SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS
DeMeco Ryans Preaches Leadership During Friday’s Presser
There’s no “I” in “Team”, nor in “football”. A philosophy that 49ers defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans lives by and instills in his players every single day at the team’s facilities.
So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that his unit is performing as well as it is, only allowing nine points in Week 3 against the Denver Broncos.
Sadly, that wasn’t enough as San Francisco’s offense let them down by only scoring seven points Sunday night. The game finished 11-10 after a Jimmy Garoppolo safety became the deciding factor at Mile High.
Nevertheless, Ryans is still extremely happy with his defense, especially considering they’re down a pro bowl safety in Jimmie Ward.
When asked about his possible return after Week 4, the D-Coordinator decided to instead give praise to his two current starters, Tashaun Gipson Sr. and Talanoa Hufanga.
“So we’ll figure that out [Ward’s return] once we cross that bridge, but I can’t say enough about [S Tashaun] Gipson [Sr.] and [S] Talanoa [Hufanga] and what they’ve done back there and the instant chemistry that they’ve built in such a short time, you don’t see that happen much,” Ryans said Friday after practice. “But I think with Gipson being a veteran and Huf just soaking in everything all the knowledge that Gip has to offer him, it’s been cool to see.”
#49ers Talanoa Hufanga & Tashaun Gipson are balling out 👀
(via @nfcwestcoverage) pic.twitter.com/zoQBWpqYq1
— 𝙏𝙝𝙚𝙎𝙁𝙉𝙞𝙣𝙚𝙧𝙨 (@TheSFNiners) September 28, 2022
The duo have created quite the rapport through the first three weeks, both ranking inside the top ten for safeties, according to Pro Football Focus analytics.
But it’s more than your production on the field for the former linebacker, always looking for guys to emerge as unofficial leaders of the team. That’s why he loves Gip and Huff so much. Both are students of the game, able to pass on their knowledge to the next generation.
That’s what it’s all about for Ryans.
“The league has always been about giving back so the younger players now are standing on the shoulders of the guys who came before us,” Ryans explained. “Like older players always pave the path for the younger guys. And so it’s a respect factor, as [to] ‘what are you leaving the game?’ ‘What are you leaving guys in the locker room?’ As you’re an older veteran, ‘are you giving back to the game?’ Because we’ve all received something from players who come before us, so that’s what the league is all about. That’s what true locker room is about. When you have older guys who can, not worry about themselves, but it’s all about giving back to the younger players.”
Gipson has only been with the 49ers for a short time (picked up off the waiver wire due to Ward’s injury), but he’s already worn off so much on his younger counterpart in Hufanga.
Leadership: “The Tongan Tiger” Talanoa Hufanga speaking with rookie WR Danny Gray off to the side of practice Friday. He’s set the tone for this team through the first three weeks of the season. pic.twitter.com/sZx7FGUK2Z
— Amiliano “Amil” Fragoso (@AmilianoFragoso) September 30, 2022
A sponge according to his coach, “The Tongan Tiger” has an endless supply of questions. While some coaches might feel deterred by that, Ryans encourages it, hoping all players could be more like the second-year product from USC.
“Yeah, he asks questions and I’m like, ‘bring them on,’ so I don’t know what’s wrong with those other coaches, but I’m always like bring it on,” Ryans exclaimed with a laugh. “When the player is asking questions, I think as a coach, like you want guys who are, man, they want to know the why. Like ‘why are we doing this?’ Or ‘coach, how exactly do you want me, where you want me to be on this?’ I love that in Huff. I love that in all of players. If you’re asking those questions that lets me know as a coach that you’re into it and you want to know the why. You want to know why. Not just, ‘oh, I’m just doing something just because the coach told me to do it.’ And that’s what separates Huf and that’s why he’s sticking out amongst everybody is because he asks those questions, he’s processing everything throughout the week so when you see him on Sunday, he can cut it loose and that’s what everybody’s seen and that’s why he’s been exciting to watch these first three weeks just because of those questions.”
Those attributes will need to come in handy Monday night when San Francisco faces their NFC West rivals, the Los Angeles Rams.
Despite losing weapons in the form of WR Odell Beckham Jr. over the offseason, the Rams have still looked lethal on offense, winning two out of their first three games. Ryans knows far too well how good they can be with all cylinders firing, giving extra praise Friday to No.10 in the blue & gold.
"It's the Cooper Kupp show." DeMeco Ryans #49ers
— Tracy Sandler (@49ersfangirl) September 30, 2022
“Yeah, I think with that, [WR] Allen Robinson II, he’s a really good player for them…And also, it’s the [Los Angeles Rams WR] Cooper Kupp show,” Ryans stated. “Like no matter how you try to slice it up, whether the guys are doubling, whatever it is, the guy finds a way. I think the connection and chemistry with him and [QB Matthew] Stafford is one of the best I’ve seen in the league in a long time. Those guys are always in sync and they’re always on the same page, which makes it tough as a defense to defend those guys because they’re so good, they’re so precise at what they do that they make it a really tough challenge [for us].”
To watch the DeMeco Ryans full presser, click here.