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  • Ryan Earning Recognition

    Ryan Earning Recognition
    Thursday, October 22, 2009


    By Nick Wagoner
    Senior Writer

    They are the unidentified giants in the middle, the anonymous players quietly having a serious impact on the game, the nameless grunts going to battle on every play that almost never get the recognition they deserve.

    They are defensive tackles and – more specifically – the nose tackles who on every single snap ignite a massive collision of humanity that in some way or another will almost always have a direct effect on what happens on a given play.

    For the Rams, the man handling those duties is Clifton Ryan. And though you may not realize it, the third-year nose tackle out of Michigan State is having a breakout 2009 season that is earning rave reviews from those that have seen him play, those that play with him and those that play against him.

    “Clif has done a great job,” defensive coordinator Ken Flajole said. “I complimented him last week. The outcome wasn’t what we wanted but I thought Clif played a nice game for us. He continues to get better. He’s one of those guys that goes in and battle every day on the interior line. It’s not a pretty position, you don’t get a lot of credit sometimes when you are playing well and it’s a position that kind of gets lost sometimes. There is nothing pretty or glamorous about the defensive tackle position. He’s done a nice job for us and hopefully he will continue to get better and keep helping us.”

    In most sports, the one thing that never lies is the numbers. Statistics can determine a lot about how well a hitter is doing in baseball or what type of performance a basketball player is putting forth every night. It can be true in football too unless you play defensive tackle.

    Six games into the 2009 season, Ryan has 21 tackles, a sack and a pass defended. Those numbers might seem average on the surface when compared to, say, middle linebacker James Laurinaitis.

    A guy like Laurinaitis leads the Rams with 59 tackles, nearly 10 per game and he immediately jumps out on the game film because he’s constantly around the ball.

    But what doesn’t get seen is the part of the play where Ryan takes on two or more blockers, one of whom was probably originally assigned to get to the second level and block Laurinaitis in an effort to spring his running back.

    Instead, Ryan uses his 6’3, 310-pound frame to take up space, push back the linemen and allow Laurinaitis to run free to the ball. In many ways, it’s like having a point guard who can distribute the ball to a dominant post player in basketball.

    And as it stands, Ryan is doing it as well as he’s ever done it on a professional level.

    “I guess you could say that from an individual standpoint but I want some wins,” Ryan said. “I would trade any personal accolades for a couple of victories. As far as individual performance goes, a lot of credit goes to my teammates for pushing me and helping me get better week in and week out and my coaching staff for keeping me accountable. I just want to be consistent. I am not trying to be a superstar or anything. I just want to fit in this system and keep on doing what I am doing right now.”

    When Ryan arrived at Michigan State as a freshman, he was a 260-pound outside linebacker. As a sophomore, he moved to defensive end before finally settling in at defensive tackle as a junior and senior.

    All of the moving around made it hard for Ryan to get comfortable at a position and project himself toward an NFL career.

    When the 2007 NFL Draft rolled around, Ryan had high hopes after a solid senior season. Those hopes didn’t have him thinking he’d last until the 154th overall selection in the fifth round, when the Rams finally called his name.

    That slight immediately was burned into Ryan’s memory and he has used it as impetus for his play since.

    “It means a lot,” Ryan said. “Looking back to April of 2007 when I was passed on. That has been my motivation since I have been in this league. A lot of guys that were picked before me aren’t in the league anymore. A lot of them are on practice squads or have been on three or four teams. So when I came into this league, a lot of people looked beyond me as a player but most of all as a person.”

    Ryan slowly eased his way into the league as a rookie, playing in all 16 games with no starts and posting 48 tackles, a pair of sacks and a forced fumble. It was a promising beginning but he was only scratching the surface of his potential.

    Last year, Ryan got his first opportunity to be a starter, playing in every game and starting 12 of them with 46 tackles and a pass defended.

    While Ryan was making a strong impression, the nuances of the game hadn’t quite clicked in.

    When he wasn’t playing, Ryan was paying attention in the meeting rooms and the locker room, trying to soak in everything he could from the experienced veterans around him.

