Kyle Shanahan Reveals Dilemma in 49ers Assistant’s ‘Jammed’ Schedule

Kyle Shanahan

Getty Kyle Shanahan before the 49ers' Super Wild Card Weekend opener on January 14, 2023.

Kyle Shanahan knows what DeMeco Ryans is enduring very well: Being that red-hot assistant coach who became a wanted man by NFL teams searching for their next head coach.

The San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator has had multiple teams requesting to talk to him as the Niners continue their march toward their sixth Vince Lombardi Trophy. But that’s just it — the 49ers’ playoff run puts NFL teams in a bind in trying to request interviews for him.

Noted by Shanahan on Monday, January 16 with reporters, his situation while the offensive coordinator for the Atlanta Falcons in 2016 was the franchise having the luxury of getting a first round bye — giving Shanahan one whole week to allow teams to schedule interviews. Ryans, though, doesn’t have that advantage.

“The difference for DeMeco, we don’t have that bye week,” Shanahan explained per 49ers Webzone. “But I think he has a couple of times set aside for Thursday and Friday, which he’ll do two interviews, I believe, those two days with Denver and Houston. And then I think he’ll plan on the other ones after.”

When could Ryans see a break in game planning for the next 49ers opponent and focus on sharing his coaching philosophies and blue print with teams that are interested in him as a head coach?

“So Friday afternoon, as we get some time off. So that shouldn’t cut into anything,” Shanahan said, as his 49ers won’t play until Sunday, January 22 in Santa Clara. “And usually, on Thursdays, we finish a little bit earlier than we do on the other nights in the week, so there’s a chance to do that Thursday night.”

New Team Emerges on Request Train for Ryans

To reiterate, Ryans continues to be a popular name in this head coaching cycle. And now, an AFC team has emerged as the latest to reach out.

Per ESPN NFL insider Adam Schefter on Monday, the Indianapolis Colts have now requested an interview with the 49ers’ defensive coordinator.

“Colts submitted a request to interview 49ers defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans for their HC, per sources,” Schefter posted.

However, Schefter included how Ryans’ schedule is “jammed” with him expected to lump in talks with the Colts, Texans and rival Arizona Cardinals before their NFC Divisional Round contest.

The Colts have already conducted interviews with other fast-rising names as they search for the replacement for Frank Reich, who was fired midseason. Franchise legend Jeff Saturday took the reins and went 1-7 on an interim basis, with his one win being his head coaching debut against the Las Vegas Raiders.

Names who have spoken to Colts officials are Philadelphia Eagles offensive coordinator Shane Steichen, Detroit Lions defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn, fellow Lions assistant and offensive coordinator Ben Johnson and Los Angeles Rams defensive coordinator Raheem Morris — all during the time frame of January 13 to 14.

The team also interviewed Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy and Denver Broncos defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero on Janaury 12.

Ryans’ Latest Work

While Seattle put up 23 points against the 49ers, the most they scored on a Ryans-led defense this season, it’s what transpired afterwards that leads to the latest body of work from his coaching.

The Seahawks were held to just six points the rest of the second half. Ryans’ defense also only allowed two Seahawk plays that gained 20 yards or more during the final two quarters. San Francisco lastly delivered its two takeaways in the second half with Charles Omenihu forcing a fumble for Nick Bosa to recover and Deommodore Lenoir snatching an interception.

Ryans and the 49ers now await the next offense they’ll game plan for. But Ryans is additionally trying to set aside the time for speaking with other interested NFL suitors as he treks on with the Niners. Does Shanahan believe Ryans is well-prepared to handle the jammed schedule he’s dealing with?

“When you just set the time aside for that — it’s a lot for DeMeco to kind of prepare for, but I think he is prepared for it,” Shanahan said. “And when you’re done with those, you go right back to the most important thing at hand, and that’s us finding a way to win on Sunday.”

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