The Texans are showing signs of better days ahead in DeMeco Ryans’ debut

BALTIMORE – When DeMeco Ryans walked off the field at M&T Bank Stadium after his first game as coach of the Houston Texans, he never looked down, only forward.

The folded game card in his right hand contained the game plan that helped defeat one of the NFL’s most electrifying players, Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson, in his first game since securing a $260 million bag in the offseason had secured to suppress. Winning the game, however, required more than limiting Jackson to a pedestrian statistic and limiting the Ravens’ new-look offense to just one touchdown in the first half. (To add to Baltimore’s offensive woes, running back JK Dobbins has torn his Achilles tendon and will miss the rest of the season.)

The Texans needed a cleaner game, especially on offense, Ryans said Sunday after a 25-9 loss, because “[you] You can’t get injured against a good team. We can’t help a good team.”

Ryans’ first game against the Texans will end in a loss, but his mere presence on the sidelines will already be seen as a victory for those who believe in the meritocracy of sports and that if you work hard and succeed, you will succeed be promoted without being restricted by real or perceived upper limits. The NFL hasn’t always stayed true to this concept, particularly when it comes to giving Black assistants the opportunity to advance as head coaches.

The Eagles went “one-stop shopping” in Georgia. Enemy offenses beware.

But Ryans earned his position after coordinating the NFL’s top defense last season in San Francisco, and he has considered himself worthy of taking the spot since his grandmother told him he was destined for it . On Sunday, before nervously pacing the sideline and leaning forward, his hands pressed to his knees as he carefully scanned every movement on the field, Ryans allowed himself to reflect on the moment, the chance to find himself in one spot to prove that many others had been rejected.

“That first game was special. One I will always remember,” Ryans said. “At the end of the day, it’s about continuing to help and serve our guys.”

The Ravens gave Ryans a painful reminder of the challenge that lies ahead for him and an organization that has been the epitome of instability in recent years. Ryans is the Texans’ fourth full-time head coach in as many seasons and the third consecutive Black coach to take the reins in Houston. Unlike his two predecessors, Ryan’s is still a long way off, his arrival sparking hope – even expectation – that better days lie ahead.

“It feels different,” All-Pro tackle Laremy Tunsil said. “They have players on the team who look after us. We don’t want to be in the same situation as we were three years ago or last year. We have people on this team who want to make it. They want to win a Super Bowl.”

Tunsil said the hub of talent and coaching was “frustrating,” even if he had a thorough understanding of how the football business works. What impressed him about Ryans was the consistency of his messages and his enthusiasm. That alone is one of the first steps towards stability. At Saturday’s team meeting, Ryans preached to his players that confidence comes from hard work, and that has been his approach since taking the reins. “I know what I get from DeMeco every day and I appreciate that,” Tunsil said.

The Texans gave Ryans cause for optimism when they selected a potential franchise quarterback, CJ Stroud, and a dynamic defensive end, Will Anderson Jr., with the second and third picks, respectively, in April’s draft. Stroud struggled at times with the speed with which he called plays and his determination, which was to be expected for a rookie in his debut. But he showed poise in his ability to handle hits and a desire to make plays even when nothing was there.

“If I do the piece, I’m a hero. If not, I’m a zero. I’ll take both,” said Stroud, who threw for 242 yards but didn’t lead any touchdown drives.

Ryans calls the Texans’ defensive plays and his impact has been obvious. Anderson was one of the bright spots on a defense that effectively harassed Jackson and held him to no touchdowns. He recorded his first career sack by plowing through a grab by a Ravens lineman, sliding to the turf and jumping up to wrestle Jackson down.

Anderson credited the 39-year-old Ryans with instilling a “relentless” mentality in the team. “If our head coach had energy … we should have energy too,” he said. “He has that young feeling. That’s why we can relate to him more. He knows what we like, what awaits us, and what we are going through. He understands the courage, the relentless mindset. And he always talks about precision, effort and discipline.”

Ryans was not expected to leave Baltimore with a win. His challenge isn’t just about winning games; It’s about bringing together a group of young players and veterans who are used to instability and defeat and believe that their journey will not end with the same results as those of previous teams. He has the advantage of not only having played professional football, but doing so in Houston, where the franchise’s most successful run comes with his tenure as an above-average linebacker, known as “Cap.” The lopsided result did not reflect the competitiveness of a group that returned to Houston confident about the franchise’s direction.

Key takeaways from the Post’s series on Black NFL coaches

“It’s his first rodeo as a coach, but he’s the same with Ball,” defensive end Jonathan Greenard said. “… Complacency is not in his blood at all. Let’s say we won the game; The mentality would remain as it was. I have the utmost trust in him. I know He will have us ready every week. Everyone in the locker room feels devastated after a loss. But I don’t feel that at all. Boys are hungry. Everyone is hungry for something.”

“I tell our guys: There’s no point in hanging your head or being sad about it,” Ryans said. “We’re not complaining about it. What we learn from this excursion is this [what] What we had today wasn’t good enough and everyone knows that. So how can we do something about it to make the change happen?” The Texans are showing signs of better days ahead in DeMeco Ryans’ debut

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