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NFL Rumors: 49ers DC DeMeco Ryans 'in Line' to Become NFL HC in 2023

Tyler Conway@@jtylerconwayFeatured Columnist IVDecember 11, 2022

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)
Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images

San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans is reportedly expected to be among the top candidates for head-coaching vacancies this offseason.

Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reported there's a belief within the 49ers that Ryan is "in line" to become a head coach after spending the last two seasons leading the San Francisco defense.

The Minnesota Vikings and Las Vegas Raiders interviewed Ryans for their head-coaching vacancies last offseason. Ryans declined a second interview with the Vikings in favor of spending a second season as a defensive coordinator.

A two-time Pro Bowler over the course of his 10-year NFL career, Ryans joined the 49ers in 2017 upon his retirement. He's quickly moved up the coaching ranks, going from a quality control assistant to defensive coordinator in the span of four years.

Unsurprisingly, Ryans has developed a player-first reputation and coaches with the same type of infectious positivity he exhibited during his playing career.

"The game of football is fun. I want guys having fun out there, flying around and most importantly, our guys have to be confident," Ryans told reporters last month. "And you're confident when the energy is high. Everybody's smiling, everybody's having fun. If we're making plays right, that enthusiasm is going to be high, the energy is going to be high and that's when turnovers happen. That's when big hits happen, that's when big plays start to happen when everybody is just bought in and playing for each other."

The Carolina Panthers and Indianapolis Colts already fired their head coaches and will be looking for a new full-time coach this offseason. The Arizona Cardinals and Denver Broncos also appear to be good bets to make coaching changes.

That said, the coaching market will likely be quieter this offseason than in recent years. Twenty teams have made coaching changes since the end of the 2019 season, and there were 10 vacancies last offseason. Denver's Nathaniel Hackett is the only coach hired last offseason in serious jeopardy of losing his job. Houston's Lovie Smith may also have a warm seat, but it's unlikely the Texans will want two one-and-done coaches in a row.