been my focus this past week. Just seeing how we can really make a jump at certain positions, so guys have been doing a great job of competing and I'm liking where those guys are headed."

You've been here since 2017, so I'm curious how deeper this defensive unit looks as opposed to past years going into cut day?

"This is this is one of our better units. When you look at the roster and the depth that we have at all of our positions. [Head coach] Kyle [Shanahan] and [general manager] John [Lynch] have done a really good job of putting a really great group together, talented group, now we just have to go out and play. And if everybody plays to the standard which we're capable of playing, I think we can have a very good defense here. Our goal each and every time we go, it's just to be better than we were the time before, it's just making those strides. If we continue to make strides as we go throughout the season, I think everyone will be excited with where we end up."

Does that talent worry you at all going tomorrow given that you're going to end up having to cut some talented guys? probably a lot of other teams are eyeing your roster. How do you feel going into cut day tomorrow?

"When you roll into cut day, I think if you're making tough decisions, that means your team is in a really good place. And we've had a very competitive camp. We've had some tough roster battles, but these guys have competed and they've helped each other. And they're it's been cool to be a part of it, nobody's talking about the battles or fighting for this and that, guys are just genuinely looking to help each other. And what I tell our guys is we want all our guys to make the NFL. We can't keep everyone, but if our guys make another roster, I'm just as excited for those guys because they're still on their journey of being an NFL player, so however we can help those guys. And if we have guys that are making other rosters, I feel good about where we are, that means we're letting quality NFL players go."

What are you seeing in terms of replacing DB Jimmie Ward in terms of safety and how you're going to make up for that for however long he's out?

"I don't think you make up for Jimmie Ward's loss. He's a very integral part to our defense. He's a very important piece, which allows us to be multiple and do a lot of different things, so it is a significant loss for our defense. We have guys competing and battling there and we'll see what happens when the time comes for Week One. We hate to lose Jimmie, but we do have some capable guys back there, who are competing their butts off too to own that spot."

A couple of people in terms of packages and stuff?

"We're not there yet. Whatever it takes for us to win the game, that's always my mindset. Whatever it takes for us to win the game, that's what we'll do. That's who will be out there. Who gives us our best chance to win the game. That's what it's all about."

DB Tarvarius Moore looks like he's making strides just as far as coming back from that injury a year ago.

"Yeah, T-Moore is battling back. He's battled through a tough injury, I've been through that injury, I know how tough it is to make it back from that, so I understand where he is. He's battled back. He's done a good job for us and he's still headed in the right direction, so I'm happy with where T-Moore is."

Do you have any in-house awards or incentives, you do or the DB's coach does for takeaways? Like a fun prize or something like that?

"No, we don't. We celebrate our guys throughout camp each and every day. During camp, we would, highlight certain guys and not only just the takeaways, but whoever. We call it our S.W.A.R.M. player of the day, whoever was attacking the ball, whoever got turnovers or just had made special effort on certain plays, so a lot of different combinations of things to highlight guys. I like to highlight guys playing our style of ball, whether that's effort, whether it's physicality, whether it's taking the ball, so we like to highlight guys just in all those areas. Getting after the quarterback, so not only just taking the ball, but a lot of different categories there as well, but that's how we do it. And the guys are pretty fired up about it. And they like to have those bragging rights of who's the leader in the house and that was [LB] Fred Warner, this training camp."

Speaking of Warner, he had that period earlier last year where he was kind of self-critical of himself and thought he should be doing more. And then his play steadily got better. Is that trajectory still rising in your mind in terms of how he's playing?

"It is. The way he comes to work every day, he brings energy and juice to our defense every day. And he works his tail off every day. He's out there, he's working hard, he's running sideline-to-sideline, even when he doesn't have to, but he's showing it. He's putting that on tape to let all the guys know this is how you work. If you want to be the best in the league, like this is how you work. And that's what Fred has exhibited throughout this training camp. And I think with our younger guys watching the way he works, they're just in awe at times, just the way he's consistently showing up every day, making plays, leading the defense, communicating, he does it every day and he doesn't get enough credit for it. But Fred has done an outstanding job and man, I'm fired up to have him another year. And he's rolling. I think he's going to have a really good year this year."

In terms of the poking and prodding that he does maybe even to the offensive guys, which he says is to bring out the best in them. Is he doing even more of that this year in your mind?

"He's always done that. Yeah, he's always done that and competition brings out the best in everyone. When you are in those tough days of camp and Fred is out there chirping, I know the offense doesn't like it, but I like to see that and I like to see how is he going to respond when they do respond. How is he going to respond? And it's always in a positive manner, he's the leader of our team, so it's always in a positive uplifted manner. Fred, his mindset, he just wants everybody on this team to be at their best. And that's why he does the things he does at practice. Just to push everyone, not just the defense, but he's pushing the offense and everyone to be their absolute best."

Off the top of your head, do you remember how many days he won that award?

"I don't know."

Do you give one a day?

"Yeah, it can be one, it can be three, depending on whatever that total is. But Fred had a lot of them, [DL Nick] Bosa had a lot of them. [DL] Kerry Hyder [Jr.]. Those three guys, they ended up the top three guys for us."


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