You want to get me riled up? Mention two of the most annoying loud-mouth coaches of all time. Rex Ryan with his so called brash attitude who has no clue how to manage a locker room and has made a living of ridiculous media outtakes. Well, at least he can actually coach. His brother Rob on the other hand is a different story. Apart from boasting a terrific Michael McDonald doppelganger, is one of the more overrated defensive coordinators in the league. It was much to my delight that the Rams decided against bringing in Ryan as their defensive coordinator. I will get to the facts about how it is a horrible fit in a second, but let us look at his most recent resume:
2004 to 2008: Despite boasting up and coming young players in Michael Huff, Nnamdi Asomugha, Kirk Morrison and a past his prime Warren Sapp (who still managed to record 10 sacks) Ryans teams finished: 30th, 27th, 3rd, 22nd and 27th. If you followed the Raiders even the slightest bit during those years, you knew that they were the most undisciplined team in the league. During Ryan’s tenure in Oakland, the Raiders finished, 17th, 1st, 3rd, 2nd and 4th in the league in penalties per game. It was a given that game after game their defense would take 7-10 penalties for over 100 yards. That is a direct reflection of the defensive coordinator.
We’ll give him a pass for a tenures in Cleveland where he only had a one year stint. Dallas however is another story. When you are surrounded by players such as DeMarcus Ware, Anthony Spencer, Jay Ratliff, Terrence Newman, Bradie James and Sean Lee among others and you consistently allow the big play late in games, you simply cannot be a great defensive mind. How do you have the best pass rusher of this recent time yet only rank 16th in sacks? Morris Claiborne and Brendan Carr were anchors on the back end and if not for them, this defense would have been even worse and underachieving than it was. Still, they set a franchise record for most yards allowed in 2012.
Looking at the fit between Ryan and the Rams, schematically and personnel wise, it was a mismatch. Scan the Rams defensive lineup and you will see they have the perfect personnel to run an attacking 4-3 defense which is different than the 3-4 scheme that Ryan employs. Chris Long is of the same mold of a J.J. Watt: stout against the run and can be a terror as a pass rusher. Robert Quinn is your prototypical speed-edge rusher. A 3-4 defense would relegate both as outside linebackers meaning they would have less of an impact against the run and conversely, they would need to be adequate in defending the pass. Jo-Lunn Dunbar is the type of outside linebacker you want roaming all over the field with his athleticism and not confined as a inside backer. The Rams lead the league in sacks with an attacking 4-3 scheme and they will be one of the best defenses next season factoring in the aforementioned players as well as Janoris Jenkins who was a ballhawk this season and Cortland Finnegan, one of the more aggressive and in your face corners in the league. Now if only Rex can somehow find himself out of the league for a year or two.