Culture / Sporting Life

Jim Nantz Is a Huge DeMeco Ryans Believer — Houston Texans’ New Coach Already Has Powerful Voices In His Corner

Near Universal Praise for the New Hire and Real Hope on Kirby Drive

BY // 05.29.23

Jim Nantz is all in on DeMeco Ryans. The voice of CBS Sports may be more known for his support of the University of Houston, particularly Kelvin Sampson’s basketball program, in this city. But Nantz is the lead voice of CBS’ NFL coverage and he cares about what the Houston Texans do in his chosen hometown too.

Nantz enjoyed coming to NRG Stadium semi regularly to call Texans games during the Gary Kubiak, Arian Foster, Matt Schaub and early J.J. Watt days. He believes that hiring DeMeco Ryans as head coach could be the first step towards returning the Texans to that type of relevancy again.

“I love the hire of DeMeco,” Nantz tells PaperCity. “I meet with these guys all during football season and he would have been the first guy I would have taken if I had a team and I wanted to go get a coach that had never been a coach before. I have faith that the city can go back to those halcyon days before the city exploded and had the boom and it can transcend just being a college basketball town.”

Nantz regularly meet with Ryans when the former Texans player served as the San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator before games he called involving San Francisco. He left those meetings impressed with Ryans’ coaching knowledge — and wowed by the man.

“He has a real presence about him,” Nantz says.

Nantz is hardly the only one who seems convinced Ryans will be good at this head coaching thing. No matter what you think of the Texans’ draft day trade — and I’d argue they gave up way too much to move back up to take Will Anderson Jr. at No. 3 — their head coaching hire is drawing near universal praise. Ryans received a standing ovation before he threw out the first pitch before a Houston Astros game. Which is the Houston sports equivalent of a papal blessing.

Being a former Houston Texans player himself — back when the Texans were relevant in the league — helps. But this has more to do with DeMeco Ryans work as the San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator when he built the No. 1 defense in the league. And Nantz is not the only prominent media voice who is all in on the Texans’ new coach before the 38-year-old Ryans even coaches his first game as the head man.

Adam Schein, the Sirius XM radio host and columnist, is also a major Ryans believer. Schein touts Ryans as a home run hire.

“I really think the world of Ryans,” Schein writes. “That’s well documented. From his playing days as a Pro Bowl linebacker to his coaching days as defensive coordinator of San Francisco’s top-ranked unit, Ryans is impressive at every turn. Thus, I have no worries about him adjusting to life as a head man.

“He’s brilliant. He’s a great leader of men. His team will be buttoned up and fundamentally sound.”

Houston Texans selected quarterback C.J. Stroud with the #2 pick in the 2023 NFL Draft and traded up to #3 to draft defensive end Will Anderson Jr., and introduced them to Houston media at NRG Stadium
Houston Texans quarterback C.J. Stroud wasn’t a clearcut No. 2 overall pick. And Stroud heard the debate. (Photo by F. Carter Smith)

DeMeco Ryans will head into his first Texans season riding a near tidal wave of good will. You usually have to be Beyonce to garner these type of approval ratings in Houston. Now, the rookie head coach just has to make his young, inexperienced roster — and new franchise quarterback hope C.J. Stroud — believe.

“I love the hire of DeMeco. I meet with these guys all during football season and he would have been the first guy I would have taken if I had a team and I wanted to go get a coach that had never been a coach before.” — Jim Nantz on Houston Texans coach DeMeco Ryans

Ryans recognizes that this type of near universal approval isn’t the usual — and he certainly doesn’t seem to be taking it for granted.

“It’s like coming home,” Ryans says when asked about the early reception on that first pitch night at the Astros game. “It has been fun. It has been a warm welcome from the city. It has been a lot of energy. The fans are fired up. I am fired up. And our team is fired up.

“We are excited to get started. And we are very thankful for all the support we get throughout the city.”

DeMeco Ryans has earned this belief by the way he’s gone about his business. Guys like Jim Nantz don’t just endorse anyone. But the new Houston Texans head coach knows he needs to back up the love once his team hits the field for real.