- Them: You can’t take a former linebacker and make him a winning head coach - definitely not in his first year.
- Nick Caserio: Give me DeMeco Ryans, a rookie QB and 18 weeks... Oh, and I’ll go ahead and spot you the most players on IR in the season...
If you haven’t been a Houston Texans fan for all that long, you might not recall the glory days of DeMeco Ryans the linebacker.
With the 33rd pick in the 2006 NFL Draft, the Houston Texans selected DeMeco Ryans, linebacker from the University of Alabama.
Ryans went on to start 86 games for the Battle Red Brigade before leaving for the Philadelphia Eagles - cementing his place in the Five Best Linebackers in Houston Texans history list. When he left the team, he was the Texans career leader in tackles with 636. Brian Cushing would eventually break that record, but not until 2016.
#2 DeMeco Ryans
Another SEC second round draft pick of the Houston Texans, Ryans was a gem in Houston’s defense from the moment they drafted him in the second round of the 2006 NFL Draft. His pile of NCAA honors reads like a list of all the available awards one could possibly win, including Cotton Bowl Defensive MVP, SEC Defensive Player of the Year, and many more. The Alabama Crimson Tide ‘backer anchored their defense for years before doing the same for the Texans.
Ryans grabbed 12 solo tackles his first game in battle red and never looked back. He finished his first NFL season as NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year, coming in second among all defenders with 155 total tackles (31 more than the next nearest rookie). Unlike many players these days, Ryans was an every down kind of guy, a true “quarterback of the defense,” and a player others looked to for leadership, both on and off the field.
The 2006 Texans weren’t much to write home about - but Ryans was part of what changed all that.
The 2022 Texans weren’t much to write home about either. And, Ryans once again, was a big part in changing all that.
In his final season as a player with the Texans, DeMeco Ryans was a division champ.— Drew Dougherty (@DoughertyDrew) January 7, 2024
In his 1st season as HC of the Texans, DeMeco Ryans is a division champ.
From 3-13-1 to 10-7 and division champs in one season.— Bradeaux (@BradeauxNBA) January 7, 2024
Give DeMeco Ryans his coach of the year. pic.twitter.com/rs90oKOJOe
Regardless of the outcome of next weekend’s Wildcard Game against the Cleveland Browns, DeMeco Ryans has earned NFL Coach of the Year this season.
Just wait until next year when GM Caserio adds more to this roster, players like C.J. Stroud, Will Anderson Jr., Jonathan Greenard, Nico Collins and Tank Dell have had a full year in Ryans’ systems and winning is just the way.