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49ers DC DeMeco Ryans emerging as top candidate for Texans' head coaching job

DeMeco Ryans is spending the week preparing for his team's biggest game to date. He might soon be packing his belongings for a new club entirely.

The San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator has emerged as a top candidate for the Houston Texans' head coaching job, NFL Network Insiders Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero reported Friday, per sources.

Ryan's ties in Houston extend back to his playing days in the NFL. The Texans spent a second-round pick on Ryans in the 2006 draft and immediately reaped the rewards, watching the linebacker earn Defensive Rookie of the Year. He spent six seasons with the Texans, reaching the Pro Bowl twice before departing for Philadelphia, where he finished his 10-year career.

Ryans transitioned into coaching and steadily climbed the ranks, replacing current Jets coach Robert Saleh as defensive coordinator in San Francisco in 2021 and picking up where Saleh left off, overseeing a top-three defense in each of the last two seasons. Under his direction, San Francisco finished the 2022 regular season as the NFL's top-ranked defense, building expectation Ryans would land a head-coaching job elsewhere before long.

After interviewing with five NFL teams (Arizona, Carolina, Denver, Houston and Indianapolis), it seems he has a very good chance of earning such a position in the city in which he began his NFL career.

The Texans are still in the midst of a rebuild and have fired their last two head coaches after each completed just one season at the helm. Though they've added promising young talent to the roster, Houston is still in need of a coaching upgrade after ranking 31st and 30th in yards allowed per game in each of the last two seasons, making Ryans a logical fit.

Before he can adopt new colors, though, Ryans first has an important goal ahead of him: Win the NFC Championship Game. Once San Francisco's season is finished, we'll learn whether his next stop is Houston.

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