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Old 01-12-2009, 12:42 PM   #411
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Posted by Aaron Wilson on January 12, 2009, 2:40 p.m. EST

Highly-regarded Baltimore Ravens defensive coordinator Rex Ryan has emerged as the new frontrunner for the New York Jets’ head coaching vacancy, a source told the Newark Star-Ledger.

According to the article, Ryan’s five-hour meeting with Jets owner Woody Johnson and G.M. Mike Tannenbaum on Sunday in Baltimore made a huge impression on the Jets’ top brass. So much so that the Jets are apparently willing to wait until after the Super Bowl if need be to potentially hire the son of fiery former NFL coach Buddy Ryan.

“Rex likes the owner,” the anonymous source with knowledge of the meeting said. “He was impressed that the owner flew down to meet with him. The Jets were very serious. I can tell you that Rex is leaning toward the Jets and the Jets are leaning toward Rex. In fact, the Jets told Rex that they’re prepared to wait until after the Super Bowl to hire him if they have to.”

Ryan also interviewed for the St. Louis Rams’ head-coach opening Sunday in Baltimore, and that meeting also went well enough that he’s a strong candidate there, too.

The article also notes that former Ravens coach Brian Billick is considered a longshot to even be interviewed by the Jets at this point.

Ryan runs a 3-4 and is the architect of the Ravens’ second-ranked defense, which has forced eight turnovers in two playoff games. The Jets wouldn’t have to change their current 3-4 defensive scheme dramatically if Ryan is their choice over New York Giants defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo, who is a 4-3 proponent.

Spagnuolo has interviewed for the job along with Jets offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer, Jets assistant head coach Bill Callahan, Stanford coach Jim Harbaugh, fired Boston College coach Jeff Jagodzinski, Arizona Cardinals assistant head coach Russ Grimm, and Indianapolis Colts defensive coordinator Ron Meeks.
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