Ex-49ers DC DeMeco Ryans Could Turn to Former Rival Head Coach: Report

DeMeco Ryans

Getty DeMeco Ryans during his press conference on February 2, 2023 as the new Texans head coach.

DeMeco Ryans isn’t raiding the San Francisco 49ers to fill his first Houston Texans coaching staff, with rumors of prominent members of the Kyle Shanahan tree being plucked away. However, Ryans could pilfer a former division rival.

NFL insider Aaron Wilson of NBC 2 Houston reported on the morning of Friday, February 10 that the Texans are in talks with former Arizona Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury.

The Ex-Cards and Texas Tech head coach has deep ties to the state of Texas — having grown up in San Antonio and having all of his college coaching stops in the Lonestar State before hopping over to the NFL. And while Ryans’ defenses went up against Kingsbury’s offenses four different times from 2021 to last season, both men have had a good relationship according to NFL insider for The Score Jordan Schultz.

“Kingsbury has a good relationship with DeMeco Ryans, as well as Nick Caserio, whom he knows dating back to their time together with the Patriots,” Schultz shared.

Kingsbury ‘Weighing’ NFL Options, Also Could Persuade First Round Move

Doug Samuels of Football Scoop adds that Kingsbury is back on American soil currently “weighing” his NFL options as coaching staffs in Houston, Indianapolis, Denver and Carolina are continuing to be finalized. Kingsbury had taken a vacation to Thailand immediately after his dismissal from the Cards, who fell to 4-13 this past season after qualifying for the playoffs in 2021.

While Kingsbury and the Cardinals swept the 2021 regular season series by putting 17 and 31 on the Ryans-led 49ers defense, Ryans returned the favor by helping deliver two of the more lopsided wins for the Niners: A 38-10 trouncing in Mexico City on November 21 and then the 38-13 smashing in Santa Clara in Week 18, which became Kingsbury’s last game with Arizona. Ryans’ defense forced three takeaways in the season finale romp.

Kingsbury is the newest name to be thrown into the mix for offensive coordinator for Houston. Other names via Wilson include 49ers passing game coordinator Bobby Slowik and Minnesota Vikings assistant quarterbacks coach Jerrod Johnson.

However, there’s this theory involving Kingsbury being the newest name and contender for the Texans’ offensive coordinator gig: Settling on 2021 Heisman Trophy winner and Alabama star quarterback Bryce Young — who shared a brief connection with Kingsbury as noted by The Athletic’s Dane Brugler.

“When he was in 8th grade, QB Bryce Young camped at Texas Tech and head coach Kliff Kingsbury offered him on the spot. It was Young’s first scholarship offer,” the draft analyst said in response to the news of Kingsbury interviewing for the OC gig.

The Texans and Ryans currently hold the No. 2 pick of the first round.

Ryans Settles on ‘Awesome Hire’ for Defensive Coordinator, Who Has Ties to Kingsbury

On the other side of the football, Ryans has found his guy to help him run the defense. And it’s not anyone from the Shanahan coaching staff, but was hailed as an “awesome hire” and, to add further intrigue for Kingsbury, has ties to the former Cards coach.

Ryans and the Texans have gone with Matt Burke as defensive coordinator, with Wilson confirming the news Friday. Burke was previously with Kingsbury at Arizona.

“Awesome hire,” an NFL head coach said to Wilson.

Burke has also had stints with the Philadelphia Eagles which includes coaching Super Bowl defenders Fletcher Cox and Brandon Graham in 2020 as their defensive line coach. Burke also had Hassan Ridgeway before he joined the 49ers in 2022. Burke’s other NFL coaching stops include the New York Jets, Miami Dolphins, Detroit Lions, Cincinnati Bengals and Tennessee Titans.

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