DeMeco Ryans Deserves To Be NFL Coach Of The Year: Nobody Thought Houston Texans Would Double Last Year’s Win Total This Early In Season

When the Houston Texans hired former player DeMeco Ryans to be their head coach, the growing sentiment was the former Defensive Rookie of the Year would eventually turn things around.

Fast-forward to 12 weeks into the 2023 season, and Ryans has the Texans at 6-5 and fighting for a playoff spot. Ryans is no stranger to winning coaching awards, in February’s NFL Honors, he was named AP Assistant Coach of the Year. 

The Texans finished the 2022 season 3-13, which happened to be the second-worst record in the league. Projected to win six games in 2023 the Texans have already reached that mark and doubled their win total with six games left in the season. That’s a direct result of the culture change that Ryans brought with him to H-Town. 

Ryans Is A Leader Of Men: Transformer Of Defenses

Ryans inherited a team that didn’t have much hope after back-to-back seasons of 3-14 and 3-13–1 and coaching changes after each season. From the jump having Ryans take the job was like a breath of fresh air.

The former Alabama standout hasn’t disappointed one bit in year one. He’s quickly turned around a defense that allowed the third-most yards (30th) in the league last year. This year they’ve climbed to 21st in that category. 

In 2022 the Texans ranked 24th in points allowed at 24.1 per game, this season they’re 14th at 21.1 points per game. Once not able to stop the run or get to the quarterback, that’s changed this season under Ryans, who leads and treats his teams like men. Ryans is also quick to deflect any credit from himself when speaking of his guys. 

Following a huge mid-November road win over the Cincinnati Bengals, where 2023 No. 2 overall pick C.J. Stroud out-dueled 2020 No. 1 overall pick and 2019 Heisman Trophy winner Joe Burrow, Ryans made it clear who and what it’s about.

In his postgame interview Ryans was his usual cool self when he said this:

“It’s about them, not me. It’s all about those guys in the locker room and the work they put in day after day that no one sees. They put in the work.”

That statement shows how Ryans runs and leads his team, and it’s never been about him, although he’s the main reason for the culture taking a 180-degree turn in 2023. 

Ryans Has Similar Attributes To Mike Tomlin 

You can’t look at what Ryans is doing in his first season and not think about the Mike Tomlin correlation. Tomlin, the legendary head coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers who’s about to clinch his 17th consecutive season of a non-losing record to begin a coaching career, is easily the greatest Black coach the league has ever seen.

This season Tomlin is also a contender for NFL Coach of the Year, as he’s pulled all of the right strings in helping the offensively-challenged Steelers to an impressive 7-4 record.

No, we’re not saying Ryans is Tomlin in that regard, but being a young Black coach and having early success is something to talk about. Tomlin was 34 when the Steelers surprisingly hired him in 2007. Ryans is 39, and while his hiring by the Texans wasn’t exactly surprising, what he’s doing in his first season is. 

DeMeco Ryans for NFL Coach of the Year has a nice ring to it.

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