Texans coach DeMeco Ryans values experience as best teacher for young quarterbacks
DeMeco Ryans had an all-access pass to what thrusting a rookie quarterback into a big situation looks like.
The San Francisco 49ers were down to seventh-rounder Brock Purdy when Trey Lance and Jimmy Garoppolo were lost for the season by Week 14. The 49ers were 8-4 and in a race for the NFC West. Ryans did his part as defensive coordinator, earning assistant coach of the year honors in the process, but they needed Purdy to step up.
San Francisco won four games to secure the No. 2 seed, and then the wild-card and divisional round for a bout with the Philadelphia Eagles in the NFC Championship Game. Although Purdy tore his UCL in his throwing arm amid the 31-7 loss, they wouldn’t have gotten there without Purdy.
Ryans is entering his first year as the Houston Texans’ coach, and his view on experience preparing players is only galvanized.
“I think experience is the best teacher, and that’s what you saw from Brock last year,” said Ryans at the NFL owners meetings in Phoenix Monday.
The secret to Purdy’s success was the amount of playing time he had as a starter all four years with Iowa State from 2018-21.
“So when he got in a game, it wasn’t too big for him,” Ryans said. “That’s what I tell guys: the game doesn’t change as much. Yeah, guys get a little better around you, but the game doesn’t change much, and Brock had that confidence about him because he had been through a lot of situations. He’s played a lot of ball.”
Regardless of what the equally quarterback deficient Carolina Panthers do at No. 1 overall, the Texans will have what is left between Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud and Alabama’s Bryce Young, two players with considerable experience as starters for marquee programs.
However, it wasn’t just the experience that made Purdy excel.
Said Ryans: “What he did when he wasn’t playing, after practice he was with our quarterback coach, Coach (Klay) Kubiak, and he was working with him, going through the entire script. Yeah, he can put the work in, he has the experience, but also what is he doing behind the scenes when everyone else is in the locker room getting ready to go, he’s still out there on the field working.”
What the Texans will determine when they bring in Young and Stroud for visits is if they have the work ethic to go with their starting experience.
“It’s about having a special work ethic at that position, as well, that sets you apart from everyone else,” Ryans said.
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