HOUSTON – The Texans conducted interviews Wednesday with San Francisco 49ers passing game coordinator Bobby Slowik, New England Patriots tight ends coach Nick Caley and Cincinnati Bengals wide receivers coach Troy Walters for their offensive coordinator position after hiring DeMeco Ryans as their new head coach, according to league sources.
Slowik, 35, is well-versed in the 49ers offense led by coach Kyle Shanahan. He has risen through the coaching ranks with the NFC West franchise from defensive quality control to offensive assistant to offensive pass game specialist and then passing game coordinator for an offense headlined by star wide receiver Deebo Samuel.
Slowik was a defensive assistant with the Washington Commanders and an analyst with Pro Football Focus before joining the 49ers. Slowik played wide receiver at Michigan Tech. He’s the son of former Chicago Bears, Cleveland Browns, Green Bay Packers and Denver Broncos defensive coordinator Bob Slowik, a defensive assistant for the Montreal Alouettes.
Caley, 40, is a John Carroll University graduate who has also coached fullbacks for the Patriots.
A former student assistant at John Carroll, the alma mater of Texans general manager Nick Caserio, Caley has also coached at Akron, Auburn, Iowa State, Eastern Illinois, Arkansas and Florida Atlantic.
Shanahan held a press conference Wednesday and discussed the possibility of Ryans adding some current 49ers assistant coaches.
“I know he loves our staff and he knows I’m working through that too right now, so DeMeco and I will be probably talking a lot here over the next two weeks, and I’m just trying to do what’s best for the 49ers,” Shanahan said. “I know he is trying to do what’s best for Houston and we’re both going to try to do what’s best for all the families involved too with our No. 1 job being to do it for the organizations.”
Walters, 46, is a former Minnesota Vikings fifth-round draft pick who played eight seasons in the NFL for the Vikings, Indianapolis Colts, Arizona Cardinals and Detroit Lions.
Hired by the Bengals in 2020 as assistant receivers coach and promoted to receivers coach, Walters has been instrumental to the Bengals’ explosive passing game headlined by quarterback Joe Burrow and wide receivers JaMarr Chase and Tee Higgins.
The Texans have interest in 49ers defensive passing game specialist-secondary coach Cory Undlin and New York Jets safeties coach and former Atlanta Falcons defensive coordinator Marquand Manuel for their defensive coordinator job, according to sources.
Undlin, 51, was previously a defensive coordinator for the Detroit Lions under former coach Matt Patricia before the staff was fired after the 2020 season. He has been an assistant coach for the New England Patriots, Cleveland Browns, Jacksonville Jaguars, Denver Broncos, Philadelphia Eagles, Lions and 49ers.
Undlin earned Super Bowl rings with the Patriots as a defensive assistant in 2004 and with the Eagles in 2017 as a defensive backs coach.
Manuel, 43, is also a candidate for the Carolina Panthers’ defensive coordinator position.
A former University of Florida standout defensive back and Bengals sixth-round draft pick, he played in the NFL for eight seasons. He has coached for the Seattle Seahawks, Falcons, Philadelphia Eagles and Jets.
The Texans have had interest in 49ers defensive line coach Kris Kocurek for their defensive coordinator position, according to sources. However, sources emphasized that Shanahan is expected to work to keep his staff intact as much as possible with Ryans going to the Texans. Kocurek, a Texas Tech graduate and former NFL defensive lineman, is a priority for the 49ers to retain and could remain with the NFC West franchise under an upgraded salary and job title.
Under NFL rules, assistant coaches are allowed to leave if the job is a promotion to a coordinator position.
“A lot of these instances, too, at that position, it’s a notification,” 49ers general manager John Lynch said. “It’s not a request for permission. It’s a notification.”
Added Shanahan: “If someone gives you a notification for a promotion, especially for that coordinator level, it’s not up to us.”
Aaron Wilson is a contributor to KPRC 2 and click2houston.com