Things are busier than ever for 49ers defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans. In addition to leading the 49ers defense in the playoffs, he also had two head coaching interviews last week and is expected to have two more this week.
Last week he met with the Houston Texans and Denver Broncos. According to Mike Florio of NBC Sports, the Texans are the favorite to land Ryans, who once played linebacker for them.
“The Texans and Broncos were the two interviews that he did last week,” Florio said on KNBR Tuesday. “The Texans are the sentimental favorite because he played there, and also he’s a damn good coach. In Denver he made a great impression I’m told, but they’ve had three straight first time head coaches, coordinator elevations, and they’ve been burned by that. I guess one argument would be, we’re due to finally hire a coordinator that becomes a great head coach, but I think they’re leaning toward somebody who’s been a head coach before, especially as poor as it went for Nathanial Hackett.”
It will remain to be seen if the 49ers’ postseason success will negatively affect Ryans or not. If the 49ers go to the Super Bowl, Ryans wouldn’t be able to be hired until mid-February. Sometimes teams will wait, as the 49ers did with Kyle Shanahan, but it all depends on how much a team wants the candidate.
“So the Texans make a lot of sense for DeMeco Ryans,” Florio said. “The problem is, he can’t be hired as long as the 49ers are playing, and the Texans may get ancy and hire someone, but we have seen teams wait until after the Super Bowl to finalize their hire in the past.”
Ryans, 38, replaced Robert Saleh after he left to be the Jets head coach two years ago. Ryans got his first coaching gig when the 49ers signed him as a quality control coach in 2017. He was promoted to be the inside linebackers coach in 2018 and then to the DC job in 2021.
Under Ryans, the 49ers had the top defense in the NFL in both yards and points allowed. Last year’s group was top 10 in both categories and third in yards per game.
Ryans was a two-time Pro Bowl linebacker before becoming a coach and was with the Texans when Kyle Shanahan was the offensive coordinator in Houston.
“Ryans is definitely in play,” Florio said. “It wouldn’t stun me completely if he gets the Denver job, but I think the Texans would be the team most likely to hire him.”
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