According to 9NEWS Denver’s Mike Klis, San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans has emerged as a top candidate and front-runner for the Denver Broncos head coaching job. Ryans entered this hiring cycle as a coveted candidate and apparently is the one the Broncos have settled on.
Klis notes that Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, former Saints head coach Sean Payton, and veteran head coach Jim Caldwell remain in the mix but that Ryans appears to be the Broncos' top choice. There is no mention of David Shaw here despite previous reports by various people stating otherwise.
Things have been trending this way after the Sean Payton stuff flamed out earlier in the week and more smoke around Ryans started to build. Klis notes that the Broncos have been taking a “meticulous approach” to this decision, so that is why things have been moving slowly. Also, a big factor in this slow approach is that the Broncos cannot have a second interview with Ryans until next week. The 49ers have advanced to the NFC Championship game and Ryans cannot interview with a team until next week and cannot be officially hired until the 49ers lose(this weekend) or until after the Super Bowl.
However, there is competition for Ryans services. The Houston Texans who are in the market for a head coach are also coveting Ryans, who was a former player and second-round pick for them. He has lived in Houston and his wife is from Houston, so the Broncos will need to sway him to come to the Mile High City. I am sure the Broncos deep pockets can do what it takes here to make sure they can land Ryans, but we shall see.
Now, I know the narrative from the beginning was that the Broncos were looking for an experienced head coach. However, they did leave the door open for an inexperienced one during their presser and it sounds like Ryans blew them away during the interview. Klis notes that Penner, Rice, and Paton came away impressed with Ryans after their interview.
Here's Kyle Shanahan's full quote on DeMeco Ryans from today's press conference - saying in part "He's the ideal leader in whatever he does ... you could tell who was in charge when he was a 21-year-old." #Denver7 pic.twitter.com/DHatSrpW1e— Nick Rothschild (@nick_rothschild) January 26, 2023
Another person who is impressed with Ryans is 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan. He spoke highly of him yesterday and told reporters that he believes Ryans was ready to be a head coach last season.
“I think it starts as a man. He’s the ideal leader, whatever he does. He was that way when he came into Houston as a rookie linebacker. He took over that defense right away. You could tell he was in charge when he was a 21-year-old. He came in here as a quality control [coach], and within like six months, we moved him to linebacker coach. He’s just always been that guy. And then just watching him over these two years, what he took in his years learning to get there — he runs his system, and then he adjusts every week. He sees how to play an offense. He pays attention to offense and defense. I thought he was ready last year to be a head coach.”
Klis also mentions that even though Ryans runs a 4-3 defense with the 49ers, it is possible that he keeps current Broncos defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero around as defensive coordinator. Evero is a hot candidate himself, so who knows if he will even be back with the Broncos next season. However, it appears there is a chance there can be a working relationship between the two coaches.
Ryans is a candidate I really wanted to see the Broncos hire, but assumed with their apparent focus on experience, that they would overlook the talent Ryans has. I am glad that did not happen and I think Ryans can be a home run hire for the Broncos. Also, the Broncos would not have to give up any valuable draft compensation to hire Ryans either, so that is a win as well.