Skip to main content

Ryans tests defensive transmitter


Pro Bowler DeMeco Ryans spent practice Wednesday with linebackers coach Johnny Holland yelling in his ear. Ryans wasn't doing anything wrong. In fact, the middle linebacker was doing all the right things as he relayed Holland's calls and tested out the defensive transmitter he will wear in his helmet next season.

"It was good to try it today," Holland said. "For DeMeco, it's always easy. You have a call and he knows exactly what you are talking about. Sometimes as a coach, we can screw some calls up, and he can clean it up.

"There's some stuff that we can anticipate happening as a coaching staff that we can relay to him on the field. Hopefully, it will help us a lot."

{QUOTE}The small orange device, which is similar to the one worn by quarterbacks, will allow Ryans to receive defensive assignments from gameday play-caller, defensive coordinator Richard Smith.

Before the 2008 season, Ryans and the defensive players had relied solely on hand signals. The earpiece was designed to protect a team's defensive play calling.

"I think it's a definite advantage for us because people are not stealing your signals," Holland said. "I know that as an offense, guys get signals and you can get a pre-snap of where guys are going to be on defense, which is very helpful. This can eliminate some of that. It will even the playing field a lot more."

Ryans, who finished last season seventh in the league with 127 tackles and sixth with 98 solo stops, agreed.

"Now, they can't steal your signals or try to pick up on certain blitz signals," Ryans said. "They don't know what we are putting in. They don't know what coach is saying to me in the helmet."

Ryans, a three-down linebacker who rarely leaves the field, thinks the new device actually will tighten up communication on the field.

"It will be a lot easier," Ryans said. "Richard (Smith) can get a call in a lot easier. If he has time left to alert me of something that they may be doing then he can do that, which makes me like an extra defensive coordinator out on the field."

Just like with quarterbacks, the transmitter will work until 15 seconds remain on the play clock. Then it will be shut off, which Ryans said will it easier to relay calls.

"I'm comfortable with it because it shuts off about 15 seconds left on the play clock," Ryans said. "It's not a lot of talking going on. It just gets right to the bases."

The defensive transmitter rules state only one defensive player can wear the transmitter, which is why Ryans is the natural choice. The third-year pro directs traffic from the Mike linebacker spot and is the team's defensive captain.

If Ryans does have to leave the field, there will be one other helmet fitted with the transmitter so that another player can wear it. Only one of those helmets can be on the field at a time, and the team is considering making safety C.C. Brown the primary backup option.

The Texans did their best to stimulate games conditions during Wednesday's practice by pumping in crowd noise and running intense team 11-on-11 situations, neither of which rattled Ryans. He was business-as-usual on the field.

"Practice went really well, Ryans said. "Like I said, it's interesting and it's something that will help us a lot on defense.

"But it's the offense that always gets the last call. So it all comes down to us lining up and playing. That's what it's always going to be, no matter how good the communication system is."

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content