Robert Saleh first coached Texans HC DeMeco Ryans as a player in Houston in 2006 when Saleh was a defensive quality control coach. They reunited in 2017 with the 49ers when Saleh was the defensive coordinator and Ryans broke into coaching as a defensive quality control coach.
"First and foremost, everyone know how big character is here, DeMeco Ryans embodies character even when he was a player," Saleh said. … "Such an unbelievable human. He's a relentless worker, he's got humility for days. He's always trying to learn, ask questions. He's not afraid to show vulnerability of not knowing the answer but the willingness to go seek the answer.
"He was the first one in, last one out. Grinded, asked questions, learned, promoted to linebackers coach. Still asked questions even though he played linebacker his whole life. He recognized quickly not everybody is him because he was a ridiculously special talent. He learned from asking questions, watching tape, seeking guidance the right way to not cookie cutter everybody but teach within their skills. He mastered it quickly. Learned the scheme, understood how to be a coordinator quickly. He's going to continue to do a great job because he's going to continue to evolve not only as a man but a teacher and a confidant."
The other defensive quality control coach under Saleh was Texans OC Bobby Slowik.
"He was on the defensive side of the ball for two years, so it's like, 'Shoot, he knows every single wrinkle of our defense,' " Saleh said. "He's been a defensive guy his whole life, so he understands all the nuance and he knows exactly what he's looking at when he's watching tape. You can see it in his play design. It's pretty cool to see how he's evolved in his career."
C.J. Stroud Leads NFL in Passing Yards
Texans rookie quarterback C.J. Stroud, drafted No. 2 overall out of Ohio State, is on pace to become the first rookie QB to lead the NFL in passing yards since Davey O'Brien in 1939. Stroud commands the NFL's No. 6 total offense that ranks No. 2 in passing yards (275.2 yards/game).
"He's a stud, man," Robert Saleh said. "He processes fast, he plays fast, he plays big, he plays strong, he plays confident, his arm talent is good as anybody. Bobby Slowik is doing a great job scheming those guys up, getting them open, running through zones and all that."
The strength of the Texans offense will go toe-to-toe with the strength of the Jets defense that allows 176.6 yards per game through the air, which ranks No. 3 in the NFL. That group is coming off a game where it allowed 1 reception to a wide receiver. Cornerbacks Sauce Gardner, D.J. Reed and Michael Carter II combined to allow on 3 catches for 17 yards on 13 targets.
Pair of Young Talented Corners
Sunday's game features a pair of young star cornerbacks selected in the 2022 NFL Draft in Jets CB Sauce Gardner and Texans CB Derek Stingley, who was picked No. 3 overall, one spot before Gardner.
Stingley has battled injuries in his first two seasons – he played in 9 games last year and he's played in 6 so far this year. The former LSU star has been productive this season despite a small sample size with 4 interceptions and 8 pass defenses.
Gardner, after leading the league with 20 pass defenses as a rookie and being named Defensive Rookie of the Year, has 7 PDs this season while he's waiting for his first interception. His 89.2 PFF coverage grade leads the league (min. 80% snaps) and his 83.4 defense grade ranks No. 3.