Jim Ryan knows Rob Ryan pretty well, after all, the two are brothers, sons of Buddy Ryan who was Jeff Fisher's NFL coaching mentor. Rob Ryan and the Rams are the perfect match, says Jim, because a shared emphasis on aggressiveness.
Ryan's attacking defenses will matter far more than the schematics of 4-3 and 3-4. Besides, the Rams aren't moving to a 3-4 defense. It's Jeff Fisher's defense, after all, Ryan is just there to manage it.
Aggressiveness goes beyond sacks and sending safeties to blitz the quarterback. The term describes the entire franchise over the last year. It started by firing an incumbent coaching staff and general manager, then courting, and eventually landing, the biggest head coaching fish in the sea. They traded away the second overall pick in the draft, a bold move because of who it might have landed. Instead, they got a boatload of top draft choices just as the NFL salary cap goes flat for a few years. The players they drafted fall into that category too.
It was the same on the field. The offense got better (though still has a long way to go) by taking the training wheels off and throwing the ball down the field. Fisher and Co. elevated a pair of rookies to help carry the secondary, and the defense tied for the NFL lead in sacks.
7-8-1 was a better record than most of us would have predicted last August, even at the height of enthusiasm. The season's over, and the next one is still pretty far over the horizon. Nevertheless, the Rams stayed aggressive, moving to bring in Ryan to lead the defense.
It's a pretty good time to be a Rams fan ... finally.
Patty has more from the Jim Ryan interview at The Pigskin Arch.