DeMeco Ryans ‘Proud’ to Coach Stellar 49ers Defense
San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans has a lot to be thankful for this holiday season.
His unit is currently ranked amongst the elite in every defensive metric imaginable, sporting a three-game streak of second half shutouts. In that timespan, the 49ers have outscored their opponents 52-0, an astonishing marker given two of the three contests were on the road.
The blessings go beyond statistics for Ryans however, feeling honored to just coach this defense full of elite and inspirational football players, both on and off the field.
“I’m proud of our guys,” Ryans said to the media Wednesday. “Our guys play inspirational football. You watch our guys play, you watch the film, our guys play inspirational ball. It just jumps off the tape the effort these guys play with, the way these guys play together for each other. It’s just an inspiration to me to watch these guys from the sideline, watch these guys play and how hard they play each and every week. It’s unbelievable and I’m just proud to coach these guys and I’m happy and blessed to just be in position to be their coach because of the mindset and their attitude each and every week.”
Communal buy-in doesn’t come easy for Ryans’ style of play, the unit is build on a physical blend of “S.W.E.A.R.M.” (swarm) defense and technique, instilled in them from the beginning of OTAs in May.
“Our first meeting with our guys, that’s who we’re going to be. We’re going to be a physical defense, so guys understand that before we even put pads on,” the ex-linebacker explained. “I don’t have to speak on it much because you will stick out like a sore thumb if you’re not being physical on our defense.”
The team has responded to their leader and gone above and beyond this season. Over the last two games, the Red & Gold’s defensive line has two players leading the league in pressures, according to Pro Football Focus, with defensive linemen Nick Bosa and Charles Omenihu leading the charge at 14 in eight quarters of football.
The latter has made the biggest leap this season, stepping up for the 49ers with both Arik Armstead and Javon Kinlaw on the sideline for of the year. A fifth-round pick from the University of Texas, Omenihu has made his presence known around the league, while his coach continues to sing his praises.
“Yeah, Charles has done a really good job over the past couple weeks. Sometimes those inside guys, it goes unnoticed how much presence they bring. And Charles with the length that he has, he’s able to utilize that length to really make it tough on the quarterback, so Charles, he’s done a great job,” DeMeco Ryans said.
A thanksgiving practice week isn’t just about football though, as Ryans took some time to answer America’s most important question Wednesday.
“Oh, favorite Thanksgiving dish. Sweet potato pie. Sweet potato pie. Can’t have a Thanksgiving without that,” the coordinator said with a big smile.
— San Francisco 49ers (@49ers) November 23, 2022