49ers confident in Ryan39s IQ and versatility ahead of Commanders

49ers confident in Ryan's IQ and versatility ahead of Commanders clash – NBC Sports Bay Area

With rookie safety Ji'Ayir Brown out for the 49ers' Week 17 game against the Washington Commanders on Sunday, veteran Logan Ryan is set for his first start in red and gold.

Ryan's ability to seamlessly transition into San Francisco's secondary is exactly why coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch decided to sign him in early December after Talanoa Hufanga and George Odum were injured. And now with Brown out with a knee sprain, Ryan is the next man up.

“I’m really glad we have him now,” Shanahan told Greg Papa on the latest “49ers Game Plan” episode. “I did not know it [Ryan], but I played against him a lot and always had a lot of respect when I played against him. I thought he was a really good player.

“[He] always seemed to be one of the smarter players on the field.

With Hufanga and Odum injured, the 49ers knew Brown was ready to step in despite his young age. However, Shanahan said the team immediately targeted Ryan because he also had little safety experience on the roster. The safety happened to be on a cruise with his family when the 49ers came calling, and now, just a few weeks later, he has a chance to make a positive impact for San Francisco on Sunday at FedExField.

“You're always just one injury away from a guy not being ready to be in some really impactful games and play a starting position,” Shanahan told Papa. “And you can do that with some newbies and stuff, but it gets harder and harder and you're always hoping there's someone out there with experience who can do it.”

During an interview with KNBR on Friday, before Brown was officially ruled out for Sunday's game, Lynch explained why he is confident Ryan is capable of taking on a larger role.

“It’s nice to have a guy who has a lot of versatility to his name,” Lynch told KNBR. “…It's nice that when Ji'Ayir can't go, you can turn to a guy like Logan Ryan and feel very comfortable with what you have there.”

Shanahan told reporters Friday that Brown has a “chance” to return for the 49ers' regular-season finale against the Los Angeles Rams at Levi's Stadium next weekend. But now he knows that Ryan is perfectly capable of stepping in.

“Just playing against him, he always seemed like such an aware, smart player and a guy that had a lot of experience with a lot of different defenses,” Shanahan told reporters. “We brought him here when we had a few injuries. Since he's been here he's looked exactly how we hoped he would. Now that we’ve had these injuries, he’s in that role.”

“It looked exactly how we hoped it would. He’s very comfortable and knows what he’s doing and the game isn’t too big for him.”

Download and follow the 49ers Talk Podcast