Jets HC Robert Saleh on new Texans coach DeMeco Ryans: ‘Phenomenal. Empathy. Relatability. Very, very smart. Special.’

DeMeco Ryans’ former coaching colleague Robert Saleh is bullish on new Texans coach DeMeco Ryans’ ability to teach, relate to players

New York Jets head coach Robert Saleh gestures during the second half of an NFL football game against the Cleveland Browns, Sunday, Sept. 18, 2022, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/David Richard) (David Richard, Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

HOUSTON – New York Jets coach Robert Saleh isn’t the least bit surprised by the meteoric rise of new Texans coach DeMeco Ryans from a star linebacker into an ultra-professional coach who thrives as a leader of men and a consummate teacher.

Saleh was on the Texans’ coaching staff when Ryans was playing in Houston as a Pro Bowl linebacker, defensive captain and NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year. Then, Saleh worked with the former Alabama consensus All-American with the San Francisco 49ers when Ryan was a quality control and linebackers coach before ascending to defensive coordinator when Saleh became a head coach with the Jets.

Now, Saleh can’t wait to see Ryans put his stamp on the Texans as he’s introduced Thursday as the sixth head coach in franchise history.

“DeMeco is awesome,” Saleh said in a telephone interview after playing a round of golf on a family vacation. “He’s going to do great. This is a really cool opportunity for him. Captain ‘Meco: phenomenal, family man, obviously relatable. As a former player, he has that empathy and relatability. He’s very, very smart. He’s always trying to learn. I think that’s what you appreciate the most out of him.”

Ryans has always had a thirst for knowledge and is never complacent in wanting to improve.

That’s what stands out to Saleh as Ryans has made a smooth transition from playing the game as a hard-hitting, instinctive linebacker into a coach who communicates on a deep level with his players.

“Former players, most of the time, it’s an adjustment,” Saleh said. “You have to learn a way to teach it. The natural instinct is you want to teach it the way you did it, but not everybody is like you. DeMeco was an All-Pro football player. He remade himself into a teacher and learned all the ways that guys can play the game To implement what he learned to maximize all the guys around him, that’s what makes him special.”

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