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Signs Point to Ryans

Arizona Cardinals v San Francisco 49ers Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images

While landing Sean Payton as the Cardinals next head coach would be a major coup, on Tuesday, the Broncos are scheduled to be Payton’s first interview and potentially the last, if their offer blows him away.

Much, however, could depend on what happens in the playoffs this weekend, if the Chargers and Cowboys are one-and-done. Payton has expressed his interest in coaching the Chargers and perhaps a frustrated Jerry Jones might be willing to outbid the field if that’s what it would take to throw the lasso around the Saints’ former head coach.

Keep an eye on the Dolphins, as well. If they are one-and-done and with Tua’s NFL future now in doubt, it’s feasible that the mercurial Steven Ross could pull off what he attempted to do last year when he wanted to sign Sean Payton to a 5 year $100M contract with the anticipation that QB Tom Brady would charter a boat to cruise from Tampa to Miami.

It feels like something rather extraordinary is going to fall into Sean Payton’s lap. Doesn’t it?

As of right now, while the Cardinals have obtained permission to speak with Sean Payton, they do not have an interview scheduled.

However, there is another head coaching candidate whom the Cardinals could quickly turn their attention to —- DeMeco Ryans, the defensive coordinator of the 49ers.

While Michael Bidwill has been focusing in on interviewing GM candidates, it is noteworthy that he has asked for permission to interview DeMeco Ryans. Bidwill must sense that to woo DeMeco Ryans he would have to act quickly, as Ryans has become as ripe an NFL head coaching candidate as a fluffy Georgia peach.

One would imagine that for the 49ers fans, they would like to see the organization do everything it can to keep Ryans in Palo Alto. One can also imagine that the last thing 49ers fans would want to see would be Ryans signing with the Cardinals, or any other division rival, for that matter.

Do the Cardinals have any kind of a realistic shot of winning the DeMeco Ryans sweepstakes?

Yes, they actually do. And here is why.

The fact that the Cardinals’ GM position is open is the main factor. What Ryans will likely want the Cardinals to do is appoint Ran Carthan, the 49ers Director of Pro Personnel, as the new GM. That way DeMeco Ryans on the very first day of the job, will have a built-in chemistry and trust with his GM.

A built-in chemistry and trust between the GM and HC is precisely what the Cardinals need.

If you have been watching DeMeco Ryans’ defense, have you ever seen players swarm as quickly to the ball? They look like a sharp-teethed school of piranhas. Even when the 49ers played their 2nd stringers last Sunday, the 2nd stringers were flying to the ball like they were shot out of cannon and they were delivering bone-jarring tackles.

This all-aggressive approach is the culture and style of play that DeMeco Ryans would bring with him.

Get this —- the San Francisco 49ers, per PFF, are #1 in the NFL in tackling. Their technique is textbook.

Team tackling grades 2023: SF 88.5, ARI 53.4

But, what about Kyler?

One may rightfully ask, shouldn’t the Cardinals focus primarily on an offensive-minded head coach who can help take Kyler Murray’s game to the next level?

While grappling with this questio over and overn myself, I have started to believe that turning the Cardinals’ defense into a steel clad strength could actually be the best thing Kyler and the team’s chances to win. Having a great defense is a QB’s boon.

The 4-3 Baby!

What’s very exciting about DeMeco Ryans is that he’s a 4-3 guy. Many of us here at ROTB fully believe that the Cardinals’ current defensive personnel favors the 4-3 and that too many players are out of position in the 3-4.

For the sake of looking at how the Cardinals personnel would fit in Ryans’ 4-3, let’s match the 49ers starters with what could be the Cardinals.

  • LDE Samson Ekuban (UFA) —- Myjai Sanders
  • LDT Javon Kinlaw —- Rashard Lawrence
  • RDE Arik Armstead —- Zach Allen*
  • RDE Nick Bosa —- Cameron Thomas
  • WLB Dre Greenlaw UFA) —- Isaiah Simmons
  • MLB Fred Warner —- Zaven Collins
  • SLB Azeez Al-Shaair (UFA) —- Dennis Gardeck
  • LCB Demmodore Lenoir —- Byron Murphy*
  • SS Talanoa Hufanga —- Budda Baker
  • FS Tashaun Gipson (UFA) —- Jalen Thompson
  • RC Charvarius Ward —- Marco Wilson
  • NCB Jimmy Ward UFA) —- TBD

Other SF 2023 UFAs:

  • CB Emmanuel Moseley
  • DT Hassan Ridgeway
  • DE Kerry Hyder
  • DT Maurice Hurst
  • DE Jordan Willis
  • CB Jason Verrett
  • S Tarvarius Moore
  • DE Charles Omenihu

1st Round Draft Prospects—- DeMeco Ryans Type Fits:

  • DE Will Anderson Jr., Alabama
  • DT Jalen Carter, Georgia
  • DE Myles Murphy, Clemson
  • DE Tyree Wilson, Texas Tech
  • DT Bryan Brese, Clemson
  • CB/S Brian Branch, Alabama
  • CB Kelee Ringo, Georgia
  • CB Joey Porter, Jr., Penn St.
  • CB Christian Gonzalez, Oregon]
  • CB Deonte Banks, Maryland
  • CB Devon Witherspoon, Illinois
  • DE Andre Carter II, Army

Key 4-3 Factor:

4-3 WLB is the perfect position for Isaiah Simmons.

Key 2023 NFL Draft Factor:

If the Cardinals draft one of the top defensive studs, that player is going to play at his natural position and he is going to start from day one. No more fricking around.

Key 4-3 Needs:

  • DT talent and depth
  • Strong side LB —- could be addressed by signing UFA Azeez Al-Shaair
  • Nickel CB and CB talent
  • Free Safety —- Jalen Thompson is more of a SS than FS, Same with Budda. Neither one is a rangy and instinctive centerfielder in pass coverage.

Key Interview Question:

  • Whom would you bring as your OC?
  • Someone from the Shanahan tree?


Ran Carthan —- Director of Pro Personnel and what the Job Entails

Ran Carthan —- GM Candidate

DeMeco Ryans —-Explains Why He’s Ready to be a Head Coach

DeMeco Ryan’s Defense Film Study:

ROTB: How interested and excited would you be to have DeMeco Ryans be the Cardinals’ new head coach?