Why Eagles' Clay believes Ryans will succeed as head coach


DeMeco Ryans, the 49ers' defensive coordinator, is one of the hot head-coaching prospects this NFL offseason. The 38-year-old already has had interviews for vacant positions

Nonetheless, former 49ers assistant Michael Clay, now the Philadelphia Eagles' special teams coordinator, has high hopes for Ryans should he accept a head-coaching job. 

"From the first time I [met] him, talk about a guy that studies film is so cerebral, that's DeMeco, he's so smart, and you could throw any concept at him and he's going to get it within two to three minutes," Clay told reporters Tuesday. "Then, from the coaching side, DeMeco was my office neighbor. So I'd walk around and hang out with him, talk ball with him, especially during the draft process.

"... So, DeMeco, I mean, kudos to whatever organization hires him as a head coach because he's going to get that thing turned around. He's done an unbelievable job, and you could just see the passion that he has as a coordinator, former football player. Everybody knows he could bring it as a player, but [he is] super cerebral, players love him and you can see the guys give out full out effort from."

Additionally, Clay noted the characteristics that Ryans would bring to the job, which would allow him to thrive in whichever position he decides to take. 

"His demeanor, how he carries himself, very soft spoken outside of it, but how he interacts," Clay said. "And when you're in a locker room for that long as a player, you pretty much get to know a lot of different personalities. 

"And then when you become a coach, you have to know those different personalities. And they respect his work ethic. I respect his work ethic as a coach and the energy he brings. Nothing changes is from day to day. So nothing but respect for DeMeco."

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Philadelphia has a lot of respect for Ryans, who played for the franchise from 2012 to 2015. Eagles coach Nick Sirianni joined Clay in praising the 49ers' defensive coordinator for how he has his unit prepared. 

"Like, I see [Ryans'] players genuinely selling out," Sirianni told reporters Monday. "And you can see their interactions in the game right when you watch it on television. Like, you see those guys playing really hard for him."

Ryans will have his hands full in the NFC Championship Game as he hopes to contain an Eagles offense that was unstoppable in their 38-7 divisional round victory over the New York Giants. 

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