Ravens central

ON THE RAVENS

February 04, 2007|By MIKE PRESTON

Some thoughts from Ravens defensive coordinator Rex Ryan heading into tonight's Super Bowl:

What makes Peyton Manning so special? First of all, he has so much God-given ability. He has got a great arm. He's got things that you can't coach in a guy - the poise, the work ethic. He studies the game. You know when you play him that you can't give him the standard looks or he'll carve you up. He is a competitive guy, loves a challenge, tough, and durable. He's got it all as a quarterback. He really does. That's as big of a challenge as we face when we go against him.

How much 3-4 look did you give the Colts in the playoffs compared to other games? It's hard to say. We do a lot of 3-4 stuff. We'll base 3-4, then stem the overs and unders, which are 4-3 defenses. We probably played more 3-4 against Manning than we normally do. The Colts give you two tight ends as a base set, but they run a lot of three-wide formations. A lot of times, you're running nickel packages even in first downs against them. A lot of that is our 3-4 stuff where we move around. We went into that game knowing that our big three-man rush package would be important against him because they were going to protect him. Quite honestly, if you cut the head off that thing, the offense is going to fall if you can get to him. Now, in the process of doing that, you're going to leave yourself vulnerable. You have to pick your shots against him. You can't just live doing one thing or another, because once he gets a bead on what you're doing, he is going to be really tough.

Why have the Colts struggled against the 3-4? They haven't as much as in years past. In the past, they would "molly protect" the guards. In other words, if you showed a 3-4 look, and had two guys coming off the edge, their guards would work out and block the outside wedge. When you do that, the pocket gets pushed. I think you saw that a little bit against us, but a ton against Pittsburgh and San Diego. They basically got out of that protection. They like to go six-man protection against every team in the league, but against us, they went with a seven-man protection. They were not willing to get Peyton Manning hit.

mike.preston@baltsun.com

For more of this interview, go to www.baltimoresun.com/ravenscentral

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