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The Houston Texans reportedly hired former San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans as their new head coach.
Ryans has been the presumed favorite for the job, especially over the past week, and now that the 49ers season is over the Texans made it official.
Ryans is a former Texans draft pick — #33 overall, 2006 — who won Rookie of the Year for the team in ’06-07. He also became a First Team All-Pro in Houston and made two Pro Bowls. After spending the first six seasons of his career in Houston, the team traded him to the Eagles.
The former second-round pick spent four seasons with Philadelphia before retiring after the 2015-16 season.
Following his playing career, Ryans spent one season out of the league before the 49ers hired him as a defensive assistant in 2017. He quickly moved up the ranks, taking over as defensive coordinator when the New York Jets hired Robert Saleh away from San Francisco in 2021.
Ryans’ 49ers defense finished third-best in the NFL in yards allowed in 2021 and the unit was the league’s best overall this season. That helped the team reach the NFC Championship game despite playing with its third-string quarterback.
Houston Texans hope DeMeco Ryans can end tumultuous turnover among team head coaches
The Houston Texans have had ridiculous turnover among their head coaches over the past several years. After firing Bill O’Brien in the middle of the 2020 season, they named Romeo Crennel interim coach. After the season, they hired David Culley. Culley lasted one season and the team fired him.
Last offseason, the team seemed poised to hire Josh McCown but backlash against the move caused them to change course and hire Lovie Smith. Like Culley, the team fired Smith after just one season.
Since the start of the 2020 season, the Houston Texans have had four head coaches and Ryans becomes the fifth.
Many in the media have accused the team of racism for firing two black head coaches after one season each, and Ryans now becomes the fourth consecutive black head coach in Houston (including Crennel as interim).
So, despite ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith saying that no black head coach should take the job in Houston, DeMeco Ryans has decided moving up to NFL head coach is more than worth the risk.
The Texans reached the playoffs in 2019 — and won a playoff game — following a 10-6 regular season under O’Brien but are just 11-38 in three seasons since.
They also hold the #2 pick in the NFL Draft and are widely expected to take a quarterback with that selection.
Ryans inherits a roster with a lot of holes, but will have an opportunity to build the team back up.
Follow Dan Zaksheske on Twitter: @OutkickDanZ