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USA Today Sports Media Group
USA Today Sports Media Group
Mark Lane

Texans DE Jerry Hughes lays out how DeMeco Ryans relates as a former player

Being a former player helps as an NFL coach, but it isn’t the secret sauce. Otherwise, the Green Bay Packers wouldn’t not have faded throughout the 1970-80s, a period where former Hall of Fame quarterback Bart Starr coached the team.

However, being a former player can be advantageous if utilized properly.

The Houston Texans have their first former player roaming the sidelines as coach in DeMeco Ryans. The former two-time Pro Bowl linebacker is the sixth full-time coach in team history, and seeks to pull the Texans out of the ditch as the club has endured double-digit losing seasons the past three years.

Defensive end Jerry Hughes shared with reporters June 13 after the first day of mandatory minicamp how Ryans is exactly able to relate to the current players despite not having played a down since 2015.

“It’s just amazing how he can command the room by saying something as simple as going over situational football, how all eyes are locked in on him,” Hughes said. “Especially with us, we have a young team, and that’s what we need, someone who can not only bring the energy, but just reinforce teaching the game of football, because you can’t learn enough of it.”

The key ingredient may be experiencing the NFL in any game day capacity since 2006. Furthermore Ryans has processed those experiences to better articulate what his players should mind as they get ready for the season.

“There’s so many different situations that will happen throughout the season, things that have happened in the past that he’s kind of going over, and it’s just making us smarter so we can go out there and play faster,” said Hughes.

The Texans lost six one-score games in 2023. If Houston improves at situational football, even on the defensive side of the ball, it should help turn the tables in close games.

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