While the hiring of Head Coach DeMeco Ryans is still buzzing in Houston and around the NFL, two teams are preparing for Super Bowl LVII just over a week away. Ryans, coming off an NFC Championship appearance as the San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator, faced both the Philadelphia Eagles and the Kansas City Chiefs this season.
Ryans said the most challenging part about preparing for those offenses were the quarterbacks.
"The common thread that sticks out, both of the offenses, it's the quarterback position," Ryans said via NFL Network. "They have two dynamic quarterbacks who, they're not just sitting in the pocket and statues. These guys, they're mobile, they can get outside of the pocket, and they make you play 11-on-11 football which unlocks a defense. That's what sets them apart."
The Houston Texans currently hold the No. 2 and No. 12 overall picks in this year's NFL Draft. Of their 11 total selections, Houston holds five total picks in the top 73 slots. With a number of talented quarterbacks in this year's draft class, the Texans could add a young playmaker under center. However, during his Thursday press conference, Ryans emphasized the importance of adding depth around the quarterback position as a key to success in the league.
"We have one quarterback here on our roster, and we have to add more at that position," Ryans said. "We know everybody gets excited about the quarterback. The quarterback is one piece to a team. As I've seen in San Francisco, what happens when you don't have that one guy. Is the season over? Are you just booking it? No. How do you build around that quarterback? Yes, we want a great quarterback, but no, we need a great offensive line to protect the quarterback. We need great running backs, great tight ends, great receivers. We need a great defense, special teams. We all play together. That's the awesome part about football is it's not on one guy's shoulders to go out there and win the game for us. It's all about building around each other and playing together. That's how we'll win games."
The 49ers road to the playoffs included three different starting quarterbacks due to injury this past season. Similarly, in 2011 the Texans dealt with multiple injuries at quarterback. After starting Matt Schaub, Matt Leinert and eventually, undrafted rookie T.J. Yates, the Texans relied on the strengths of their playmakers and a defense led by its captain in Ryans. As for the Eagles and the Chiefs, while their quarterback play has been elite this year, Ryans can't help but point out that both teams have another common thread similar to the 2011 Texans.
"They both have really good defenses on the other side as well," Ryans said. "That helps out. "
DeMeco Ryans is welcomed to NRG Stadium as head coach for the first time.