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George Walker IV-USA TODAY Sports

What Logan Ryan adds to the 49ers defense

Dec 8, 2023 at 9:15 AM--

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The San Francisco 49ers strengthened their safety position this week by adding versatile defensive back Logan Ryan. The team was looking to bolster the backfield following injuries to Talanoa Hufanga and George Odum. Hufanga suffered a season-ending torn ACL, while Odum sustained a torn biceps.

Ryan, most recently with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2022) and New York Giants (2020–21), played cornerback during his first seven seasons before transitioning to safety in 2020.

On Wednesday, Ryan revealed that he learned of the 49ers' interest while on a cruise in the Bahamas.

"Once I knew that the 49ers were interested, at that point, there wasn't any drinking on the cruise, unfortunately," Ryan told reporters. "I occupied that gym quite a bit."

Having achieved financial success in the NFL, Ryan had the luxury of waiting for the right opportunity with a championship contender to present itself. When the 49ers expressed interest, the defensive back eagerly seized the opportunity.

Ryan added, "I kept my phone on, obviously. The right team had to call at the right time for me to come out here."

General Manager John Lynch addressed the Ryan signing on Friday morning during an interview with Bay Area radio station KNBR.

"We ran into a tough situation where in five days we lost Talanoa, and then we lost George Odom," Lynch shared. "And so you're losing two safeties, and that's hard to replace, and you're never going to replace that. We were very fortunate. Our guys do great work, and you always identify. We have what we call 'ready lists' at every position. And hey, if we're to get injured here, here's who we turn to.

"And Logan was a guy we had kept our eye on, didn't really know, okay, is he interested in playing? He had played 11 years. And when we first made contact with him, for the right team, he would consider it. And his criteria is he wanted a team who was in it, who he felt had a chance at going to the playoffs and having success. And so we just started a dialogue."

Lynch recalled discussing the possibility of adding Ryan with head coach Kyle Shanahan, reflecting on facing him last season in the 49ers' game against the Buccaneers. The team values versatile players, and Ryan perfectly fits that criteria.

"Whether it was at corner, nickel, or safety, you could just always tell he was a very hard guy to schematically be a very aware player, very similar to how [S Tashaun Gipson] was before we got him and things like that," Shanahan said this week. "So, when you do lose a lot of guys, you'd love to have an option to bring in a guy who's played some football and doesn't have to learn everything for the first time. He's been around enough to understand it, and I was glad we were able to get him in here."

The 49ers-Buccaneers game was Ryan's first back from an injury, and Lynch and Shanahan liked what they saw from the veteran defensive back.

"We beat the Bucs pretty handily, but we felt like Logan played really well in that game and did some tough things, tackling some of our better players in the open field," Lynch said. "So [we] felt like he still had the ability to play at a high level, and we brought him in, and he's done a great job.

"He's always been known as a really smart football player, and he's picked up our stuff really quick. We'll see if he's up this week or not, but I think a good addition and nice deal to be able to find a player of that caliber this late in the season."

When asked what Ryan adds to the 49ers, defensive coordinator Steve Wilks responded, "A lot of experience, two Super Bowls, and a wealth of knowledge where he can communicate and talk to these young guys, particularly on the backend. And then also just understanding he's coming into a culture that he's probably used to. These guys know how to work. They go about their business a different way each and every day. So, I think with him coming in, it's going to be a smooth and easy transition for him."

You can listen to the entire conversation with Lynch below.

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