The San Francisco 49ers are all but resigned to needing to find a new defensive coordinator for 2023, with DeMeco Ryans in high demand among teams needing a head coach.
The Divisional Round of the playoffs is now officially upon us, with the San Francisco 49ers welcoming one of their most bitter historical rivals, the Dallas Cowboys, at Levi’s Stadium.
The Niners stamped their ticket to the game with a 41-23 blowout of the Seattle Seahawks, however, the game wasn’t nearly as comfortable for fans as the score might suggest. The score was only 23-17 to San Francisco headed into the final quarter, and indeed, the Seahawks were ahead 17-16 at halftime.
There’s been a few times that the 49ers have played the first half just a little bit flat, but one of the things that the team does well is halftime adjustments, and defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans has been a wizard at that while managing the top defense in the NFL.
Sure enough, the Seahawks had no answers for the halftime adjustments as Seattle couldn’t score for the rest of the game, save for a garbage-time touchdown when the game was already well in hand. It was precisely the type of suffocating performance the 49ers need to finally add a sixth Lombardi to the trophy cabinet.
Unfortunately, one of the downsides to having such a great coordinator is he will eventually line up for head-coaching vacancies, and Ryans is arguably the most popular coordinator in football right now.
The Arizona Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, Denver Broncos, Carolina Panthers and Houston Texans have all requested interviews with Ryans, and all teams with the exception of the Panthers will be interviewing him before the Niners take the field against the Cowboys.
With Ryans in such high demand, it’s a very high probability he won’t be with the team next season, and so some planning is required for that eventuality.
Luckily for San Francisco, there are some intriguing names for the position.
Even better for the 49ers, there are some internal prospects who make a lot of sense. The Niners struck gold when they did so with Ryans, so it figures they could look at someone within the organization who knows full well how the defense operates.
Let’s look at the options who could replace Ryans in 2023.