    If indeed this is his breakthrough season, Ryan believes it has more to do with those who have shown him the way than any particular thing he’s done.

    “I think more so it’s maturity,” Ryan said. “I had to learn how to be a pro. When I first got here, I had no idea about how to prepare each and every week. Now I have been around guys like Leonard, James Hall, Hollis, Corey Chavous, Torry Holt. Those guys prepared me to be able to play like this. Every week you have got to take pride in your job and take pride in what you put on the field. To me, it’s just maturity and preparation week in and week out.”

    Although he’s only in his third year in the league, Ryan is wise beyond his years. He’s quietly embraced a leadership role and is now just as much of a mentor to his younger teammates as the likes of Little and Hall.

    A number of teammates now cite Ryan as one of the locker room leaders. The media has taken to speaking with Ryan every Thursday to get his breakdown of the opponent, a job that used to be occupied by veteran La’Roi Glover and could someday lead to a second career in broadcasting for the knowledgeable tackle.

    “Clif may not have been playing in the league a long time but he seems like he’s a seasoned veteran,” coach Steve Spagnuolo said. “He gets in there and battles. He’s vocal. He shows up every day in practice and those are the kind of guys you like.”

    Make no mistake, though Ryan doesn’t play a position that comes with much glory, he still wants to be rated among the best in the league.

    “It’s just watching guys at your position, guys like Pat Williams, Ryan Pickett, Jammal Williams, Vince Wilfork, Casey Hampton,” Ryan said. “Those are guys I strive to be. I want to be mentioned as one of the best nose tackles in this game so watching guys like that I try to implement things from their game into my game.”

    Ryan says his knowledge of opponents comes from his ongoing desire to always outprepare and understand what he’s up against on a week to week basis. And it doesn’t hurt to be aware of the other guys in the league to use as a measuring stick for his own performance.

    “To be involved in something you have got to know your opponent,” Ryan said. “You have got to know other guys you are competing with at your position. I never know if I am ever going to need a job again so I have got to know who the best is at my position so I can be on their level or above their level so I can be in this business for a long time because I love this game, I take pride in my work.”

  • #2
    Re: Ryan Earning Recognition

    I like him, I think he's one of the good parts of the defense, for sure. I haven't had a chance to see many of the games, (damn Directv) but from what I've been able to look at post game, he looks good to me.
    Always and Forever a fan of the St. Louis Rams

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Ryan Earning Recognition

      Originally posted by r8rh8rmike View Post



      “I think more so it’s maturity,” Ryan said. “I had to learn how to be a pro. When I first got here, I had no idea about how to prepare each and every week. Now I have been around guys like Leonard, James Hall, Hollis, Corey Chavous, Torry Holt. Those guys prepared me to be able to play like this. Every week you have got to take pride in your job and take pride in what you put on the field. To me, it’s just maturity and preparation week in and week out.”
      Only 2 of his 6 mentors are still here, really show how things have changed. I'm glad he has taken torch and has become more of a leader.

      Anyways I really like this kid i've been drumming him up all year. He has been one of our best defensive players along with Little, Lauranatis, Long, OJ, and Hall

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Ryan Earning Recognition

        Fair play, Clifton has been pretty good from day one..but he is stepping up his game to another level this year.i contacted him on monday to tell him so..he really is an important part of our future success and im glad that the coaching staff are recognizing his great play.
        when he was a rookie he was only signed to a 3 year contract and this year is the last of that..i hope we sign him to a long term contract a.s.a.p. he`s only 25 and im sure this regime has learnt from the mistakes of the previous regime in letting DT`s walk before they reach their peak.
        to the peeps who were down about the spoon trade for only getting a 5th round pick (and Gibson).. this player is a fine example of the value of a 5th round pick.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Ryan Earning Recognition

          Originally posted by Ramblin` Ram View Post
          Fair play, Clifton has been pretty good from day one..but he is stepping up his game to another level this year.i contacted him on monday to tell him so..he really is an important part of our future success and im glad that the coaching staff are recognizing his great play.
          when he was a rookie he was only signed to a 3 year contract and this year is the last of that..i hope we sign him to a long term contract a.s.a.p. he`s only 25 and im sure this regime has learnt from the mistakes of the previous regime in letting DT`s walk before they reach their peak.
          to the peeps who were down about the spoon trade for only getting a 5th round pick (and Gibson).. this player is a fine example of the value of a 5th round pick.
          You know him!?
          Always and Forever a fan of the St. Louis Rams

