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Is Rex Ryan the one for the Rams?
By Jeff Gordon
STLTODAY.COM SPORTS COLUMNIST
Tuesday, Jan. 13 2009
Ravens defensive coordinator Rex Ryan would be a terrific head coach for the
Rams. After interviewing him Sunday, the front-office search contingent agreed.
This old-school, no-nonsense coach could restore pride to a battered football
operation. Ryan seems both charismatic and demanding.
He may be more tactful than his father, the legendary Buddy Ryan, but he is no
less competitive. His track record in Baltimore, as both an assistant coach and
coordinator, speaks volumes.
Ryan is overdue to get a head-coaching opportunity.
But two huge obstacles could prevent him from reaching Rams Park. One, the New
York Jets management team also considers him a leading candidate for its
Two, Ryan’s Baltimore Ravens could advance to the Super Bowl by winning the AFC
Championship Game. That would further delay his official hiring in New York,
St. Louis or anywhere else.
So Billy Devaney and Co. continue to explore their options. Fortunately, it
appears the Rams are getting it right this time.
With Devaney leading the search instead of John Shaw, this franchise is talking
to the right people.
Interim Rams coach Jim Haslett and Vikings defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier
already have had their big LA interviews. Cowboys offensive coordinator Jason
Garrett and Giants defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo are next.
A sixth finalist, baby-faced Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, got
away. The Broncos locked him up before the Rams could make much headway with
That’s life in the NFL. The Rams are down in the pecking order. Denver is a far
more desirable coaching destination. So is New York, for that matter, and the
Big Apple press is already rallying behind the potential Ryan hiring there.
In this corner of cyberspace, here is how we rank the finalists:
Ryan: He knows how to build a great organization because he has worked in one.
His personal advancement came more slowly because he worked for the Ravens,
rather than a lesser team, but he learned more. A lot of coaches talk about not
taking short cuts, but Ryan has embodied that concept in his career.
Rex had to wait his turn to become defensive coordinator, even when other
organizations believed he was up to the challenge. When he got passed over for
Baltimore’s head-coaching job, in favor of John Harbaugh, he came back with one
of his finest coaching efforts. He has been able to put organizational
interests ahead of his own.
The Jets might be down to Ryan and current offensive coordinator Brian
Frazier: When the Broncos took a look at him, Harbaugh offered the Denver Post
this endorsement: “Hire Leslie Frazier. That's my advice.” And: “He's a
tremendous X's-and-O's coach. Players will respect him. He's a great organizer,
a motivator. He's just a real good man.”
The Lions are also highly interested, but that team may be leaning toward
Titans defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz. Those talks could progress quickly
now that Tennessee is done.
Haslett: No, he didn’t get the desired results after replacing Scott Linehan.
His hiring generated lots of excitement, but the euphoria wore off as the
losses mounted. Belatedly, he moved some of the underachievers to the bench and
took a look at younger players.
He offered Shaw, Chip Rosenbloom, Lucia Rodriguez and Stan Kroenke a detailed
plan for turning things around ASAP. With Devaney running the football
operation and Jay Zygmunt out of the building, that plan would have a chance to
If Haslett doesn’t get the gig, he could land in Green Bay as defensive
coordinator. The Packers looked at Mike Nolan for that job, but he landed in
Spagnuolo: The Jets took a look at him, but his interview knocked him down the
list. But Devaney has known him a long, long time. He has worked with him. He
doesn’t need to be wowed by an interview to realize his value.
He also passed muster with the Lions; that team also wants a second interview,
Garrett: Wasn’t he supposed to be the heir apparent to Wade Phillips? Yeah, but
these days, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones is willing to let him leave. Denver
considered him before hiring McDaniels, and Detroit also took a look.
Garrett didn’t get an endorsement from Ravens safety Ed Reed, who offered these
recollections in a radio interview: “That was a real simple game plan that they
attacked us with. I thought it would be more complicated, but it was a real
simple game plan that they attacked us with. I mean we knew it. Looking at
these coaches' openings and talking about a certain someone from Dallas, I'm
like, 'Hold on now.'
“It's just Garrett, Garrett, Garrett. I knew the plays we were going against.
Maybe that was the game plan for us. But when you watch it on tape, it's not as
complicated as I thought it would be. I'm surprised people want to fire Wade
Phillips down there and he's the one calling the defense -- and the defense is
successful. The guy who's calling the offensive plays isn't getting the same
turnaround. Maybe it's the players.”
Or maybe it’s the interference Garrett got from Jones or the chaos created by
Terrell Owens. Garrett must be dying to run his own program the right way.
The bottom line: I love Ryan, but I can’t see the Rams making a bad choice off
Re: Is Rex Ryan the one for the Rams?
wasn't thomas saying this like 3 years ago too
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