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Broncos to Interview Niners DC DeMeco Ryans on Thursday

The Denver Broncos are keeping their head-coaching options open.
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Although much of the speculation and fervor surrounding the Denver Broncos centers on Sean Payton, the team's search for a new head coach continues on apace. On Thursday, according to multiple reports, the Broncos will meet with San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans regarding the team's head-coaching vacancy. 

Ryans is a former Pro Bowl linebacker and has coordinated San Francisco's fierce defense for two years, taking over the job for Robert Salah when he took the head gig with the New York Jets. Ryans' Niners finished as the top scoring defense in the NFL this season and are the tip of the spear in the team's postseason push. 

At 38 years old, Ryans has been in the coaching game since 2017. He took a year off as a player, then joined Kyle Shanahan in San Francisco as a quality control assistant. 

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Ryans' talent was evident and his intangible traits, especially his leadership and defensive IQ, saw him quickly rise up the ranks. He jumped to linebackers coach by Year 2 in San Francisco and was defensive coordinator by Year 5.

The Broncos finished as the No. 14 scoring defense under first-year coordinator Ejiro Evero. Denver had maintained top-five scoring billing until the last quarter of the season when the defense seemed to finally succumb to its personnel losses. 

Evero has also been a hot commodity in this NFL head-coach hiring cycle, having interviewed with multiple teams. He could be hired away from the Broncos. 

Or not. And if Payton opts to stay in the NFL media world with his cushy gig at FOX Sports, the Broncos will have to fall back on a contingency. That could be a Ryans, or an Evero, or a Dan Quinn, the last of whom the Broncos will interview on Friday as the Dallas Cowboys gear up to take on the Niners in the Divisional Round of the playoffs. 

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