The 49ers had one of the busiest offseasons of any team in the NFL. Between handing out massive contract extensions, re-signing key players and trading up to the No. 3 pick in the draft, one move that might have flown under the radar for many people is the promotion of DeMeco Ryans to defensive coordinator.
Replacing Robert Saleh, who is now head coach of the New York Jets, Ryans has very big shoes to fill, and the 49ers are confident that he can do just that.
Ryans is one of two new coordinators for the 49ers, the other being new offensive coordinator Mike McDaniel.
NFL Media's Jim Trotter was asked about the 49ers' new coordinators and explained how Ryans' defense will differ from Saleh's.
“The interesting one is on defense, where DeMeco Ryans is going to replace Robert Saleh," Trotter said. "What we’ve been told is that it’ll be the same defense, but it will not be the same defense. DeMeco Ryans is going to bring his own flavor to that defense, it will likely be more attacking than it was previously.”
Before his coaching career, Ryans was a 10-year NFL pro, earning Defensive Rookie of the Year honors in 2006 and First Team All-Pro honors the year after. Often credited with the development of star linebacker Fred Warner, Ryans quickly has made his mark on the organization following his playing career.
“One thing about DeMeco Ryans, he is a guy within the organization that many people believe is on that track to become a head coach one day," Trotter said. "He is very studious, he is very serious about his work, he’s a former player who relates well to players and he’s put in his time.
"They are very high on DeMeco Ryans about what he can bring to this defense and for what his future is.”
A healthy 49ers defense in 2021 is crucial for any success the team hopes to have after an injury-plagued season last year. If Ryans can replicate or even exceed the success Saleh had with the unit, watch out NFL.