Schefter: Rex Ryan 'Name to Watch' for Chiefs DC Vacancy After Bob Sutton Firing

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistJanuary 22, 2019

BEVERLY HILLS, CA - JULY 26:  Former NFL coach & ESPN analyst Rex Ryan of 'ESPN's Sunday's NFL Countdown' speaks onstage during the ESPN portion of the 2017 Summer Television Critics Association Press Tour at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on July 26, 2017 in Beverly Hills, California.  (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)
Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

The Kansas City Chiefs fired defensive coordinator Bob Sutton on Tuesday, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN, and one of the names they could consider to replace him is former NFL head coach and current ESPN analyst Rex Ryan:

Ryan, 56, last worked in the NFL in 2016 as the head coach of the Buffalo Bills. He spent two years with the Bills, going just 15-16 with the team and failing to reach the postseason. Previously, he spent six years as the head coach of the New York Jets (2009-14), going 46-50, though he reached the playoffs in his first two seasons in New York. 

Before becoming a head coach, Ryan made his name as a defensive mind, serving various roles on that side of the ball including Morehouse State's defensive coordinator (1990-93), the Arizona Cardinals defensive line and linebackers coach (1994-95), Cincinnati Bearcats defensive coordinator (1996-97), Oklahoma Sooners defensive coordinator (1998), the Baltimore Ravens defensive line coach (1999-04) and the Ravens defensive coordinator (2005-08).

As Baltimore's defensive coordinator, Ryan's units never finished worst than sixth in yards allowed and were top-10 in points allowed three times. Between the Ravens, Jets and Bills, his defenses have finished top-10 in yards allowed nine times and top-10 in points allowed five times.

As for Sutton, the Chiefs struggled mightily on defense in 2018, finishing 31st in yards allowed and 24th in points given up. The unit's weaknesses were magnified against the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship Game, when they gave up 176 rushing yards and were consistently hurt by Rob Gronkowski (six catches for 79 yards) and Julian Edelman (seven receptions for 96 yards) on key third downs.

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If Kansas City is going to reach the Super Bowl in the Patrick Mahomes era, the defensive side of the ball needs to improve significantly. How Andy Reid chooses to replace Sutton will be vital in that regard.