Rex Ryan feels slighted by the Baltimore Ravens and has opted to employ those emotions to fuel his ambition.
"Coaching in Baltimore 10 years and then not getting the job, that’s a thing that drives me," Rex Ryan said recently. "As much as I respect the people in the Ravens’ organization, they never thought I could do the job, and that’s a major chip on my shoulder.”
From what I’ve been told, the Ravens never doubted that Ryan could be a head coach. They just didn’t want him as their head coach and for good reason.
It is no secret that Ryan’s defensive unit loved playing for him. But that 2007 team was laced with cancerous cliques that eventually undermined then head coach Brian Billick leading to his demise in Baltimore. And while Ryan didn’t assemble those cliques, he did little to squelch those on the defensive side of the ball and eventually a near mutiny ensued, one that could have benefitted Ryan.
The Ravens had always supported Ryan’s efforts to land head coaching jobs in Atlanta, San Diego and other past job openings. They entertained the idea of making him their head coach as well but they couldn’t get past Ryan’s immaturity and his behavior as the Jets’ head coach validates that concern.
Sure flashing the bird at fans, his profane showboating on Hard Knocks, afternoon snacks, toe tickling and bloated bravado may be amusing while he’s winning, but let’s see who’s laughing when adversity rears its ugly head for the Gang Green.
The Ravens are apparently enamored with the last name of Smith and they’ve added two more to the roster in the form of Jimmy and Torrey. Could they be adding another?
Some believe that Carolina Panthers Pro Bowl WR Steve Smith could be heading to Baltimore. Now before you summarily dismiss the idea think about this. Last year at the tail end of the preseason, the Ravens traded Mark Clayton to make room for TJ Houshmandzadeh. Could they make room for Steve Smith by parting ways with Derrick Mason?
Mason has clearly delivered all that the Ravens had hoped and then some. But if the Ravens can lure Steve Smith with a contract number not far north of Mason’s $4.5 million 2011 salary figure wouldn’t he be a better complement to Anquan Boldin? And at 32 it could be argued that he has a bit more left in the tank than the seemingly ageless Mason.
Clearly it’s a long-shot but then again, last August it seemed like Houshmandzadeh over Clayton was also a player swap difficult to fathom.
The Ravens have been given solid grades for their 2011 draft class from top to bottom. Many have questioned the Ravens’ selection of Tyrod Taylor who some consider a less accomplished version of recently discarded Troy Smith. But generally those who study the draft like The Dallas Morning News’ Rick Gosselin (who handed out a rare “A” to Ozzie Newsome & Company) think the Ravens scored on draft weekend.
More importantly the Ravens believe they’ve scored with this year’s collegiate talent pool and the two players that seem to generate the biggest buzz in Owings Mills are offensive tackle Jah Reid and running back Anthony Allen. Insiders believe that Reid could be the starter by the season’s quarter pole and that’s even if Jared Gaither is with the club.
Allen is a determined runner and given the likely departure of Willis McGahee (who doesn’t appear to want to accept a contract less than the $6 mil he’s scheduled to earn in ’11), the former Georgia Tech Yellow Jacket could provide some needed punch to the Ravens’ anemic short yardage offense.
Back to Gaither for a moment, many fans see him as the team’s best left tackle but make no mistake about it, that position belongs to Michael Oher. Oher is viewed as a long-term Raven while Gaither isn’t expected to be a Raven beyond 2011 if he’s back at all. The team just can’t trust the enigmatic former Terrapin and without that trustworthiness they aren’t prepared to pay him the top end offensive tackle money that his opportunistic agent Drew Rosenhaus will demand.
That said, if the league reverts back to the 2010 uncapped rules and Gaither is a restricted free agent, signing him to the RFA tender would equip Ozzie Newsome with some solid trade bait should the club need to sure up some thin positions before the start of the 2011 season – whenever that might be…