49ers’ Defensive Challenges: Veterans Step Up in Key Positions

49ers’ Defensive Challenges: Veterans Step Up in Key Positions

The San Francisco 49ers face the Washington Commanders in Week 17, looking to secure a win and move one step closer to first place in the NFC. But they will do so without certain key players, with defensive end Arik Armstead, safety Ji’Ayir Brown and receiver Jauan Jennings all shut down ahead of Sunday’s contest. Armstead and Jennings both missed San Francisco’s Week 16 game against the Ravens, but Brown played every defensive snap and his presence will be missed against the Commander.

The 49ers are already down one starting safety with Talanoa Hufanga suffering a torn ACL earlier in the season, meaning they will need to deepen their depth in the backfield with veteran safety Logan Ryan expected to earn the start. Ryan, signed just three weeks ago, will be in the spotlight as the 49ers switch to a tandem of him and veteran Tashaun Gipson to bolster the back end of their secondary.

What gave head coach Kyle Shanahan the confidence to trust Ryan so quickly? “We just played against him,” Shanahan said of Ryan. “He’s always seemed like such an informed, smart player and a guy with a lot of experience playing different defenses.

We brought him in here when we had some injuries. He’s looked exactly how we expected him to look since he’s been here. . Now that we have these injuries, he’s in that role. He looked exactly as we hoped. He is very nice and knows what he is doing and the game is not too big for him.

Ryan is following the trend of a veteran guard instead of filling the role with a younger player, which Shanahan believes could be a huge factor in their success. “I think that’s huge,” Shanahan said of the veterans as depth pieces. “It may not be a common philosophy.

It’s just that our general philosophy is on this day, this week, this time of year, what gives you the best chance for success? It could be a younger man. It could be an older man. I think it is very wrong to take an absolute philosophy for anything. Like, “Hey, you always have to give the younger guy the first shot because he needs that experience and that’s how you develop him.

” That’s great, but not at the expense of the other 52 guys on the team and the organization. and you lose games.” Part of why it might be harder to trust younger players early on? Along with early playing time is a development process, and the 49ers cannot afford to lose games at the expense of providing those opportunities.

“The first decision is always the one that helps you win the most or gives you the best chance to win. In a league where it’s very difficult to develop guys, because if you do something at a professional level, it’s difficult to do it at a level. very high level if you don’t work with it all year.

“So, guys that can really play in the NFL are usually guys that have experienced the NFL. They know how to handle those situations,” Shanahan said Friday. “They were lucky to get them, so they got through it. And it’s getting better. I hate that feeling of having one guy and you have a lot of faith in that guy, but he’s not quite ready yet. But there is no third string and this guy has to go.

Now he comes in and plays three games before he’s ready and the team is frustrated with him because he’s making mistakes, he’s not ready. The man loses his confidence. Sometimes it can kill a person, but you have no choice. Now, not every team has the ability to add veteran depth that can still provide quality deployments, but the new practice squad rules allowing for six veterans have become easier to navigate.

“You can’t always have the luxury of bringing in vets, because if you always do that, you’ll never have youth,” Shanahan admitted. “But that’s what’s great about the 16 practice squad kids, the six vets we’re allowed to have. It’s allowed us to do things like that the last two years, which has been very difficult.” Earlier this week, defensive coordinator Steve Wilks praised the veteran quarterback for quickly adapting to the team as both a player and a leader. “Logan did a great job.

I was excited when we got him,” Wilks said. “I knew at one point he was going to do a great job helping us. He was leading there and I was talking to [LB] Fred [Warner] about him coming off the field yesterday and I said, ‘Did you know and see. Logan?’ ” He says, ‘Yeah, man, he’s talking.’ And that’s a big safety sign.

His communication skills, especially when you have a new guy, and he steps up and does those things. So I like his presence. He has skin on the wall like me that’s what I call it. He’s been around the league for a while, played in a few Super Bowls, so he understands how much we are at this time of year.

Wilks called Ryan a true team player, exemplified by his willingness to play on special teams and be the snap. Ryan himself is looking forward to the opportunity to start against orders and will not hold back. “It’s a great opportunity. I’m really excited about it. I’m definitely ready and going to let it rip,” Ryan said, via Grant Cohn of SI. “I’ve been doing this for a long time. I just trust what I know and my gut. And obviously [I’m] the player they wanted me to come here based on some instincts, so I listen to them and go play. . “I love football.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.