49ers Veteran Sounds Off on Possibly Losing DeMeco Ryans

Tashaun Gipson

Getty Tashaun Gipson runs back an interception while Azeez Al-Shaair leads out in front on January 1, 2023.

How do defenders on the San Francisco 49ers feel about facing the possibility of playing for a new defensive coordinator once the season ends?

DeMeco Ryans continues to surface on head coaching radars and interview requests by teams searching for a new head coaching leader. Now, starting safety Tashaun Gipson sounded off on facing the inevitability of Ryans going elsewhere in an interview with Andrew Siciliano of the NFL Network on Thursday, January 12. Siciliano fired off the bold question: Should Ryans be a head coach next year?

“Absolutely, no question about it,” Gipson responded. “If he’s not, then it’s by choice with either him wanting to stay around the guys, which I’m sure everybody would love ‘Meco to stay here. But he’s been lights out and it’ll be a travesty if he’s not a head coach somewhere else.”

Gipson Witnessed Career Rebirth Under Ryans

Gipson was a late arrival to the 49ers back on August 22, 2022 as a 32-year-old veteran who was eight seasons removed from his only Pro Bowl appearance. He was even released eight days later before being added to the practice squad.

But after being elevated to the active roster on September 13, 2022, Gipson responded with a career rebirth through Ryans.

He went on to start in 17 games at one of the safety spots for the Niners and ended up delivering the following:

  • Intercepted five passes — Gipson’s most since his Pro Bowl season of 2014 when he snatched six with the Cleveland Browns.
  • Deliver 61 total tackles, his most compared to the 47 he got in his last season with the Chicago Bears in 2021.
  • Swipe eight pass deflections, making it the third time in his career he hit that mark in pass breakups and giving him his most total there since 2019 while with Ryans’ former team the Houston Texans.

Gipson would go on to deliver these marks in a secondary that saw Talanoa Hufanga become a Pro Bowler and Charvarius Ward deliver career-highs in tackles and pass deflections. And, Gipson ended his regular season with a two-interception day versus the Arizona Cardinals.

Ryans can help be credited for Gipson’s renaissance. But Gipson, like the rest of the 49ers locker room, are facing the strong possibility of losing their top defensive deputy. The 11-season veteran, though, reminded Siciliano what the 49ers’ real focus is on.

“Right now, we’re focusing on playoff football. I think that’s the most important thing,” Gipson said. “But he’s done an incredible job. I have nothing but respect for him since the day I walked in here — just his knowledge of the game as well as being a (former) player, he understands the game from a different lens. Just being a wonderful joy to work with a guy like ‘Meco.”

Ryans Reacts to Head Coaching Interests

To keep track, Ryans has had interview requests with the Denver Broncos, his former team the Texans and, per general manager John Lynch on Thursday via KNBR, the Carolina Panthers.

But how does Ryans feel about hearing his name attached to numerous openings while trying to slow down the Seattle Seahawks on Super Wild Card Weekend starting on Saturday?

“It’s very humbling to be able to get requests for head coaching interviews,” Ryans told the media on Wednesday. “It’s humbling when you think about a lot of guys who’ve coached before me and a lot of guys put in a lot of years, a guy like Bobby Turner (RB coach) comes to mind and all of the years he put in, so I think about guys like that and them not being able to get the opportunity and me, truly being able to go represent for them. And that’s what it means, it means a lot for the other guys that been before me.

Ryans added, “And it’s special to be able to be in a select group, to have head coaching interviews and people requesting, it’s a special moment, it’s a proud moment and I’m very thankful and grateful just to be spoken of in that light. I’m very humble, very grateful for those opportunities.”

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