Fast-Rising 49ers Assistant Could get Head Coaching Interviews: Insider

49ers staff

Getty The San Francisco 49ers coaching staff during the Cardinals loss on Halloween.

“Black Monday” falls on January 10, 2022 — when NFL teams decide if they want to keep their head coach or post a new job opening online.

It’s also the time of year when assistant coaches get their elevation to head man with a new team, a la Robert Saleh who went from the San Francisco 49ers to the New York Jets one year ago.

Speaking of the ex-defensive coordinator, one former co-worker of his has been mentioned as a name to watch in NFL circles per NFL insider Tom Pelissero, who released his list of “Young NFL coaches to Watch” on the morning of Wednesday, November 17.


Who is the Name to Watch?

Who could join Saleh as someone from the 49ers staff who worked his way to head coach according to Pelissero?

If it happens, this man becomes the second straight assistant from Kyle Shanahan to ascend to head coach…and bequeath the defensive coordinator duties.

Defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans could be a one-and-done, as his name was among the 70 names Pelissero mentions in his column. Here’s what he wrote regarding why Ryan could be a hot commodity real soon:

“A two-time Pro Bowl linebacker who played 10 NFL seasons, Ryans is now in his fifth year as a 49ers assistant and first as Robert Saleh’s successor at DC. He’s another candidate whose leadership traits would have to win out over his relative inexperience for him to get a shot this soon. But don’t be surprised if he gets interviews.”

Ryans has already been mentioned as a “hands-on” coach with his players when it comes to how he teaches the game.

There are signs that point to both Ryans perhaps needing one more year or showing several that he’s ready to make the NFL head coaching jump.


Ryan’s Dilemma and Accomplishments Thus Far

Here’s where some will feel that the 37-year-old Ryans may need to stick around the Bay Area for at least one more season:

Experience: As Pelissero mentioned, this is his first year of running an entire defensive unit. Certain NFL teams looking for a defensive mind to run their team may opt for more seasoned play-callers of the defense.

Ground control a weakness: The 49ers have had an inability to stop the run consistently — allowing the 19th most yards through nine games. However, among NFC West teams, the 49ers have allowed the most rushing touchdowns at 12, which also places them at 29th overall in the league.

Scoreboard lights up: The 49ers under Ryans have allowed 30 or more points four times this season. Their 23.6 points allowed per game places S.F at 17th overall.

However, here’s the accolades Ryans has that helps make him future head coach material for 2022:

Nothing over 3K yet: The 49ers are third overall in yards allowed, joining the Carolina Panthers and leader Buffalo Bills as the only unit to have surrendered fewer than 3,000 yards through the first nine games.

Denying the sky: San Francisco’s pass defense has given up the fourth-fewest passing yards in the league with 1,878 yards (average of 208.7 per game).

Sack Francisco: The 49ers’ pass rush is tied for ninth in total sacks at 20. Eight different 49ers have produced a sack under Ryans. And one of the teams they share the number 20 with? Saleh’s newest team.

Party in the Bay over L.A.: Recently on Monday Night Football, the league’s best passing offense — which also featured newly acquired Odell Beckham Jr. — was bottled to just 226 aerial yards, one touchdown pass, but two interceptions and two sacks. As for Beckham? Two catches for just 18 yards in his Rams debut. And while Cooper Kupp caught 11 passes for 122 yards, he had no receptions stretch beyond 30 yards and kept him out of the end zone.

Regarding the Rams’ performance, 49ers legend and Hall of Famer Ronnie Lott raved about how the unit operated in dismantling that explosive offense.

The complete Pelissero column can be read here.

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