Photo courtesy of the San Francisco 49ers

Photo courtesy of the San Francisco 49ers


Kyle Shanahan sees head coach-like qualities in DeMeco Ryans but hopes 49ers hold onto the DC

Jan 11, 2022 at 8:47 AM--


DeMeco Ryans just finished his first regular season as an NFL defensive coordinator. His players and colleagues know that an NFL team will come calling one day, looking to possibly make Ryans its head coach.

The San Francisco 49ers defense ranks No. 3 in total yards allowed (5,270), is tied for No. 3 in yards allowed per play (5.1), is No. 6 in passing yards allowed (3,510), and No. 7 in rushing yards allowed (1,760). Not bad for the rookie coordinator who replaced Robert Saleh.

All last offseason, head coach Kyle Shanahan expressed confidence in Ryans—almost seeming overconfident in his abilities to lead the defense. It would appear that trust paid off. Shanahan knows, eventually, he will receive that call from an NFL team. He knows another organization will greatly benefit from Ryans' presence if he ever loses his coordinator.

Shanahan spoke with reporters on Monday and was asked if he's already seen head coach-like qualities in Ryans after just one year on the job.

"Oh, definitely," Shanahan responded. "I've seen head coach qualities out of DeMeco when he was a player, when he was a quality control [coach], when he was a linebacker coach, and now when he is a coordinator. So he's always had those qualities. It's just about him getting the reps and getting the experience. It's a matter of time with him."

Shanahan was heartbroken to lose Saleh to the New York Jets, but knowing he had Ryans eased some of that pain. The head coach would like to hold onto Ryans for as long as possible.

"And he has already got enough [experience], so if a team comes calling, they'll get a hell of a one, but I don't want to lose him yet," Shanahan shared. "So hopefully, for my sake, and the Niners' sake, they let him get a few more years here, but I know he's ready. And I feel the same way about Mike [McDaniel]."

The New York Giants have already come calling. Not for Ryans but for two valuable members of general manager John Lynch's staff. They want to interview assistant general manager Adam Peters and director of player personnel Ran Carthon for their vacant general manager job. Losing either would be a blow to the 49ers, but that's part of NFL life for an organization.

"We've got a good staff here," Shanahan added. "And what A.P. has done for us in our five years here, and how much he's helped us build this, what Ran Carthon has done, we've got a lot of guys here who I feel very fortunate to have."

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