Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Does Rex Ryan still fit the Ravens? What about Chris Chester?

As Ravens’ fans you would think that we supported the Baltimore Murphy’s this season because whatever could go wrong did go wrong in 2007. Sure we could list the injuries, the inopportune bounces of the ball, the public embarrassments on national television, the inability to remember snap counts, a loss to an otherwise winless team, etc, etc.

But why torture ourselves? What is done is done and it’s time to look ahead and look forward to what has to be a better 2008 season. And to get there for the Ravens it all starts with re-tooling the coaching staff.

So far things are looking pretty good for the Ravens. While it remains to be seen if John Harbaugh can immediately fill the shoes of Brian Billick and then some, you have to be impressed with the assistants he’s lined up thus far, particularly the coordinators.

Rex Ryan is arguably the best defensive coordinator in the business yet time will tell if this was a good hire by Harbaugh. No one questions Ryan’s ability to direct a defense but managing players and disciplining when necessary could be an issue particularly if Harbaugh runs a tight ship as expected. While Mamma (Harbaugh) cracks the whip the children might run to Aunt Suzy (Ryan) for comfort. If Aunt Suzy’s message drifts from Mamma’s watch out!

Word is that recently Ryan and offensive coordinator Cam Cameron have shared a lunch or two together, something rarely if ever seen in the past from the coordinators. The Ravens have long professed their belief that self-scouting is one of the most important things to practice along the road to improvement yet communication hasn’t been the best between the offensive and defensive staffs. What better way to promote the overall good of the team than to have the two very capable coordinators seeking out each other for advice?

Early indications suggest that Cam Cameron is quite comfortable with the personnel he’s inherited to put points on the scoreboard. Cameron was instrumental in shaping the Chargers very fine offensive line – a line that struggled a bit just after his departure to Miami. He’ll have some young talent to work with and we’re beginning to hear more and more that if Jared Gaither can hold down the slot at right tackle, it could push Chris Chester out of a starting spot. Marshall Yanda’s toughness and coachability impressed the Ravens in ’07. He could be the team’s starting right guard in ’08 displacing Ben Grubbs who would move back to his collegiate position of left guard. If that happens, look for Jason Brown to become a fixture at center. He has the intelligence to make the line calls and he is a much more formidable anchor at the position than the under-sized Chester, particularly when taking on the behemoth nose tackles in the AFC North.


Mike in Grasonville said...

If Mike Flynn retires, as has been speculated, then I can see the O-line shaping up just that way.

I'm not sure what the team was thinking with Chester. His quickness is no match for his lack of size and strength.

I think Gaither is going to catch the coaches eyes during camp, and just might wind up in that starting right tackle spot. When given the opportunity early in the season last year he didn't do himself any harm when it comes to accessing his ability to play the game.