When the San Francisco 49ers lost in the NFC Championship Game to the Eagles on Sunday, there was an expectation that for the second straight offseason, Kyle Shanahan would have to replace one of his coordinators.
Last year it was offensive coordinator Mike McDaniel that got his first head coaching job in Miami, but this year all eyes were on the other side of the ball for San Francisco and defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans. The Niners were the best defense in football this year and Ryans name had steadily risen from potential head coach to a guy that was almost unquestionably getting poached this offseason. The Houston Texans became the team linked most to Ryans, with it being reported as a foregone conclusion that once the Niners were eliminated, the Texans would finalize a deal for him to be their next head coach.
However, through Monday afternoon, there was nothing official and no update from the leading newsbreakers in the NFL on Ryans to the Texans. That’s when the recently retired JJ Watt decided to offer what seemed to be a tease/confirmation of what everyone expected, posting a picture of he and Ryans when they were teammates in Houston.
— JJ Watt (@JJWatt) January 30, 2023
And on Tuesday, Adam Schefter revealed that Ryans is, indeed, heading to the Texans.
Former 49ers’ defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans and the Houston Texans reached agreement today on a six-year deal, per sources. Texans have their new head coach. pic.twitter.com/1CvFSLvZY5
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) January 31, 2023
Ryans played the first six of his 10 NFL seasons in Houston from 2006-2011 before finishing his career in Philadelphia. He has been an assistant in San Francisco since 2017, spending the last two seasons as their defensive coordinator, presiding over the NFL’s best scoring defense this past season. Taking over a Texans team that has won just 11 games in the last three years will present a steep hill for Ryans to climb, but with the No. 2 overall pick coming in as the new face of the franchise at quarterback, hopefully this hire will be a long-term one for Houston.
The Texans have fired their last two head coaches after one-year stints, as David Culley and Lovie Smith both were given just one year with one of the league’s worst rosters before being ousted. Ryans represents a very different hire to Culley and Smith, who, at least from the outside, seemed very much like they were there to be the adults in the room until the organization could figure out its direction and go for someone younger. Ryans certainly fits that bill at 38 years old and will bring a different energy to the Texans, one that is much needed within a franchise that has been wandering aimlessly for a number of years now.