Ryan has future directing 'D'

Ravens Gameday

Colts 20, Ravens 10

December 20, 2004

He has been patient, waiting his turn and then watching as his former co-workers succeeded elsewhere.

Now, with Jack Del Rio and Donnie Henderson, two former Ravens assistant coaches, getting their shots as defensive coordinators (and subsequently as a head coach for Del Rio), defensive line coach Rex Ryan shoots to the top of the list as the most likely assistant to be plucked from the Ravens.

Ryan, in his sixth year with the Ravens, figures to be the third member of the staff that could be a hot commodity for another job, along with offensive coordinator Matt Cavanaugh, who has been linked to the coaching vacancy at the University of Pittsburgh, and Mike Nolan, who has been rumored to have drawn interest from the Miami Dolphins.

Asked if he thinks this could be his time, Ryan said: "I hope so. I think everybody wants to prove that they can run their own show on defense.

"I've had some excellent teachers, and I was successful as a coordinator in college. Probably, at one time, considered one of the top coordinators in college. So this is a natural progression, and if that opportunity presents itself, then great, I will attack it."

The Ravens needed Ryan's defensive line to keep the pressure on Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning last night, and the unit responded in the first half.

In the first half, Manning was pressured consistently, out of sync with his receivers and produced just two field goals, one of which came off a Ravens turnover.

With the national spotlight, that may increase Ryan's chance for a promotion elsewhere. Ryan was the leading candidate to be the Oakland Raiders' defensive coordinator last year, but the Ravens denied him the opportunity. The Ravens lost Henderson last year and did not want to lose two coaches from the same staff.

"If it doesn't happen, then I'm happy here," Ryan said. "This is a great situation here with the Ravens. You've got great ownership, a head coach that is going to be here and who trusts his coaches to get the job done. He isn't a guy that is looking over your shoulder every two seconds.

"I love the structure, love the chemistry with the players. So if the worst thing happens that Rex Ryan is here coaching the defensive line again, that's not a great loss for me."

Next for Ravens

Matchup: Ravens (8-6) vs. Pittsburgh Steelers (13-1)

Site: Heinz Field, Pittsburgh

When: Sunday, 1 p.m.

TV/Radio: Ch. 13/WJFK (1300 AM), WQSR (102.7 FM)

Line: Off the board

Series: Steelers lead 12-6

Last meeting: Ravens won, 30-13, on Sept. 19 at M&T Bank Stadium

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