DeMeco Ryans prepared for balancing act with HC interviews this week

Jan 20, 2023, 8:30 AM | Updated: 10:12 am
Defensive Coordinator DeMeco Ryans of the San Francisco 49ers on the field before during the game a...
SANTA CLARA, CA - DECEMBER 4: Defensive Coordinator DeMeco Ryans of the San Francisco 49ers on the field before during the game against the Miami Dolphins at Levi's Stadium on December 4, 2022 in Santa Clara, California. The 49ers defeated the Dolphins 33-17. (Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images)
(Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images)

DeMeco Ryans has had a chaotic few weeks to say the least.

The San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator is currently leading the top defense in the NFL, contributing to an 11-game win streak this season. Beating the Seattle Seahawks, 41-23, on Wild Card Weekend, Ryans has his unit at the top of their game.

And yet, he has his eyes on bigger opportunities elsewhere at the same time.

Ryans has been a hot name in the head-coaching market for about a year or so, turning down a second interview with the Minnesota Vikings in 2022 to return to the Bay Area. The second-year DC now seems confident to take the next step in 2023, having four head-coaching interviews lined up. That list of teams includes the Arizona Cardinals, Denver Broncos, Houston Texans and Indianapolis Colts.

He already met with the Broncos Thursday night, with Denver’s brass flying out to California to meet with him in person. Ryans was obviously mute on the details, but he did share that all four interviews will be conducted, either face-to-face or via Zoom.

“Yeah, those will all get handled. They’re all different. Some are Zoom, some are in person. So those all get handled differently,” DeMeco Ryans stated Thursday after practice.

The former Pro Bowl linebacker also saw a friend and colleague leave the organization’s staff this week.

The Tennessee Titans hired 49ers’ director of pro personnel Ran Carthon to be their next general manager Tuesday, effective immediately. Someone Ryans has known for a while, both on and off the field, he’s only spoken highly of his former co-worker in the Bay.

“I think with Ran, the Titans are getting a dynamic leader. That’s what Ran is,” Ryans said. “Ran has been a fantastic leader since the first day I met him here. He’s very knowledgeable of personnel, college and the pro side. He’s a very knowledge guy, very well connected, knows a lot of people, knows a lot about football.

“Seeing it from a lot of different perspectives with his father being a coach, him being a former player in the NFL as well, so he’s seen it on all facets and he’s done a really good job of scouting really good talent and really helping us to acquire some really good talent here, so I wish Ran nothing but the best. I know he’ll do a fantastic job in Tennessee and I couldn’t be prouder of Ran and the work that he’s done and to see him get the GM job there, it’s really cool to see and I’m proud of him. I’m happy for him.” 

Amidst all the hiring chaos though, there’s still a big game on the horizon.

The Red & Gold now face their toughest test yet, with a surging Dallas Cowboys team coming to town. Dallas is fresh off a dominant victory over Tom Brady and the Buccaneers in Tampa Bay Monday Night. Possessing a similarly dominant defense as well, Dallas rivals the 49ers in almost every defensive metric this season.

Ryans knows he’ll need to bring his A-game to Levi’s Stadium Sunday, and that starts with stopping the run.

“The first thing with Dallas is the run game. With their offensive line, they do a really good job of blocking up front and the run game is really where they start,” Ryans explained. “I think [Dallas Cowboys RB Tony] Pollard is a very explosive, dynamic back who can finish; home run speed. [Dallas Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott] Zeke is still playing well, a physical runner, so we have to do a really good job of stopping the run.”

He’ll also need to be wary of quarterback Dak Prescott as well. Prescott is coming off arguably his best game of the season, thrashing the Bucs for 305 yards passing and five total touchdowns. A quarterback’s mobility has been the Achilles heel for San Francisco this season, Ryans knows he’ll need to be aware of Dak at all times.

“[Dallas Cowboys QB] Dak [Prescott] is playing at a high level. He did a really good job on Monday night of making plays, putting his team in position to win the game, keeping plays alive, so he’s done a really good job there of leading that unit. And they’re clicking right now,” Ryans continued.

Despite all that is scheduled in Ryans’s planner for the next seven days, he also knows where the main focus lies, and that’s beating the Cowboys. The future is important too, but DeMeco has always been about being present in the moment.

“I know how to make the main thing the main thing, and the main thing this week is the Cowboys,” Ryans exclaimed.

And with his eyes locked in a Super Bowl ring, expect to see a Niners defense at its best Sunday afternoon.

“Our defense has to play the absolute best if we want to move forward,” Ryans stated.

Click here for DeMeco Ryans’s full Thursday presser


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