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Ryan Earning Recognition

            Only through Facebook,i got a couple of players on my friends list and contact them to wish them luck and offer consolation when things go wrong or well dones etc.. when things go right..

            oh and from watching him without him knowing every sunday..;)

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Ryan Earning Recognition

              Clifton Ryan is a stud at Defensive tackle. He's a poor mans Albert Haynsworth. It's not quite often that you get a man the size with the speed and power to to blow through the line and power to stand stoud and occupy space. He's been a huge part of our much improved run defense. I'm sure we'll sign him to a long contract this season, or definitely offseason.


              PS, I talk to Clifton on Facebook too, he always responds

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Ryan Earning Recognition

                How can you not like a guy like this? This is the kind of guy we need to be building our team around.

                RealRam called this guy being a stud from the second we drafted him. If he responds to this thread he is getting rep from me.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Ryan Earning Recognition

                  whats his add?

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Ryan Earning Recognition

                    You've got to be strong up the middle. Ryan (25), Lau (22), Atogwe (28) .....something to build on.
                    The more things change, the more they stay the same.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Ryan Earning Recognition

                      Ryan is having a great year and at 25 his best years are a head of him, I just hope that we keep him.. they say that it takes 3 years for DT's to come around well its happening.......I had his Jersey made up....No 95

                      steve:ram:
                      "The breakfast Club":helmet:

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Ryan Earning Recognition

                        “To be involved in something you have got to know your opponent,” Ryan said. “You have got to know other guys you are competing with at your position. I never know if I am ever going to need a job again so I have got to know who the best is at my position so I can be on their level or above their level so I can be in this business for a long time because I love this game, I take pride in my work.”
                        Love his attitude
                        :ramlogo:

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Ryan Earning Recognition

                          I love guys like this !!! These are the type of guys you want to build your team around.

                          And, furthermore, I look at it this way: This just adds to another part of our "QUEST TO BECOME BETTER AND START BEING A SOLID FOOTBALL TEAM " campaign. We already have:

                          Clifton Ryan
                          Laurinitis
                          Long
                          OJ
                          Bartell
                          Wade ( also heard King is good)
                          Butler

                          NEEDS on defense to become a great defense:
                          Another stud DT, another SAM LB, and another CB.
                          If we get these things, we will be great once again!! But it sure feels good to know that this is another part of the puzzle solved and a piece added to the team that we are trying to get used to winning again.

                          IF only i could say the same about everyone on the offense not named steven jackson marc bulger donnie avery jason smith ....

                          Comment

                          Related Topics

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                          • lionsfan81
                            How is Clifton Ryan looking??
                            by lionsfan81
                            Hey Michigan State fan here?? I was wondering how Clifton Ryan was looking. He was my favorite defensive player and the best one that we had, hopefully he makes the team and turns out to be a bright spot!
                            -08-20-2007, 03:31 PM
                          • RamWraith
                            Ryan is trying to give others a good start
                            by RamWraith
                            By Bill Coats
                            ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
                            10/21/2007


                            Before reporting for his first NFL training camp, Clifton Ryan had some business to take care of in his hometown. Business that has become vitally important for Ryan as well as Saginaw, Mich.

                            Ryan, a Rams defensive tackle, and fellow hometowner LaMarr Woodley, a rookie linebacker with the Pittsburgh Steelers, are partners in the "Heroes for Kids" golf outing in Saginaw. The third annual event took place July 25 — two days before players were to arrive at Rams Park.

                            Still, Ryan never considered skipping the day. More than $220,000 has been raised, with the proceeds going to various youth programs in Saginaw. Thousands of youngsters have benefited.

