JANUARY 23: Ryans ended up cancelling his Sunday interviews with the Cardinals and Colts due to the tight timeline, Jay Glazer of FOX Sports notes (video link). With the 49ers having advanced to the NFC title game, he will not be eligible to meet with either team until next Monday at the earliest.
JANUARY 22: Sunday will be a busy day for Ryans. Per ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, Ryans will interview with both the Cardinals and Colts on Sunday, prior to the 49ers’ divisional round contest against the Cowboys (video link). Fowler adds that Ryans’ Texans summit went late into the evening on Friday, so it sounds as if the two sides had a productive conversation.
JANUARY 19: Ryans is, in fact, planning to interview with all four teams this week, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets. Despite an already-busy schedule, the 49ers assistant will meet with the Cardinals and Colts this week. This represents quite the workload for the coveted staffer and offers the latest example of the annual issues that arise from the NFL letting teams interview assistants during the postseason.
JANUARY 17: Because of NFL rules allowing teams to interview HC candidates during the week of divisional-round games, DeMeco Ryans is mired in one of the busier periods in recent coaching-carousel history. The 49ers’ defensive coordinator is planning to meet with four of the five teams in search of a head coach.
Already confirmed to be meeting with the Broncos this week, Ryans will also meet with the Texans on Friday. Kyle Shanahan said (via The Athletic’s Matt Barrows, on Twitter) his second-year DC is interviewing for the Denver and Houston jobs this week while indicating Arizona and Indianapolis meetings are on Ryans’ docket for sometime after this week. The Panthers requested a Ryans interview, but nothing is scheduled at this point.
Not much is known on the Cardinals’ HC front. Only four candidates — Ryans, Vance Joseph, Brian Flores and Sean Payton — have been connected to Arizona’s search. The team preferred to hire its GM first, and with Monti Ossenfort now officially in place in that role, the HC search will accelerate. The Cardinals have become familiar with Ryans’ work, having faced the 49ers four times since he took over as their defensive play-caller in 2021.
Rumored to be considering passing on an interview with the team that drafted him, the former Texans linebacker is now set to discuss the position with the Nick Caserio-led regime. Ryans indeed deliberated on meeting with the Texans, KPRC’s Aaron Wilson notes. Ryans sued the Texans and the NFL after suffering an Achilles tear at NRG Stadium in 2014. That $10MM lawsuit centered around NRG Stadium’s playing surface. An Eagles starter in 2014, Ryans alleged the injury led to a premature ending to his career — one he said would have lasted beyond its 2015 endpoint had that injury not occurred.
The Texans drafted Ryans in the 2006 second round and immediately plugged him in as a starter. Ryans operated as a starter throughout his six-year stay in Houston and signed a second contract with the team in 2010. The Texans traded him to the Eagles in 2012. Ryans caught on with Shanahan, an ex-Texans assistant, in 2017 as a quality control coach and has since become one of the NFL’s hottest HC candidates.
Ryans’ 49ers defense finished the season first in yards, points and DVOA; he has been expected to land one of the available HC jobs for a bit now. Such a move would follow the Jets’ hire of former 49ers DC Robert Saleh and provide San Francisco with two third-round picks, thanks to a Rooney Rule adjustment that rewards teams who see minority assistants land HC gigs or front office staffers hired as GMs.