One of this hottest topics being debated on this site and around the NFL is how good of coach Rob Ryan actually is. Some say he's a great coach, some aren't sold yet. This is absolutely where I think the saying "A coach is only as good as his players" fits. Let's compare the talent that his twin brother Rex worked with during his time as defensive coordinator of the Ravens.
Obviously the first player you think of is Ray Lewis, who will go down as a top 10, heck maybe top five inside linebacker of all time. Then there is Ed Reed, who when he's healthy is as good a Safety as any. He also worked with such players as Terrell Suggs, Haloti Ngata and Chris McCalister. Those players would make just about any coach look good.
Rob, on the other hand, has really only had one constantly great player, Nnamdi Asomugha. Yes, he has worked with players like Michael Huff and Shaun Rogers, but he had a couple of times where he had to bench those players because they did not play up to their abilities every play. Every professional athlete has ability, but some like Peyton Manning, Ray Lewis, DeMarcus Ware, and Michael Vick have been given freakish ability. Some like Tom Brady, at the time he was drafted, and how can I forget Emmitt Smith were not so blessed. The key to being great is not just having ability it's about having the drive to be great and maximize whatever talent, freakish or not, one has been given.
DeMarcus Ware - neither Ryan brother has never had a really dominant pass rusher like Ware - showed that drive to be great last year when he with little to no help led the league in sacks. Jay Ratliff, who is playing out of position, never makes a big deal out of that fact and plays his butt off on every play.
The hiring of Rob Ryan, just like the hiring of a lot of the other coaches, was done for two reasons. The first one is obvious to fix the defense. The second reason may be more important, the fact he is not afraid to hold his players, whether it's the best player on the team or the worst player on the team, accountable. I can't gaurantee that the defense will be the vaunted Doomsday Defense we have had in the past, but I can gaurantee that if any of the players, starting with DeMarcus Ware down to Igor Olshansky, does not give all out effort on every play he is in the game, Rob Ryan will not be afraid to sit his butt on the bench despite what it might to the defense.