(SportsRadio 610) - The Houston Texans and DeMeco Ryans have agreed to terms on a reported six-year contract, making the former Texans linebacker the sixth head coach in franchise history.
Ryans joins the Texans after spending the previous six seasons with the San Francisco 49ers, including the past two years as their defensive coordinator.
Taking over for former 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh, who brought the unit back to respectability before landing a head coaching job with the New York Jets, Ryans had the 49ers clicking on all cylinders in 2022.
Ryans’ defense allowed the fewest points (16.8) and yards (300.6) per game while finishing tied for second in the league with the most takeaways (30).
“Being the head coach of the Houston Texans is my dream job and my family is thrilled to be back in H-Town,” Ryans said in a statement released by the team. "I have been around the game of football my entire life and I’ve always had a natural ability to lead others. I know what it takes to win and be successful in this league as both a player and coach.”
Ryans takes over a team with plenty of room to grow and is in one of the best positions to do so fairly quickly.
Given the amount of draft capital (11 draft selection) and salary cap space available this offseason ($39.2 million according to OverTheCap.com), the Texans can parlay one of their most exciting days in recent memory into one of the most fruitful offseasons in franchise history.
Now that the Texans have cleared a major hurdle and have hired one of the top candidates on the coaching market, major questions loom regarding filling out the rest of the coaching staff, particularly who Ryans and the Texans will peg as the team's next offensive coordinator.
While Ryans, general manager Nick Caserio and an offensive coordinator yet to be named, will be deciding what to do with that No. 2 overall pick when April 27 rolls around, the newest Texans head coach will have his hands full with improving the historically bad run defense as well.
The Texans allowed a league worst 170.2 yard per game this past season, the worst by an NFL defense since the 0-16 Detroit Lions in 2008.
The last handful of years, the Texans have routinely been considered one of the softest defenses in the league. In 2022, it was no different as the Texans missed 90 total tackles on the season, the second most in the NFL while also allowing the sixth-most points per game for the third consecutive year.
The Texans and their new head coach are confident drastic change is imminent.
Team chairman and CEO Cal McNair along with his wife Hannah, joined The Drive with Stoerner & Hughley on Tuesday afternoon and said they are excited to bring Ryans back to Houston.
“How he has worked his way up through the ranks is admirable, McNair said. “DeMeco said 'bring me home' and we brought him home.”
Just seven years removed from retiring with the Philadelphia Eagles, Ryans indeed has risen through the ranks quickly.
Beginning as a defensive quality control coach for the 49ers in 2017 under coach Kyle Shanahan, Ryans’ work ethic and ability to lead and learn fast earned him the opportunity to coach the linebackers in 2018, a role he held for three seasons before being elevated to coordinator in 2021.
With a ton of work to be done, Ryans, who has never shied away from a challenge, has the biggest one the organization has ever been faced with ahead of him.
And he’s in charge.
“We’re going to build a program filled with players who have a special work ethic and relentless mindset,” Ryans said. “I understand the responsibility I have to this organization and to the fans of Houston to build a winner and I can’t wait to get to work.”
Shaun Bijani has spent the last 16 years covering the Houston sports scene for SportsRadio 610. Follow him on Twitter @ShaunBijani.
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