After interview with Jets, Ryan emerges as a top candidate


January 12, 2009|By Jamison Hensley and Mike Preston | Jamison Hensley and Mike Preston and, and

There are indications that Ravens defensive coordinator Rex Ryan could be the leading candidate for the New York Jets' head coaching job.

According to a league source, the Jets revealed their level of interest when owner Woody Johnson and general manager Mike Tannenbaum traveled to Baltimore to speak to Ryan.

ESPN reported this weekend that the favorites to replace Eric Mangini were Ryan, Jets offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer and New York Giants defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo.

Ryan, 46, met with Jets officials for five hours and then interviewed with the St. Louis Rams for three hours.

"They were standard meetings, and they went well," Ryan said last night. "Now we're going to see what happens."

Ryan could also be the front-runner with St. Louis. Last season, Rams general manager Billy Devaney was a part of the Atlanta Falcons' coaching search, and Ryan was high on the organization's list before it hired Mike Smith.

Ryan's stock has grown increasingly over the years. In four seasons with Ryan as coordinator, the Ravens have finished fifth (2005), first (2006), sixth (2007) and second (2008) in the NFL in total defense.

Team sources said it's unknown who would replace Ryan as the Ravens' defensive coordinator. Because of the number of veterans on the team, coach John Harbaugh could decide to promote someone already on his staff in order to keep the same system.

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