                            "It's the desire to give back," Ryan said. "I know I didn't get to this point in my life all by myself. I always had coaches, teachers, family members, friends, neighbors helping me out."
                            Advertisement


                            Ryan and Woodley are joined by other Saginaw athletes who are making a living in the pros, including NBA standout Jason Richardson. Football players from Michigan State, Ryan's alma mater, and Michigan, where Woodley starred, also attend as celebrity participants.

                            The idea was hatched when Ryan and Woodley, still in college at the time, learned that the youth programs were "in a desperate state as far as funding," Ryan said. "I took an active part in those programs when I was growing up."

                            The money is spread among several entities, some of which probably wouldn't have survived much longer.

                            "We feel as though it's our obligation to show those kids they can be the next Clifton Ryan or the next LaMarr Woodley or the next Jason Richardson," Ryan said. "Or be the next mayor of the city, or a doctor or a lawyer, or a police officer."

                            Ryan, 23, is capitalizing on the opportunity the Rams gave him when they selected him in the fifth round of the draft (No. 154 overall). He's elbowed his way into the rotation on the line at nose tackle and has played well enough "to the point where he's earned starter's playing time," coach Scott Linehan said.

                            "We're talking about a rookie, a fifth-round pick, probably not a lot of high expectations going in," Linehan added. "He's been one of our more productive defensive linemen. He's a real bright spot for us."

                            After collecting seven tackles last Sunday at Baltimore, Ryan has 27 for the season. End James Hall also has 27; no other defensive lineman has more than 22. Ryan and Hall also share the team high in sacks, with two apiece.

                            "He's a hard-nosed, blue-collar-type guy that just likes to beat people up," said fellow rookie lineman Adam Carriker, the Rams' first-round draftee, who has 13 tackles and no sacks....
                            -10-21-2007, 07:45 AM
                          • RamWraith
                            Ryan Makes Strong Impression Inside
                            by RamWraith
                            Wednesday, August 15, 2007

                            By Nick Wagoner
                            Senior Writer

                            While first-round pick Adam Carriker has garnered most of the attention for his performance in the middle of the defensive line, another young defensive tackle is quietly earning high praise from the coaching staff.

                            Drafted in the fifth round out of Michigan State, the expectations for Clifton Ryan were nowhere near those of Carriker.

                            From Day 1, Carriker has been expected to be the medicine that ails the Rams’ run defense. Ryan was expected to be a developmental prospect, the type of player who could one day grow into a solid starter.

                            From the way his coaches talk about him privately and the way he anchors against the run game, Ryan is already well ahead of schedule.

                            “Clifton Ryan is a true nose guard which, since I have been here, we haven’t had a true nose guard,” Rams coach Scott Linehan said. “When it comes to a guy who just plays it because that is what he knows. I think he showed up and had an excellent day as far anchoring and playing nose guard. He gives us a guy that when people try and run the ball at us, he is a guy that we would be able to insert in the game and really holds up.”

                            Indeed, the Rams haven’t had that type of player since the departure of Ryan Pickett to the Green Bay Packers before last season. The team tried Jimmy Kennedy, who had played most of his career at the three technique, as the nose guard last year. By any measure, that experiment didn’t work out.

                            So, the Rams entered the offseason looking for help at a position that clearly needed some fresh bodies. After seemingly every solid free agent prospect at the position re-signed with his team, the Rams turned their attention to the draft.

                            The big splash was made by grabbing Carriker with the 13th pick in the first round. But they weren’t done there. The team had thought highly of Ryan heading into the draft and grabbed him with the 154th choice overall.

                            For Ryan, being drafted at all was the culmination of a collegiate career in which it was difficult to ever feel truly comfortable with what he was doing.

                            “I knew I had the potential to play at this level but there was a lot of turnover at my position coach’s position,” Ryan said. “I had six position coaches in four and a half years at Michigan State so I think once I got in the system they really saw what I can do at the nose tackle position. I think I can really show my potential and I appreciate coach (Jim) Haslett and coach (Brian) Baker seeing something in me and drafting me back in April and putting me in a situation and a system where I can really showcase my skills.”

                            The fact that Ryan entered the league as a defensive tackle at all, came as a surprise to him. When he arrived in East Lansing in 2002, he was a highly recruited, 260-pound outside linebacker.

