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Texans head coach DeMeco Ryans should be the NFL Coach of the Year

The first year coach deserves massive credit for Houston’s great 2023 fortune.

Cleveland Browns v Houston Texans Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images

I still vividly remember the day I heard DeMeco Ryans, the linebacker, was no longer a member of the Houston Texans. For some strange reason, in that era, there was a conduit from the Texans to the Philadelphia Eagles that saw multiple people leave H-Town for Philly - most notably Ryans.

He was an on-field leader. A man who “owned it” every down. A player who left his heart and soul on the field each and every time he went out on the gridiron. A guy with so much fire in his furnace his very presence heated up the rest of the team.

Ryans standing next to Brian Cushing meant opposing offenses didn’t want any part of the middle of the field.

After Bill O’Brien took this once proud franchise and drove it off a cliff, former coaches who inherited the post-BO’B mess, Romeo Crennel, David Culley and Lovie Smith essentially stewarded a laughing stock, combining for 11 wins over three seasons.

Meanwhile, Ryans was over with the San Francisco 49ers. Not as a linebacker, but as a defensive coach. A coach that took the 49ers defense and made it fearsome. That’s right, the same fire he brought on the field in his playing days was infecting the team he now coached for after his own playing days came to an end.

When the coaching search started for the 2023 Houston Texans, a fractured, disillusioned fanbase seemed to come back together with one voice “We Want DeMeco Ryans!”

And when it was announced that Ryans accepted the gig, it almost did for the city what the Houston Astros World Series championships did.

Now, looking back at those four and under seasons of recent years, with Ryans and the Texans sitting on the door of the playoffs at 9-7, life is good again for Texans fans.

To go from the broken down, punchline of a team to 11th in the latest ESPN power rankings is a true testament to the force of will that Ryans brings.

11. Houston Texans (9-7)

Week 17 ranking: 13

Biggest offseason contract to watch: DE Jonathan Greenard

Greenard has played to a high level in a contract year with 12.5 sacks. Defensive ends who can rush the passer and register over 10 sacks can usually earn over $15 million per year, especially when they’re only 26 years old. He leads the Texans in quarterback hits (22), tackles for loss (15) and sacks. Texans coach DeMeco Ryans’ defense is built around the defensive line, so it would behoove the organization to pay Greenard to pair him with Will Anderson Jr. — DJ Bien-Aime

Our friends over at DraftKings have Ryans at #5 for Coach of the Year honors, but if you ask anyone who’s been paying attention to the Texans, he’s a clear cut #1.

Current NFL Coach of the Year 2023-24 Odds

As was just mentioned, we’ve provided the current NFL Coach of the Year odds for 2023-24 at some of the best sports betting sites. In fact, these odds became available all the way back in March and have done a significant amount of moving since then. It’s hard to predict exactly how this award will go, but regardless, here are the top five NFL Coach of the Year candidates for 2023-24 along with odds provided by DraftKings Sportsbook.

Dan Campbell +175

Kevin Stefanski +200

Shane Steichen +650

Mike McDaniel +650

Demeco Ryans +750

With this weekend’s game flexed to a national, prime time slot, the entire world will get a chance to see what we already know: DeMeco Ryans IS Coach of the Year.

Best of all, Ryans is just happy to be here.

The media is likely to shine the spotlight on rookie quarterback C.J. Stroud, and others will pat general manager Nick Caserio on the back for 2023. While both of those men have done an awful lot for the Texans lately, none of it would work without coach Ryans.