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Photo courtesy of the San Francisco 49ers

Photo courtesy of the San Francisco 49ers

49ers looking to overcome hostile environment vs. Eagles, says DeMeco Ryans

Jan 26, 2023 at 12:20 PM--

The San Francisco 49ers have a formidable obstacle in the way of their second Super Bowl appearance in four years. They'll travel to Philadelphia this weekend to face the top-seeded Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field. In addition to battling a difficult opponent, they'll have to find a way to block out the passionate Philly fanbase.

"The environment, it'll be hostile, it'll be loud, as it should be," defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans told reporters before Thursday's practice. "NFC Championship Game. We're in their stadium. We're on their turf. We also understand it's going to be hostile, but you also have to understand you block out all those distractions, and you just go and play the best football you can play for three-and-a-half hours."

One 49ers offensive lineman is very familiar with the Eagles and playing in Philadelphia, having come from the NFC East.

"I've been to Philly almost every year of my career," said tackle Trent Williams, who was with the Washington Commanders for the first nine NFL years. "There's a little more than just noise that comes to that place. I think if you can operate in Seattle's noise, I think you can operate pretty much anywhere. Philly is just one of those places where those fans, they make a difference. They get under your skin. They yell at you. They don't stop. I think that will be an added factor to it."

Williams added, "When you walk in there, they let you know you're not welcome. We enjoy the home-field advantage when we've got it here, and then it's the name of the game. You go there, you've got to deal with it, and it's why we play the game."

The fans at Lincoln Financial Field are infamous for their passion for the Eagles, and they will make things difficult on the 49ers for those three-and-a-half hours. However, one Niners player didn't sound too concerned about this weekend's road environment.

"We know it's going to be loud," wide receiver Deebo Samuel told reporters on Wednesday, "but no stadium is as loud as ours at the end of the day. They're at home, NFC Championship. They're going to be all riled up. We don't really too much feed into all that because we put the pads on and just go to work."

As mentioned by Williams, the 49ers faced a similar task earlier in the season when they traveled to Lumen Field in Seattle for a crucial division-clinching game against the Seahawks. And they did it on a short week, with that matchup being a Thursday night game.

That may have prepared the 49ers' rookie quarterback, Brock Purdy, for the team's current situation.

"I remember us talking about that, that week, that we needed that," head coach Kyle Shanahan explained while speaking with reporters on Wednesday. "We needed that [experience] in case we ended up in the NFC Championship at Philly, and we got that. And I'm very fortunate that we did, and I feel we're good to go."

Besides preparing for the noise, not much will change in practice regarding preparing for the Eagles.

"[This week is] business as usual," Ryans said. "That's what I love about our guys. Every time we go out to practice, the way our guys work each and every day, it's consistent, and that's what it takes, not making it bigger than what it is.

"We understand the stakes, understand where we are. We're thankful to be playing at this time, but we also understand we have to go out and execute and play really good football. On Sunday, we have to be the best team for that three-and-a-half hours."

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