The San Francisco 49ers have had a strong defense all season. A lot of this is thanks to strong leadership by Defensive Coordinator DeMeco Ryans. He is among the top Head Coach candidates ahead of the offseason. The San Francisco 49ers will be playing in the playoffs this year; therefore, DeMeco Ryans will most likely have to primarily focus on getting his team as far as he can, before thinking too much about next year. Even though there is one more game of the regular season, a couple of head coaches in the NFL have already been let go. Here is a look at DeMeco Ryans and where he may end up next year.
DeMeco Ryans History
Before becoming one of the top NFL head coach prospects, Demeco Ryans spent ten years in the NFL. He spent six years with the Houston Texans before ending his career with the Philadelphia Eagles. Ryans was a linebacker, and currently, the 49ers have one of the best linebacker cores in the league.
In his ten years playing in the NFL, Ryan’s had a total of 970 combined tackles, 745 being solo, and 13.5 sacks according to Pro Football Reference. He also caught seven interceptions, forced seven fumbles, and recovered seven. A former player like him understands the minds of the current players. That is a reason that the 49ers’ defense explains he is such a great coach. DeMeco Ryans’ final year playing in the NFL was in 2015.
In 2017, Ryans began his coaching career. He began with the San Francisco 49ers, where of course he still is. In 2017 he began as the Defensive Quality Control Coach, but in 2018 he moved up to become the Inside Linebackers Coach. In 2021, former 49ers Defensive Coordinator, Robert Saleh, got a job as the New York Jets Head Coach. This is when DeMeco Ryans took over his position as the 49ers Defensive Coordinator.
In the 2021 NFL season, the 49ers made it all the way to the NFC Championship Game where they lost to the Los Angeles Rams. At that time DeMeco Ryans was actually in the running to be the Minnesota Vikings Head Coach but decided to spend one more season with San Francisco due to unfinished business. He went as far as declining a second interview with them.
DeMeco Ryans Future
The Denver Broncos is a team that has already fired their coach, Nathaniel Hackett. Their interim coach is currently Jerry Rosburg. The Broncos have many issues that need to be fixed, but their current roster does have players who should be able to succeed. Denver’s record is 4-12 with one game left against the Los Angeles Chargers, who have already clinched playoffs.
The NFC West is a tougher division, having to play the Kansas City Chiefs twice a year. This could definitely be a landing spot for DeMeco Ryans, especially with former 49ers players on the team.
The Indianapolis Colts was another team to fire their head coach early this season. The Colts are currently 4-11 with their next game against the Houston Texans, a team they could possibly beat. The Colts are definitely in need of the leadership that Ryans can bring. Currently, Jeff Saturday is the interim coach and has only had one win out of the seven games that he has been a part of.
The Colts will need more of a rebuild than the Broncos, but they are a part of a division that could be won a little easier. Indianapolis will need to look for a new quarterback this season, and while Ryans is a defensive guy, a former player who does well connecting to current players may be just what a rookie needs.
This one is a long shot but has to be mentioned. While it is unlikely, there are currently reports that the Miami Dolphins may fire Mike McDaniel after just one season. This is only if they do not make the AFC Playoffs. The Dolphins will need to beat the New York Jets this weekend in order to make the playoffs. Just like DeMeco Ryans, McDaniel formerly was the offensive coordinator for the San Francisco 49ers. This placement is highly unlikely but still should be mentioned.
The Carolina Panthers fired their former Head Coach very early in the season. Ironically, they fired former Head Coach Matt Rhule after they suffered a bad loss against the 49ers. There is a very strong chance that the team keeps their interim head coach, Steve Wilks, who has done fairly well for a team looking to rebuild in the offseason. The Panthers have already begun their rebuilding process, trading away some of their top players such as running back Christian McCaffrey. Ryans may be the coach they want to help these young players, but there is a chance Wilks will stay with them.
The Houston Texans have not fired their current head coach, Lovie Smith. The team did however go 2-13-1 with one more game left in the season. There is a chance Smith stays after only being there for one year but it is still something to discuss. Ryans will have a lot to fix with this franchise, but will most likely have the number one draft pick where they can hopefully draft their franchise quarterback.
Also worth noting, DeMeco Ryans did play for the Texans for six years. This would be a factor in why he has a chance to become the Head Coach there in 2023. Already knowing the organization is a boost, but this is only if Smith is fired first.
The Arizona Cardinals are another long-shot spot for DeMeco Ryans. There has been a lot of tension between Head Coach Kliff Kingsbury and quarterback Kyler Murray. There have been reports that Kingsbury may walk away from the team, but similar to the Texans and Dolphins, there is no word on that yet with one more game this weekend. The Cardinals currently have a 4-12 record. They will be facing Ryans’ defense in the final game of the season.
While the Cardinals may keep Kingsbury, it will be something to monitor. Kingsbury has reported that Murray most likely will not be healthy in week one of the 2023 season after suffering a season-ending injury this year. That can also be a factor in their coaching decision.
Of course, it can be mentioned that DeMeco Ryans could stay with the 49ers, but that is highly unlikely after the amazing season that he has had. Wherever Ryans goes, it will be well deserved for a dedicated coach.
For More NFL and NCAA Content:
Check out my most recent article on the upcoming 49ers game. Be sure to check out these two 49ers’ articles on the standout players against the Raiders, and why their close game is not a bad thing. Also, check out this week’s Underestimated Player Spotlight.
Check out this article on the Top 5 Rutgers games of the 2022 season. Check out my article on the 2023 Rose Bowl.
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