Every year, the NFL releases an information guide to kick off the preseason, and it includes a Q&A segment with each of the new head coaches around the league. Last summer, that included Chip Kelly, who answered a variety of questions ranging from favorite food and movie, to overrated and underrated aspects of football, to what he would be doing if he were not a coach.
One of the questions was which current or former player would make a great head coach. His answer? Newly hired defensive quality control coach DeMeco Ryans! (h/t CSN Philly writer Dave Zangaro)
The 49ers announced the latest round of hirings, and it included the former All Pro linebacker. Ryans was drafted by the Houston in the second round of the 2006 NFL Draft. He played six seasons with the Texans, and then four more with the Philadelphia Eagles. He was named AP Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2006, First team All Pro in 2007, and to the Pro Bowl in 2007 and 2009.
Bleeding Green Nation talked about Ryans’ leadership and how well respected he was on the Eagles. His decision to take on a quality control job suggests a person who is serious about learning all there is to know about being a coach. Former players often become position coaches at the positions where they found success in the NFL. A quality control coach on the other hand turns into a jack of all trades who learns about everything connected to the team. The New York Times had a great article in 2009 breaking down the role.
Ryans took a year off after finishing his career in 2015. His decision to take on the DQC role suggests a guy who wants to go above and beyond just being a position coach. My guess is he has his sights set on becoming a head coach down the road. Taking on the DQC role provides him an important jumping off point. It remains to be seen how he will pan out as a coach, but this first move into the coaching ranks bodes well for him.