Mandatory Credit: Photo by Godofredo A Vásquez/AP/Shutterstock (13702535gv) Arizona Cardinals defensive end J.J. Wat (99) poses with San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans after an NFL football game in Santa Clara, Calif Cardinals 49ers Football, Santa Clara, United States – 08 Jan 2023
John P. Lopez – DeAdded Value: Everyone wants to be in the DeMeco Ryans business
This may be a little hasty, considering we don’t yet even know the details of DeMeco Ryans’ contract with the Texans.
But the man probably deserves a raise.
In a matter of mere hours, after news circulated that the Texans managed to pull off the Mother Of All Homerun Hires, the NFL was abuzz. Was this real? Was it actually happening? The Texans did that? THOSE Texans?
Yes … yes, it was. And in a flash, everything changed.
Football. Ticket sales. Reengaging fans and former players. Marketing possibilities. Buzz. All of it.
Ryans’ unique combination of charisma and no-excuses accountability, his acute Xs-and-Os preparedness, and feel-of-the-game nuance has defined his playing and coaching career. His judgment of talent and knack for getting the most out of it has tabbed him as a future head coaching star.
And now that he has earned the head coaching opportunity he seemed destined to earn, in Houston of all places, his true value comes into focus more than ever. There may be another NFL team in Texas known for its star, but that team suddenly is on tenuous ground while the Texans rise.
Ryans’ leadership abilities go far beyond the football field. People gravitate toward him in uncanny ways.
We knew as much when, as a player, he was called “Cap” — as in captain — as a rookie. Those attributes followed him throughout his long career in Houston and Philadelphia. As a coach, those attributes only grew stronger and were acknowledged across the league.
Today it’s clear that by hiring DeMeco Ryans, the Texans not only hired the best, most-qualified candidate on the market not named Sean Payton, they guaranteed themselves the best of the best in every corner of NRG Stadium, in every possible way.
Foremost, his offensive and defensive staffs. Also abuzz in the hours after his hire was DeMeco’s phone. Potential coordinators and assistant coaches stumbled over one another trying to get face time with the new face of the Texans. Some of the names are quite familiar, others not so much.
No matter how the staff ultimately lines up, though, as one longtime NFL assistant said, “just watch. It’s going to be a Dream Team on that staff. Everyone believes in that guy. Everyone wants to work for him.”
Also abuzz were phones at the NRG Stadium ticket offices, to the point that when Ryans walked through the business office Tuesday, he received a standing ovation and a chorus of cheers.
Gone are the days of trying to sell a three-legged donkey to a thoroughbred farm.
Everyone wants to be in the DeMeco Ryans business – from corporate sponsors, to potential free agents, to once-alienated season ticket holders. Notably, numerous former players who all but disassociated themselves from the organization in recent years are back.
Numerous times in recent years, several notable players said, “no, thank you” when approached by the organization to take part in events. But at Ryans’ official press conference Thursday, an assortment of former Texans stars and coaches will be in attendance to offer an obvious show of support. Perhaps never has an organization done such a profound about-face with one simple move.
“There are a lot of places he could have gone, but he wanted to be here and we wanted him here,” Texans CEO Cal McNair told Sports Radio 610. “It really worked out, and we couldn’t be more excited.”
They should be.
Houston is a football town again, and DeMeco Ryans is the reason why.
Jets head coach Robert Saleh called the Texans, “very fortunate” to bring Ryans back home. Niners head coach Kyle Shanahan said Ryans was, “one of the best people and coaches I’ve been around.” Former Texans defensive coordinator Wade Phillips said Ryans is, “one of the most well-liked and smartest” players he’s been around.
That likeability already is translating into a potential coaching staff that will turn heads and have the young Texans learning from some of the sharpest minds in the game.
At offensive coordinator, two names seem to be at the top of Ryans’ list, but rest assured, just because two names have been reported, by no means are they the only ones who want to make Houston their next stop.
The Texans have asked to interview Niners quarterbacks coach Bobby Slowik, a football lifer with connections to the Gary Kubiak/Kyle Shanahan offense that has dominated the NFL in recent years. Slowik was integral in scouting and developing Niners rookie quarterback Brock Purdy. He also could bring in Niners assistant Klay Kubiak, former coach Gary’s son. Also a possibility at OC is Klint Kubiak, the Broncos’ passing game coordinator, although the Buccaneers also could be in the mix.
And the Texans have asked to interview Bengals receivers coach Troy Walters for the OC job. Walters is considered another star play-caller in the making after helping the Bengals’ offense to unprecedented heights. Walters has deep ties with Jerrod Johnson, who interviewed for the Chargers offensive coordinator job this month and is a former Texas A&M great with quarterback-coach ties to both high quarterback draft prospects Bryce Young and C.J. Stroud. The other offensive coach seemingly on Ryans’ radar – though not necessarily as a coordinator – is former Niners and Kentucky offensive assistant Rich Scangarello, who worked in San Francisco with Ryans before going to Kentucky, where he coached draft prospect, Will Levis.
At defensive coordinator, things are much murkier, considering Ryans figures to give up a lot of the day-to-day minutiae of coaching but still call defensive plays. That’s where Niners defensive line coach Kris Korcurek could be an ideal fit. Korcurek, a Deanville native, is regarded as a great teacher and would figure to work well with Ryans on the defensive side. Though not necessarily a coordinator, NFL lifer Johnny Holland, a father figure to Ryans, figures to be a possibility as well.
It’s good to be in the DeMeco Ryans business these days.
A friend of Ryans’ laughed Wednesday when asked if he’d spoken to Ryans by phone.
“You serious? Get in line.”
It’s good to be the Texans. In every conceivable way, it’s good to have DeMeco home.