Texans should consider interviewing 49ers DC DeMeco Ryans for their coaching vacancy

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The Houston Texans ought consider a blast from the past as they evaluate candidates for their coaching vacancy.

One candidate to consider would be San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans, whose unit put on a dominant effort in the NFC wild-card against the Dallas Cowboys on Jan. 16.

The 49ers defense held the Cowboys, who were the NFL’s No. 1 scoring offense (32.1 points per game) and No. 1 offense (407 yards per game), to 17 points and 307 yards as the 49ers preserved victory 23-17 at AT&T Stadium.

What was particularly impressive about the defensive performance was defensive end was knocked out of the game with 1:19 to go until halftime. Nevertheless the pass rush was able to get to quarterback Dak Prescott and drop him an additional four times after Bosa left the game with a neck injury.

Without linebacker Fred Warner on the field, who was also knocked out of the game midway through the fourth quarter, the defense managed to prevent Dallas from mounting a game-winning drive on their final two drives. Although Prescott’s decision to run a draw with 14 seconds will always be talked about, Ryans’ defense stopped the Cowboys on a fourth-and-11 from the 49ers’ 47-yard line on Dallas’ penultimate drive, one that had a far better chance of letting Dallas take the lead.

The success against the Cowboys wasn’t a fluke, but a pattern of play that had been evident throughout the season. The 49ers finished 2021 tied with the Indianapolis Colts as the ninth-best scoring defense and third-best defense overall. The 49ers were also able to generate a pass rush with 48 sacks and 98 tackles for loss.

Ryans, 37, is much like New England Patriots inside linebackers coach Jerod Mayo, 35, in that he is relatively callow as a coach and has only grown up in one organization. However, Ryans has the leg up on Mayo in that he is actually a defensive coordinator, even though it has been just one season. Ryans graduated from being a position coach to being a coordinator when Robert Saleh took the New York Jets coaching job. If Mayo is going to be a candidate, then Ryans certainly should be, too.