Other favorites including Quinn, Peyton and Caldwell remain mixed, but the 49ers’ defensive coordinator appears to be the frontrunner. Houston is also interested in Bryan’s.
ENGLEWOOD, Colorado — San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans has emerged as a leading candidate to become the next head coach of the Denver Broncos.
Other Broncos head coach candidates remaining in the lineup include Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, former New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton and former Detroit Lions head coach Jim Caldwell, head coach of the Indianapolis Colts, according to a source. But Ryans seems to be the better option.
Broncos CEO and owner Greg Penner has spent the past few days regrouping with the other owners involved — Cary Penner, Rob Walton and Condoleezza Rice — as well as general manager George Button. Penner appears to have taken a careful approach to the head coaching search, which includes follow-up conversations in and out of the team’s headquarters to get more information about the candidates and gauge their interest in the senior job.
If Penner wants to meet Ryans a second time, he’ll have to wait until early next week. The Ryans’ 49ers play Sunday against the Eagles in Philadelphia in the NFC Championship game.
If the Broncos visit with the Ryans for the second time, Penner is expected to be joined by fellow owners Rob Walton and Carrie Walton Penner, who have been involved in the process. The Walton-Penner family trio led the ownership group that bought the Broncos for a record $4.65 billion sports franchise in August.
According to sources, the Houston Texans are also looking to Ryans to be their next head coach. Ryans was selected by the Texans out of Alabama in the second round of the 2006 draft and was a six-year stint at linebacker for Houston coach Gary Kubik before ending his career as a four-year starter for the Philadelphia Eagles. Ryan’s wife, Jamila, is from Houston, and they have three children.
Ryans has had interview requests with the coach from the Broncos, Texans, Arizona Cardinals, and Colts. He interviewed the Broncos and Texans but canceled his interviews and essentially withdrew from consideration with the Cardinals and Colts.
When Penner began the search for his head coach after firing Nathaniel Hackett two weeks before the end of the regular season, he preferred to find someone with prior coaching experience. why? Three former Broncos named to the position since 2017—Vance Joseph, Vic Fangio, and Hackett—were all first-time head coaches. None of them posted a winning season and they were all fired before reaching the end of their four-year contracts.
But Penner also kept an open mind while searching for a dynamic leader with an edge for his next coach, and didn’t limit his eight candidates to those with prior experience. While Jim Harbaugh, Raheem Morris, Quinn, Payton and Caldwell are candidates with previous NFL head coaching experience, three of them haven’t — Ryans, Broncos defensive coordinator Ejiro Eveiro and David Shaw, who recently resigned as Stanford’s head coach.
Rice and Button’s co-owner Benner came away impressed by Ryans during their interview with him last Thursday in the San Francisco Bay Area. And while Ryans’ coaching resume is lackluster in terms of experience compared to other coaches in the NFL, so was Mike Tomlin before the Rooney family was blown away by an apparent leadership order and hired to be the Pittsburgh Steelers head coach in 2007. Tomlin remains the Steelers’ head coach. 16 years later because he has yet to experience a losing season.
Tomlin became head coach after only one year as defensive coordinator. Ryans has been the Defensive Coordinator for the 49ers for the past two years and has been hugely successful each season. The 49ers were third in total defense in 2021 and tied for ninth in scoring, then became a postseason surprise with playoff upsets from the Cowboys in Dallas and Packers in Green Bay before nearly defeating the Los Angeles Rams in the NFC. Championship match.
The 49ers are making a comeback trip to the NFL’s Final Four as Ryans defense fared better in 2022. In fact, it was as if he lost two of his best players to the Broncos in defensive tackle DJ Jones and nickelback cornerback Kawon Williams, NYC The 49ers ranked first this year in both total defense and points.
The Ryans defense snagged 49ers Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott twice Sunday in a 19-12 second-round playoff win.
Although the Ryans implement a 4-3 defensive system, Evero will likely return as the Broncos’ defensive coordinator even though Evero runs a 3-4 defense as it will take time for general manager George Button to adjust his roster personnel.
After his playing career ended after the 2015 season, Ryans began his coaching career as the Defensive Quality Control Coach for the 49ers in 2017. After one year he was promoted to Inside Linebackers Coach, his position for three years. He then replaced Robert Salih as the defensive coordinator in 2021 when Salih became the head coach of the New York Jets.
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