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DeMeco Ryans calls out his defense: Not every play is your play to make

“Hero ball” is causing the defense to give up too many big plays

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They say the first step to fixing a problem is admitting you have one in the first place. DeMeco Ryans had no difficulty doing that yesterday.

“The game Sunday definitely wasn’t representative of who we are,” Ryans said during his media availability, “We have to play better in the back end with our eyes. The eye discipline has cost us some really big plays and plays that we shouldn’t give up, we’re giving them up because of the discipline with the eyes and our guys understand that we have to get better there if we want to continue to play good defense.”

One of the people that we here at Niners Nation have talked about a lot this week is Talanoa Hufanga, who Ryans was specifically asked about.

“He has to clean up his eyes. It’s too many big plays we’re giving up and Huf knows that. You have to clean up your eyes, especially when you’re protecting us in the back end. You’re the eraser for us. Your eyes can’t be dirty, you can’t be in the backfield and he knows that and he has to get better at it.”

Hufanga is a young player who is going through the normal ups and down associated with being a first year starter in the NFL. Unfortunately, just like at quarterback, the 49ers have little patience for growing pains because they’re in their Super Bowl window right now.

Luckily, Ryans sees an easy fix for what ails his squad.

“The biggest thing is just being on it every single snap. And that’s the thing that I was talking to our guys about this week, like, it’s not your play to make every play. Everybody will make plays in our defense when everybody is playing with discipline, playing with the proper technique, playing with the proper eyes, eye discipline. If everybody is doing that, there’s enough plays for everybody to go around.

When guys do get antsy and they try to do too much, they try to play hero ball. You try to make plays that you’re not supposed to make, that’s when you get gutted as a defense, so defensive football, you want to be sound, you want to play great defense, you have to be disciplined at all three levels.”

We’ll find out if Ryans’ words were taken to heart on Sunday afternoon.

Hear more about this and other stories in today’s 49ers in Five podcast. Our five minute daily update gives you the latest news, best audio clips, and everything else you need to know about the team. Subscribe to the Niners Nation Podcast Network today so you don’t miss an episode!