Watt shouts out Ryans for promotion to 49ers' D-coordinator


As the 49ers unveil some coaching changes, the expected promotion of DeMeco Ryans to defensive coordinator has made quite the impact around the league.

A source told NBC Sports Bay Area's Matt Maiocco late Thursday night that Ryans will be San Francisco's new defensive coordinator, following the hiring of former defensive coordinator Robert Saleh as the New York Jets' new head coach. 

So far, it seems to be a popular hire, especially in the eyes of Houston Texans star defensive end J.J. Watt.

"Hell of a player, hell of a man, can only imagine he’s just as great of a coach," Watt wrote, adding that he "couldn't be happier" for his former teammate.

That's high praise coming from Watt, a five-time All-Pro and three-time Defensive Player of the Year award winner. Watt and Ryans both played on the Texans in Watt's rookie season in 2011, where Ryans was a starting linebacker. Ryans enjoyed a 10-year playing career with the Texans and the Philadelphia Eagles before retiring in 2015. He joined the 49ers as a quality control coach in 2017, and was promoted the following season to linebackers coach. 

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Granted, the 49ers organization knows precisely what Ryans is capable of. The 36-year-old was the top in-house candidate to replace Saleh -- who agreed in principle to a five-year contract with the Jets on Thursday -- with coach Kyle Shanahan saying as much.


“It's only a matter of time before DeMeco is a coordinator in this league,” Shanahan said last week. “It's a matter of time before DeMeco will be a head coach.”

Saleh's departure will also shake things up on the offensive end. He will take 49ers passing coordinator Mike LaFleur to run the Jets' offense, a source told Maiocco. Former run coordinator Mike McDaniel will now hold down the fort as Shanahan's top offensive assistant. 

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