With the Baltimore Ravens' season over after their tough 23-14 loss in the AFC Championship game to the Pittsburgh Steelers; defensive coordinator, Rex Ryan, is expected to be named the next head coach of the New York Jets.
The move shouldn't come as much of a surprise as Ryan, 46, emerged as the frontrunner for the job. Former Giants defensive coordinator, Steve Spagnuolo, was considered an early favorite for the job. However, the Jets' interest in him seemed to cool and eventually, Spagnuolo took the head coaching job in St. Louis.
Since the only other serious contender for Ryan was St. Louis, it is pretty much a done deal that he will land in New York.
The biggest reason why the Jets favored Ryan over Spagnuolo was because of Ryan's background with the 3-4 defense. The Jets' defensive personnel have been tailored to the 3-4 defense under former coach Eric Mangini. However, the defenses under Mangini have been mediocre, at best.
Ryan, who is the son of legendary NFL head coach Buddy Ryan and twin brother of current Brown defensive coordinator Rob Ryan, will look to turn this Jets defense into one of the elite units in the league. After starting off strong, the Jets defense struggled mightily which contributed to their late season collapse.
Ryan has been a coach with the Baltimore Ravens for nine years, the last three have been as the team's defensive coordinator and he served as assistant head coach of this current team. Ryan was the defensive line coach of the dominant Ravens defense that won the Super Bowl in 2000.
Under Ryan, the Ravens' worst ranking in total defense was sixth. Players from his defense have also made 11 Pro Bowls.
The Ravens finished second in total defense this season despite missing several key players to injuries.
Aside from his accolades and football pedigree, Ryan is considered a no-nonsense leader who just loves the game. He was born into coaching and was always around the game due to his father. He is very well-respected and loved by his players, especially future hall of famers Ray Lewis and Ed Reed.
The praise he recieves from players of that caliber certainly speaks volumes of Ryan's capabilities as a head coach.
While the Ravens' base defense is a 3-4, Ryan has shown a lot of versatility in mixing different defensive fronts with creative blitzing schemes. He is also familiar with the "46" defense which his father made famous.
While I did endorse the Jets hiring Steve Spagnuolo early on, I have no complaints over the hiring of Rex Ryan. I am eager to see who he will choose to be on his coaching staff.
Personally, I am also hoping that he attracts some his players to the Jets (Terrell Suggs and Bart Scott, come to mind). There is also talk of Carolina Panthers defensive end and free agent, Julius Peppers, having a desire to play in a 3-4 defense. That's a very intriguing possibility, one which seems very feasible with a defensive mastermind like Ryan at the helm.
Ryan seems to have the right attitude and "bravado", as many people have emphasized. He has a certain level of arrogance which isn't a bad thing for a head coach.
Those qualities along with his talent and football background, will bode well for him in New York.
Hopefully, success will follow Rex Ryan to New York. And if nothing else, Rex will give us some very entertaining soundbites.
Updated on January 19, 2009
The deal is for 4 years at $11.6 million dollars, similar to the same deal that Steve Spagnuolo recieved from the St. Louis Rams.
It is reported that Ryan was offered the job about an hour after the Ravens lost to the Steelers in the AFC Championship game.
Fellow Bleacher Report writer, Joe Caporoso, is reporting that Mike Pettine who is the Ravens outside linebacker coach will be named the Jets defensive coordinator. Ryan considers Pettine, who has been with the Ravens since 2002, his "right hand man." That's not surprising when you consider that much of the success of a 3-4 defense hinges on the pressure that the outside linebackers apply.
Offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer will most likely stay on with the Jets, as well as special teams coach Mike Westoff.
He will be introduced as the Jets next head coach during a press conference on Wednesday.