SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS
DeMeco Ryans ‘Proud’ to coach 49ers amidst head coach inquiries
The San Francisco 49ers are in a different place than they were last season. Behind the Los Angeles Rams and Arizona Cardinals in. the standings, San Francisco needed to win out the final two weeks of the season to clinic their ticket to the playoffs. Defeating the Rams, 27-24, Week 18, the 49ers punched their rocket and like they say: The rest is history.
This season has been a bit more relaxed down the stretch, becoming the first team to clinch their division Week 15 with a win over the Seattle Seahawks. Now sporting a 10-game win streak, defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans understand the challenges of pushing your postseason ticket early, happy to finally make it to Wild Card Weekend.
“We’re happy to be here now. It’s weird when you clinch so early,” DeMeco Ryans said after practice Wednesday. “It’s a little weird. You still have to push through these games, try to advance your seeding as best as possible, but I think everybody is thinking okay, we’re here now, now it’s time to go. We’ve been waiting on this moment for a long time. Our guys have worked really hard to put themselves in position to have a chance and we’re here now and our guys are excited about the opportunity and they’re working the right way, so I’m excited for our guys. I’m excited to see them go play.”
The road to the playoffs is never easy, even more-so when the No. 1 seed is in play up to the final whistle of the regular season. San Francisco has faced challenges along the way: A third-string rookie quarterback, injuries and illnesses, that shootout in the desert on New Year’s Day with the Las Vegas Raiders.
Despite all the ups-and-downs, Ryans couldn’t be prouder to coach this 49ers’ group this season.
“That’s the character of the guys that we have, again, just made of the right stuff and I’m just so proud to coach these guys. So proud to coach them,” Ryans said with a smile.
Now is not the time for reflecting though, there’s still games to be won.
The 49ers kick off their 2022 postseason this satriday with a visit from a family foe: The Seahawks. Despite having their number in the regular season, the 49ers and Ryans aren’t taking the matchup lightly, focusing on being 1-0 in the playoffs.
“For me, I look at it as this is this game this week,” Ryans explained. “I don’t look at it as the third time or I can’t look at as the third time. It’s all new. They’ve done different things, different tendencies from the last time we played them, so all of that really doesn’t matter about three times, it’s about this time and how are we going to go play this time? It’s playoff football, how are we going to go out and play our style of football? What happened before the previous two games, it really doesn’t affect when we kick the ball off on Saturday. It has no meaning on what happens on the field. We have to be the best team on Saturday for three and a half hours.”
His focus on the task at hand is partially miraculous because of the looming courtship on his doorstep.
The Panthers have requested permission to interview 49ers defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans, per a league source.
Another candidate besides Steve Wilks with a defensive background. Broncos and Texans also plan to interview Ryans.
— Joe Person (@josephperson) January 12, 2023
Ryans had been rumored to attract many head coaching offers from around the NFL this offseason, already getting interview requests from four organizations. A candidate for a head position elsewhere after last season, Ryans declined a second interview with the Minnesota Vikings prior to the team hiring Kevin O’Connell.
This time around, it may be harder to say no, especially if the 49ers acquire the illustrious sixth Super Bowl title the franchise has been after since 1996. Regardless of what lies ahead, Ryans feels honored to be given another opportunity to interview, humbled by those that came before him.
“It’s very humbling to be able to get requests for head coaching interviews. It’s humbling when you think about a lot of guys who’ve coached before me and a lot of guys put in a lot of years…So I think about guys like that and them not being able to get the opportunity and me, truly being able to go represent for them. And that’s what it means, it means a lot for the other guys that been before me. And it’s special to be able to be in a select group, to have head coaching interviews and people requesting, it’s a special moment, it’s a proud moment and I’m very thankful and grateful just to be spoken of in that light. I’m very humble, very grateful for those opportunities,” Ryans stated.
Click here to watch DeMeco Ryans full Thursday presser