NFL Assistant Coach of the Year Award: DeMeco Ryans Named Winner for 2022-2023 Season

The NFL Honors have officially announced their winners, and San Francisco 49ers DC DeMeco Ryans received 2022-2023 Assistant Coach of the Year.

The 2023 NFL Honors ceremony has announced some winners, and the Assistant Coach of the Year Award recipient was, unsurprisingly, San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans.

DeMeco Ryans Wins 2022-2023 NFL Assistant Coach of the Year

The Assistant Coach of the Year Award is the newest kid on the block, as it was first presented in 2014 (Todd Bowles, Arizona Cardinals). Yet, despite being just 38 years old, Ryans is only the second-youngest coach to receive the honor.

The first? His boss from this season, Kyle Shanahan, who was 36 when he won the award as the offensive coordinator of the Atlanta Falcons in 2016.

MORE: 2023 NFL Honors Results — List of 2022-2023 NFL Awards Winners

Under Ryans, the 49ers ranked No. 1 in points and yards on defense for the first time … ever. In fact, San Francisco hasn’t ranked first in either category in over two decades (1997).

Yes, they had a ton of talent, including pass-rush prophet Nick Bosa and the league’s best linebacking duo in Fred Warner and Dre Greenlaw. But Ryans squeezed every bit of that talent out, maximizing the skill sets of his personnel.

Even more than that, he proved to be a leader and developer of men. It’s no wonder seemingly every team with a vacant head coach position lobbied for his services — congratulations, Houston Texans fans!

Shane Steichen, Ben Johnson Were Worthy Finalists

Although Ryans won the award, deservedly so, there were plenty of coordinators that had an argument to win Assistant Coach of the Year.

Eagles OC Shane Steichen and HC Nick Sirianni have constructed one of the best offenses in the NFL and launched Jalen Hurts on an MVP trajectory. They ranked third in EPA per play in 2022, running over teams on the ground while taking calculated shots downfield.

Lions OC Ben Johnson turned back Jared Goff’s clock, making him look like a legitimate franchise signal-caller (he isn’t, but that’s for another article). He also unlocked Jamaal Williams, the goal-line goblin, who led the NFL in rushing touchdowns (17). But most impressively, Johnson took Detriot from 29th in DVOA to fifth in just one season.

While not a finalist, Bengals DC Lou Anarumo shouldn’t be disregarded. He’s interviewed for head coach positions the last two years, and for good reason. The Bengals’ defense has improved in each of the four seasons under his tutelage, ranking sixth in points in 2022. And if Joe Burrow had any semblance of protection up front last year, Anarumo would own a Super Bowl ring.

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