                            ...
                            -08-15-2007, 02:21 PM
                          • RamWraith
                            Ryan takes advantage of his chance
                            by RamWraith
                            By Bill Coats
                            ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
                            09/18/2007

                            With tackle Claude Wroten starting his four-game league suspension, rookie Clifton Ryan was being counted on to fill a larger role in the rotation on the defensive line Sunday.

                            Ryan did so. And then some.

                            "I thought he played about as good as you're going to play," Rams defensive coordinator Jim Haslett said. "The guy plays 18 plays, has eight tackles, two sacks, a fumble recovery and a forced fumble. Probably should've played him more."

                            Only linebacker Will Witherspoon had more stops (11) in the 17-16 loss to San Francisco.


                            One play clearly defined Ryan's big day.

                            With the ***** leading 14-13 early in the fourth quarter, the 6-foot-3, 310-pound Ryan bore down on quarterback Alex Smith, dropping him for a loss but also stripping the ball away.

                            Then Ryan pounced on the fumble, giving the Rams possession at the *****' 41-yard line.

                            "He got the quadruple, whatever you call it — a tackle, a sack, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery," Haslett said. "That doesn't happen too often at nose tackle."

                            Four plays later, a 53-yard Jeff Wilkins field goal put the Rams on top 16-14.

                            "You know, I would give up all those big plays for us to come away with the victory," Ryan said. "I just want to thank the defensive staff for pushing me in practice every day. I thank them for giving me a chance to showcase my skills."
                            -09-18-2007, 11:40 AM
                          • Country
                            Good Clifton Ryan article
                            by Country
                            This is a really good article interviewing Clifton Ryan after his big game on the weekend.



                            Rams rookie Clifton Ryan makes an impact
                            Defensive tackle has four tackles, two sacks and recovers a fumble
                            BY ROD KLOECKNER
                            News-Democrat

                            ST. LOUIS --Clifton Ryan made a significant impact in his second NFL game Sunday for the St. Louis Rams.

                            A rookie defensive tackle from Michigan State, Ryan had four tackles, two sacks, stripped San Francisco quarterback Alex Smith of the football and recovered the fumble during the Rams' 17-16 loss to the *****.

                            "I felt good, but I would've rather had the victory," Ryan said. "You know I would give up all those big plays for us to come away with the victory.

                            "As far as the big plays go, I just want to thank the defensive staff for pushing me in practice every day since I arrived. I thank them for giving me a chance to showcase my skills."

                            A pure nose tackle, the 6-foot-3, 310-pound Ryan is used in the defensive tackle rotation along with Adam Carriker, La'Roi Glover and Louis Leonard.

                            Ryan's playing time increased this week with the suspension of Claude Wroten for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy.

                            Ryan credited his work on the Rams' scout team in practice for preparing him to face the *****.

                            "I worked a lot against Alex (Barron), who's a good player and a future All-Pro," Ryan said. "I worked a lot against all of those guys on the scout team. I think that really helped me this week coming into this game getting those extra scout-team reps.

                            "Those extra 25 reps you get on the scout team every day really help you hone your skills as a young player."

                            Ryan's big play against Smith allowed the Rams to grab a brief lead in the fourth quarter.

                            Bullrushing ***** defensive end Marques Douglas, Ryan pushed him back as he closed in on Smith. Reaching out, Ryan slapped the ball out of his hands and recovered the loose ball on the San Francisco's 41-yard line.

                            Three plays later, Jeff Wilkins kicked a 53-yard field goal to put the Rams up 16-14 with 10:04 left.

                            "From watching film, we know that Alex is kind of careless with the ball in the pocket," Ryan said. "He just doesn't have a real good security. I just seen it in his hand and knocked it down.

                            "It was right there in front of me and I fell on it. I thank God that I was able to take it away and we were able to kick the field goal to take the lead."

                            Ryan was part of stout effort by the Rams' defense, which allowed just 186 total yards, including 89 on the ground.

                            One big play cost them, a 43-yard touchdown run by Frank Gore on 4th-and-1 late in the third quarter.

                            "I think today was a strong showing and how our defense can play if we...
                            -09-17-2007, 04:34 PM
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