As someone who buys in 95% to the notion that you can’t expect sustainable success in the modern NFL without an offensive head coach capable of calling the plays, DeMeco Ryans of the Houston Texans looks to be an exception.
Will Ryans and his extraordinary rookie quarterback C.J. Stroud be as good next year if his current offensive coordinator Bobby Slowik gets a head coaching job? I’d normally say no without much hesitation.
The thing is, Stroud’s brilliance and Ryans’ dizzying, rapid ascent up the coaching ranks have the Texans’ rebuild so far ahead of schedule that you can’t help but think they’re going to be perennial AFC contenders as long as that coach-QB combo remains constant.
Beyond all the “trajectory” and “intangibles” and “leadership” talk that revolves around Ryans, it’s helpful to see an example of his impact in real time. That’s what makes mic’d up clips so awesome. Sure, the celebratory, bleeped-out profanities are fun. The trash talk is dramatic and compelling, even when it’s contrived. But rarely do you get to hear such specific, tactical brilliance spelled out to an individual player, followed by pitch-perfect execution.
You just hang right there and just play the quarterback…soon as he snap, step in front of it, go pick it.
To a T, Harris followed Ryans’ instructions, and scored one of the easier touchdowns you’ll ever see a defensive player score to blow the game wide-open.
I don’t know that I’ve ever seen a linebacker straight-up chill, flat-footed, with zero post-snap movement before breaking on a route. I guess it’s basically the same as spot dropping, only you’re in your spot before the play even starts. Regardless, what a cool little anecdote from the Texans’ electrifying win over Cleveland, who entered with the No. 1 defense in the NFL and with Flacco riding an all-time comeback story.
DeMeco Ryans said NO to all that. The question is, can he keep it going? Oddsmakers made Houston a home underdog against the Browns. They have the Texans as a bigger long shot at Baltimore. It was Ravens -9.5 last I saw.
Considering how far Ryans has led Houston in such a short span, why not keep believing in them to shock the world? The Texans were a laughingstock before this season. This is a dangerous team, brimming with confidence and playing with house money. Probable regular-season MVP Lamar Jackson has as much pressure on him as any player remaining in the playoffs, and owns a 68.3 postseason passer rating in four starts. No, that’s not a made-up stat.
Meanwhile, Baltimore will be without its CB1 Marlon Humphrey. Might be harder for the Ravens to mark Nico Collins, who’s gone off for 22 catches, 371 yards and two TDs amid Houston’s current winning streak of three. Plus, Lamar has a defensive mastermind in DeMeco to deal with on his side of things.
“Everybody has an important role on this team. We just ask guys to play as yard as you can, plays as fast as you can, execute and good things will happen. We play as a team. It’s not about one person, it’s about our team. It’s a team first mindset,” DeMeco Ryans