DeMeco Ryans of the 49ers will participate in job interviews with preparation for the playoffs

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DeMeco Ryans of the 49ers will participate in job interviews with preparation for the playoffs
DeMeco Ryans of the 49ers will participate in job interviews with preparation for the playoffs


As hectic as the build-up to the 49ers’ divisional playoff game Sunday will be for everyone involved, it will be even more frenetic for defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans.

One of the NFL’s hottest head coaching candidates, Ryans has interviews scheduled with Denver and Houston and is also expected to speak with Indianapolis and Arizona.

That’s four of the five teams that currently have cap space, with nothing currently in place with the Carolina Panthers.

The 49ers learn Monday night whether they will host Dallas or Tampa Bay in the divisional round after a 41-23 win over Seattle in the wild card round. The game will be from 15:30 on Sunday at Levy Stadium.

Coach Kyle Shanahan is fine with Ryans planning for the future while putting everything he has into the present.

“My advice is you have to put that aside and set certain times that you’re going to deal with it,” Shanahan said Monday on a conference call.

However, Ryans didn’t have the luxury that Shanahan did as the Atlanta Falcons’ offensive coordinator during the week.

“We got three days off, I was able to take two days for those interviews, I knocked them all out and then there was nothing,” Shanahan said. “I turned it off completely and went back to the playoffs.”

After turning down a second interview last offseason with the Minnesota Vikings, who ended up hiring Kevin O’Connell, Ryans made it clear last week that he was interested in going further in the process this time around.

“There’s a lot of scenarios, a lot of situations that come up throughout the year,” Ryans said. “Not just looking at it from a defensive standpoint, but looking at it from a team-wide standpoint and just being able to sit and listen to a conversation that improves my knowledge — not just defensively, but overall. I feel really good where I am right now.”

Shanahan said interviews with Denver and Houston are expected Thursday, with Indianapolis and Arizona likely to follow on Saturday, and that it won’t affect Ryan’s focus on Dallas or Tampa Bay.

“Friday afternoon we have a bit of a break, it doesn’t have to be interrupted by anything, and usually on Thursday we finish a bit earlier than the other nights of the week, so there’s a chance we can do it this Thursday night,” Shanahan said. “When you put time into it, it’s a lot for DeMeco to prepare for, but I think he’s prepared for it. When you’re done with them, you get back to the most important thing going on, which is finding a way to win on Sunday.”

Wasted preparation time

At least half of the preparation the 49ers’ coaches did Monday will go straight to the trash can once Sunday’s opponent is determined to be Dallas or Tampa Bay.

“We’ll get ahead of watching a lot of film on Dallas and Tampa and we’ll have seen enough on both teams that we’re just waiting for the game,” Shanahan said. “So we’ll probably just sit back and relax when that starts and watch the telecast like a normal person and then get back to work before we start on Tuesday.”

Purdy’s rebound

Rookie quarterback Brock Purdy threw his first pass over Deebo Samuel’s head and finished the first half completing just nine of 19 passes for 147 yards and a touchdown. In the second half, Purdy went 9-of-11 for 185 yards and two touchdowns.

“There were a couple of plays he just missed,” Shanahan said. “I know when that happens, it sticks out. When you only have a few misses, there’s really no need to panic. Brock is an accurate thrower, he’s been doing that all year and he’s been playing well. I don’t think there’s much explanation for this, just to calm down a bit and give him a few more chances. He got them in the second half and was pretty deadly with them.

After an uneven first half, the 49ers’ Brock Purdy rolled in the second half against Seattle, going 9-for-11 for 185 yards and two touchdowns. Jose Carlos Fajardo/Bay Area News Group

With the 49ers averaging 8.3 yards per carry in the first half (249 yards on 30 carries), the concern settled for Robbie Gould’s 34- and 33-yard field goals instead of starting the offense.

Things settled down early in the second half when the 49ers drove 75 yards in 13 plays to score on Purdy’s 1-yard run.

“If we keep getting field goals, then we’re going to have to depend on them not scoring the rest of the game to try to win, and we don’t want to be dependent on that,” Shanahan said. “I think coming out, the first drive of the third quarter, slowing things down and going on a good drive, that was a huge deal for us and it went from there.”

Arrow Kicker

Almost forgotten in the 49ers’ avalanche was a miserable end to the first half after Gould’s third field goal put the 49ers up 16-14 with 13 seconds to play.

Instead of kicking deep, Gould’s punt was fielded at the 24 by Colby Parkinson and returned to the 38-yard line. Geno Smith scrambled for nine yards, Jimmy Ward hit the sliding quarterback for a personal foul, and the Seahawks ended the half with a 56-yard field goal by Jason Myers for a 17-16 lead.

The purpose of the squib kick was to burn extra clock time, but the end result will likely have Shanahan leaning into kicking it deep next time.

“I thought it turned out to be a really bad decision,” Shanahan said. “They got it at the (38) and it only took one mistake on our part and one big play on their part and they’re within field goal range. And we made the mistake of this personal violation.

Kinlaw’s surprising contribution

Defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw played 30 snaps and was a valuable piece of defensive line depth — one Shanahan said he didn’t really rely on as the season went on.


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