The Baltimore Ravens promoted Greg Mattison to defensive coordinator Monday, a move designed to maintain a sense of continuity on a unit that excelled under the departed Rex Ryan.
The 59-year-old Mattison was hired as Baltimore's linebackers
coach last February. Although he has only one year of NFL
experience, Mattison was defensive coordinator at Michigan, Notre
Dame and Florida.
"Greg is a guy that I have full trust and belief in, and not
just because of his track record," Ravens coach John Harbaugh
said. "He's been successful at every stop, but the job he did this
year with our guys, I think he established himself as a premier
coach in the NFL. If you talk to our players, they'll tell you the
Mattison replaces Ryan, who served as defensive coordinator with
Baltimore for four seasons before leaving last week to become head
coach of the New York Jets.
Mattison inherits a fierce defense that ranked second in the NFL
and helped the Ravens (13-6) advance to the AFC championship game.
Mattison worked extensively with standout linebackers Ray Lewis,
Terrell Suggs and Bart Scott.
"Rex did a tremendous job of getting the most out of his
players, having them believe and trust what they're doing and to be
accountable for what they're doing," Harbaugh said. "Those are
the strengths that I've always felt Greg had as a coach."
Harbaugh considered briefly to go outside the organization to
find a replacement for Ryan, but it didn't take long for him to
realize the best move was to choose between four men who worked
under Ryan this season: Mattison, Vic Fangio, Chuck Pagano and
Fangio was promoted to linebackers coach, and special teams
coordinator Jerry Rosburg was given the additional title of
assistant head coach.
Mattison, meanwhile, intends on employing the same kind of
pressure-packed defense that Ryan deployed with uncanny success.
"I believe strongly that you have to be aggressive, that you
have to be an attacking defense," Mattison said. "Obviously
that's been the M.O. of the defense here for years. In looking at
what we do defensively, we don't plan on changing a great deal.
It's not broken by any means."
Mattison started his coaching career at the high school level in
1971 before serving as an assistant at Illinois, Cornell and
Northwestern. He met Harbaugh while serving a six-year stint at
Western Michigan from 1981-86.
Mattison then spent two years at Navy, followed by stays at
Texas A&M, Michigan, Notre Dame and Florida.
Since the Ravens came to Baltimore from Cleveland before the
1996 season, all their defensive coordinators have gone on to
become head coaches: Marvin Lewis, Mike Nolan and Ryan.