Defensive Back Logan Ryan
Q: (Assistant Head Coach/Defensive Coordinator) Pat Graham was pretty passionate today talking about how you guys need to show up this weekend. Has it been a little bit of a heightened sense that it's time for you guys to step up?
A: I think the word I read, or he used, was, 'unacceptable,' which I agree. It just hasn't been good enough to our standard. The execution just hasn't been good enough. I think we know that as players as well, that's the same message. We've got to be better on defense.
Q: You guys come out of a game where you allow 515 yards. What's the mood in the defensive meeting room earlier in the week?
A: We've got to improve, for sure. Got to improve. Just too many mental errors, didn't execute our game plan. You play anybody like that, you're not going to beat anyone in the league. The league's too good, too much parity – and Dallas is a pretty good team. You don't play well against them (then) you're going to lose like that. It just shows you how you've got to be on your game every game.
Q: Pat said one thing he might do is simplify things. Do you think that has been part of the problem, too many checks and guys not playing fast because of that?
A: I just think that's what he feels is best, so I think his job as D-coordinator is to put us in a position to play fast and play well. If he felt like we weren't playing fast enough or didn't play well enough, simplifying is always the quickest fix, the best fix, to just allow our players to play. I think that if Pat says that then I agree that that could help.
Q: You guys obviously lost (Linebacker) Blake (Martinez), but other than that – I mean, (Safety Jabrill) Peppers a little bit now – but there haven't been any significant injuries. You have this personnel that was supposed to be better than last year. When you look at it – other than the broad definition of execution – why are you guys not performing well enough?
A: Blake's is a significant injury for sure.
Q: But I mean, your offense is decimated and they're performing better than people expected. You guys are a better group talent-wise than last year and you're performing a lot worse than you did last year with less talent. Why is that happening? You say execution and we all know that, but why beyond that?
A: Execution, that's all I have. Every game, every play is different. Why? It's not like the same play. We have different calls versus different people, versus different quarterbacks, different strategies and regardless – I said this before – whether you lose by one or lose by 100, you go out trying to win the game. So, if the game plan or you're not executing that play… it ends up a touchdown to a good team, to a bad team it might end up a five-yard gain. Regardless, to me it all comes down to execution. We have talent, so we're just not executing cohesively as a unit. Defensively, if you're an individual or a 'me' guy, you shouldn't play defense. Defense is the ultimate team. There's a difference between offensive guys and defensive guys and (for) defensive guys you don't know when your play is getting called because you don't know what the offense is going to run, so you've got to execute the defense, and everyone shares the glory. You don't really call your own plays, you've got to react to what the offense is doing, so it's the ultimate team sport, ultimate team side of the ball. I think it does come down to execution.
Q: Is there a sense of anger from the defense? Are you guys ticked off about what's been going on?
A: I mean, yeah, there's urgency. But anger – I mean, there's disappointment, but at the same time this is football, it's competition. Win, lose or draw you've got to go out the next week. A lot of guys have played a lot of games in their career and it's all about the next week in the NFL, so I definitely think guys aren't proud of the performance in the past, but you've still got to get ready to put your best foot forward this week. However you want to put it, however the words may be, I think that there's some sense of urgency over here.
Q: With the way you guys have been playing, now you get don't get slouches this week against the Rams. How much of a step up is there going to have to be to not just play better than you've been playing, but play well enough to go against these guys with (Rams Quarterback Matthew) Stafford and (Rams Wide Receiver Cooper) Kupp and all these guys?
A: I don't think you're ever going to hear me up here calling any team a slouch. Every week you've got to bring it. It's the National Football League. Everybody's got first-round picks, everyone's got college All-Americans, everyone's got Pro Bowlers. Back in the day, you used to play the Lions, the worst team in the league, and you still had to matchup with Megatron (Calvin Johnson Jr.). That's the NFL. There are guys at every position. We know the guys they have on their team. Their team is filled with stars. They have some really highly-paid star-studded talent, a really good receiving core, they're good at running the ball, really good quarterback, good offensive scheme. That's just the challenge, but that's what you sign up for and we've got to go be ready to embrace that and attack that.
Q: You guys faced them last year. How much different are they with Stafford at quarterback?
A: There are similarities, but he definitely adds a deep ball element to them. Him and (Rams Wide Receiver) DeSean Jackson add a whole third level to their game. You saw me catching balls off the Jugs anticipating how deep some of these balls may go, just trying to track them in the air. He adds a whole downfield passing game that they didn't have, a little more spread that they didn't do as much. They still have their boots and condensed offense, but they have an added game with his arm strength. It keeps that safety a little deeper, keeps you a little more honest in the deep part of the field.
Q: Does your guys' run defense fall apart if the edge doesn't get set in your scheme? Like if they can get outside, is that the key?
A: Your little league defense will fall apart if you don't set an edge. That's 101. You've got to set the edge and stop the run at any level. You watch little league, they toss the ball to their best player, he runs outside to the edge. You can do that in high school, you can do that in college. You've got to get that edge set in order to control the run game and we need to do a better job of that. People are putting pullers on our corners and our safeties and our secondary, and you can't cut those guys anymore, so it's tough. Obviously, (with) the rule change you can't cut these pullers and that really puts some of these DBs at a disadvantage. So, I think you're going to see a lot more perimeter run game in the NFL in general, just how the rules change.
Q: You guys still have 12 games to fix this defense. What gives you confidence that it will get fixed?
A: The time the alarm goes off every morning, the work ethic, the process. I've been in the league long enough to understand, and been in wins and losses enough, how hard the group is working. Sometimes the result doesn't always come right away when you want it or whatever, but I do believe that that work ethic does lead to execution. Obviously, you only get one test a week, that's on Sundays, but seeing the process out here, having a great day of practice like today, being really clean is a good first step.
Q: We did notice that Jugs machine work. Is that something that you ordinarily don't do, but it's important this week?
A: I don't know how many – I'm not a punt returner, so I don't normally catch off the Jugs a lot. Watching film I saw them throw the ball up on a couple safeties, them losing the ball in the air and whatnot, so I just wanted to track the ball 50, 60 yards in the air. You don't get that a lot in practice, so I just try to simulate that in my post-practice work just to simulate some of these balls going down the field.
Q: How did (Quarterback) Daniel (Jones) look today?
A: I was focused on defense. I didn't see.
A: Blake's is a significant injury for sure.
Here come the excuses I'm expecting Mara to parrot come his January presser.