Comparing Jets' Rex Ryan to Ravens' Greg Mattison is unfair

November 15, 2010|Mike Preston

As the New York Jets get bigger, the legend of their head coach Rex Ryan grows in Baltimore.

Ever since the Ravens lost to the Atlanta Falcons Thursday in a last minute comeback by the Falcons, we keep hearing comparisons of Ryan and current Ravens defensive coordinator Greg Mattison, which is unfair to both men.

Ryan was a great assistant coach and coordinator here, and he has done a terrific job in New York during the last two seasons. Mattison has also done a good job in Baltimore as well, but he hasn't been here long enough to establish a reputation as a coordinator in the NFL.

But to compare the two makes little sense. When Ryan was the coordinator from 2005 to 2008, middle linebacker Ray Lewis was younger and better, and so was defensive tackle Kelly Gregg. Defensive end Trevor Pryce still had enough gas in his tank to be an effective pass rusher.

There was a Pro Bowl cornerback named Chris McAlister and defensive tackle Justin Bannan, who was as good as current tackles Haloti Ngata and Gregg. Safety Ed Reed was healthy and Jim Leonhard made numerous big plays as a safety.

And then there was inside linebacker Bart Scott. He did a lot of the fill in dirty work for Lewis and could rush the quarterback as well as play pass coverage. The Ravens still haven't found another complete linebacker like Scott during the last two years.

Mattison has inherited an older and lesser talented group even though Ryan was more creative as far blitz packages go. Ryan took Leonhard, Scott and Pryce with him to New York, Bannan now plays in Denver, and McAlister has retired. The only remaining player of the bunch who has gotten better is Ngata.

Big Apple, big mojo

Critics say Ryan and his Jets are lucky to have won two straight overtime games on the road. If he were still in Baltimore, we'd be saying the Ravens were a team of destiny.

I don't know about the destiny angle either, but Ryan has that mojo working in the Big Apple.

Smith finds a home?

Troy Who?

The former Ravens backup quarterback continues to play well for his new team, the San Francisco 49ers. Smith threw for a career high 356 yards completing 17 of 28 passes in the 49ers' 23-20 win over the St. Louis Rams.

The 49ers are 2-0 with Smith as a starter, and the victories have touched off a backlash of criticism in Baltimore from the local media. Apparently, we weren't fair to Smith and he never had a chance to start here.

In all honesty, Smith's career as a possible starter was over when the Ravens drafted Joe Flacco in the first round three years ago. And Smith didn't help himself this season by performing so poorly in training camp and the preseason.

Hopefully, though, Smith has found a home in San Francisco.

Vikings cooked?

Now that Minnesota (3-6) lost to Chicago Sunday, can we finally put a fork in the Vikings for the 2010 season?

The Brett Favre issue, at least on the field, should be over and hopefully he'll retire and stay retired after the end of the season. Vikings owner Zygi Wilf reportedly said Brad Childress will remain as the head coach for the remainder of the season, but he should fire Childress and allow defensive coordinator Leslie Frazierto take over.

Frazier deserves the opportunity, and if it doesn't work out by the end of the season, then Wilf should bring in someone else.

T.O. overrated

Cincinnati receiver Terrell Owens has impressive numbers with 59 receptions for 834 yards and seven touchdowns, but the numbers are misleading.

Owens builds up some of those numbers because the Bengals are usually behind and forced to play catch ups. What is missing from his statistics are the number of plays Owens takes off, or how many times he short arms passes across the middle during a game. He also fails to run after opposing players after interceptions.

By the end of the game Sunday, Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer appeared to want no part of Owens. At the end of his career, he is one of the most overrated players in the NFL, right up there with Favre.

When coaches get fired …

It was hard to predict that Dallas was going to beat the New York Giants Sunday, but it was easy to figure out they were going to play better.

When talented teams like the Cowboys underachieve, they always perform better with a new coach because they want fingers pointed at the head coach, not them. That was the case here in Baltimore when the Ravens fired head coach Brian Billick after the 2007 season, and new head coach John Harbaugh went to the AFC championship game the next season.

Honest receiver

T.J. Houshmandzadeh may not catch a lot of passes this season, but you appreciate his honesty. He is his own man and doesn't repeat the same Harbaugh cliches he has heard in the locker room. With starter Derrick Mason nursing a broken finger, it's nice to have a Houshmandzadeh or Donte' Stallworth to replace him.

It will be interesting to see how opposing teams handle the Ravens if they put all four receivers on the field at once.

mike.preston@baltsun.com

Listen to Mike Preston on the "Bruce Cunningham Show" from noon to 2 p.m. on Monday and Friday on 105.7 FM.

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