San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans is considered the favorite for the Houston Texans' head-coaching job, sources told ESPN's Adam Schefter.
Ryans, who interviewed with the Texans on Jan. 20, also has been linked to head-coaching vacancies with the Denver Broncos and Indianapolis Colts.
But after overseeing the NFL's No. 1 defense this past season, Ryans now is the front-runner to be the next head coach of the Texans, who are expected to pursue him after the 49ers' 31-7 loss in Sunday's NFC Championship Game.
The Texans also think highly of Philadelphia Eagles defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon, who has strong support within the Houston organization, sources told Schefter. Gannon interviewed with the Texans on Jan. 14.
Another Philadelphia assistant emerging as a top coaching candidate is offensive coordinator Shane Steichen, who will have a second interview with the Indianapolis Colts for their vacant head-coaching job, sources told Schefter.
The Eagles also have received multiple offensive coordinator interview requests for their quarterbacks coach, Brian Johnson, sources told Schefter. But the Eagles are determined to keep Johnson, according to sources.
The Texans fired former coach Lovie Smith after going 3-13-1 and finishing last in the AFC South in 2022. They have gone just 11-38-1 over the past three seasons.
Ryans, a former NFL linebacker who was a standout with the Texans, has been an assistant on the Niners' staff since 2017 and completed his second season as their defensive coordinator. San Francisco's defense ranked No. 1 in the league in yards allowed (300.6) and points allowed (16.3) per game this past season.