49ers defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans interviewed for a couple of head coaching jobs last week and it wouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone if the architect of the league’s top defense wound up taking the final step up the coaching ladder this year.
That includes 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan, who hired Ryans as defensive quality control coach in 2017. Ryans moved up to linebackers coach before taking over as a coordinator in 2021 and Shanahan said that he pegged Ryans as a coaching star early in his tenure.
On Wednesday, Shanahan joked that he hopes Ryans is “not a head coach next year” before saying Ryans has been deserving of a top job for some time.
“I think it starts as a man,” Shanahan said, via 49ersWebzone.com. “He’s the ideal leader, whatever he does. He was that way when he came into Houston as a rookie linebacker. He took over that defense right away. You could tell he was in charge when he was a 21-year-old. He came in here as a quality control [coach], and within like six months, we moved him to linebacker coach. He’s just always been that guy. And then just watching him over these two years, what he took in his years learning to get there — he runs his system, and then he adjusts every week. He sees how to play an offense. He pays attention to offense and defense. I thought he was ready last year to be a head coach.”
Ryans wound up interviewing with the Broncos and Texans and could have second interviews with both teams next week. He would be free to interview for the Colts and Panthers, who both requested interviews, if the 49ers lose but would have to wait to speak to either team until after the Super Bowl if the 49ers advance.