It appears to be another NFL off-season when the league’s franchises say no Buddy Ryan’s boys. I keep waiting for one of the Ryan brothers to be promoted to NFL head coach. They certainly seem to have earned their stripes.
The Ryans turned around the defenses of the Bedlam rivals in the late 1990s. Rob coached at OSU in 1997-98, and his pressure defense ignited the Cowboys’ excellent 1997 season. Rex joined John Blake’s staff in 1998, and the Sooners immediately began playing big-time defense, though Ryan was purged along with Blake after the ’98 season.
Both Ryan brothers ended up in the NFL and have done well.
Rex has been a superb defensive coordinator for the Baltimore Ravens and has interviewed for some head-coaching jobs, notably in Atlanta and Baltimore. New Baltimore coach John Harbaugh said he wanted to keep Ryan as the Raven coordinator, should no other team hire away Ryan, but nothing has occurred yet.
Rob has been the Oakland Raiders defensive coordinator and produced an excellent unit in 2006, despite the Raiders’ 2-14 record. The Raider defense slipped in 2007 — how any coaches in Oakland prosper is beyond me — and head coach Lane Kiffin tried to push out Ryan, who wanted to go and join the Jets as defensive coordinator. But Raider owner Al Davis stepped in and refused to let Ryan out of his contract. Now Davis appears to be trying to push out Kiffin. Maybe that’s the best ticket for the Ryans; become head coach for Al Davis. Not that that’s a long-term solution for the Ryans.