DeMeco Ryans

The Houston Texans have taken a unique approach to the issue of hiring Black head coaches. While many other teams in the NFL have yet to hire their first, the Texans are working on their third one in three years. 

Last week they announced the signing of former San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator and former Texans linebacker DeMeco Ryans to a six-year deal as their new head coach. Under Ryans, San Francisco led the NFL in total defense last season, reaching the NFC title game before injuries to both starting quarterbacks derailed any chances they had at making the Super Bowl.

While many observers around the league view the Texans as a lost cause and a dead end job, Ryans didn’t take that attitude during his earliest press conferences. Speaking to the national media last week alongside Texans’ general manager Nick Caserio, Ryans said that he will collaborate to “build it the right way with the right people.” Ryan later added that his formula for defensive success in San Francisco had been a simple one. “We’re looking for players who are looking to swarm,” Ryans said. He added that the Texans “want players that have a special work ethic and a relentless mindset in everything they do. That’s what you’re going to see from Texans football. You’re going to see fast, you’re going to see physical, you’re going to see toughness. We want smart players who truly are dedicated to being the best that they want to be, and guys who want to go win. That’s what we want to do. We want to do it first-class, we’re going to do it the right way, and I’m excited and fired up to get started.”

Ryans knows his team needs lots of players. The Texans finished the season at or near the bottom of the NFL in almost every major offensive and defensive category. in addition to potential free agency additions, Ryans and the Texans will have ample draft capital to work with as they attempt to build a contender. This includes the No. 2 and No. 12 overall picks in the 2023 NFL Draft.

The question that will most certainly be asked throughout the NFL is whether Ryans is going to get the opportunity to fulfill that six-hear contract. The Texans don’t get much credit for hiring Black coaches if all they’re going to do is hire them for one year, fire then and pay them big bucks to just sit on the sidelines.

It takes time and patience to build a team. While turnarounds can be quick at times, most often they are the restult of multiple drafts, key free agent acquisitions and even at times trades

The Texans have been a disaster area for many seasons now. They totally botched  the handling of the DeShaun Watson situation, and didn’t give either of Ryans predecessors a fair chance at building a team.

Perhaps this time it will be different. Only time will tell, but right now it looks like the Houston Texans job is more tough sledding than ample opportunity.