One of the most noteworthy members of the San Francisco 49ers coaching staff has been DeMeco Ryans. After finishing his playing career with the Houston Texans, Ryans has quietly been paying his dues in the coaching ranks and in 2018 finally got his first assignment as a position coach, coaching linebackers for the 49ers.
Ryans was one of the few holdovers from Chip Kelly’s coaching staff and for good reason—Kelly considered Ryans a potential head coach one day. Now Kelly’s evaluation of coaches can be interpreted by anyone, but it wasn’t just him heaping the praise. 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh also echoed those sentiments saying Ryans would be a head coach.
Of course, Ryans himself isn’t trying to get too high with any of that. He’s only recently been promoted to linebackers coach and is still learning the ropes of coaching after being a quality control coach for only a year. He was a guest on Matt Maiocco’s recent podcast and was also asked about his future as a head coach:
I think about it. Everything you do, just as I played I wanted to be the best player. Of course I want to be the best coach and see if I can do it on the highest level. I’ve thought about it, but still I’m in the learning phase. It’s my second year doing it, first time position coach. So I’m still learning, learning as much as I can from Coach Saleh, Coach Kyle, learning as much as I can from those guys and we’ll see where it goes.
It’s clear Ryans wants to keep learning, and he’ll need to get a promotion to defensive coordinator if he really wants to be taken seriously as a head coach. When position coaches make that jump without being a coordinator, it can backfire when hiring a staff as they can perceived as having not paid their dues.
It’s clear Ryans has a bright future in the NFL and when he accepts a promotion for another team, it will be a sad day for 49ers fans.
Below are the time stamps from his interview with Matt Maiocco. You can listen to the entire interview using the widget above. If it doesn’t appear, you can click here.
00:30 - The Weather in Houston
00:52 - Being back in Houston
01:30 - Do the fans know he’s the linebackers coach for the 49ers?
02:05 - Building relationships with Kyle Shanahan/Robert Saleh in the early years of their career
03:15 - What he found about coaching making him willing to work for low-pay, long hours
04:15 - His salary as a 49ers defensive quality control coach
05:30 - Seeing the difference in costs of living between Houston to the Bay Area
06:12 - The possibility of being a head coach
07:05 - What he stresses as a position coach
07:40 - Rapport with Reuben Foster
09:05 - Are the players open with him since he’s only recently ceased being a player?
10:15 - What he thinks of the combination of Malcom Smith and Reuben Foster
10:55 - Evaluation of Fred Warner during the draft process/Warner’s progress as a rookie
12:35 - Thoughts on Brock Coyle
13:07 - The style of linebacker he wants