Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Graham
When Rex Ryan joined the Baltimore Ravens in 1999, he was trying to prove he belonged in the NFL.
His previous shot was tainted by assumptions of nepotism. His father, Buddy Ryan, hired twin sons Rex and Rob Ryan as assistants with the Arizona Cardinals in 1996. The staff was dismissed two years later with a record of 12-20.
Rex Ryan drifted to the University of Cincinnati and then to Oklahoma University before he obtained his next NFL opportunity, this time on his own.
He made it count -- and then some. Ryan will be introduced Wednesday as the next New York Jets head coach.
What the Ravens accomplished during Ryan's tenure was nothing short of sensational.
He began as the defensive line coach under coordinator Marvin Lewis and also worked three years under coordinator Mike Nolan -- both future head coaches -- before the Ravens promoted him in 2005.
From the time Ryan joined the Ravens, they have ranked at or near the top in every major team defensive stat: first in points allowed per game, second in total defense (behind the Pittsburgh Steelers by one-tenth of a yard), first in rushing yards allowed, first in takeaways, first in interceptions, first in shutouts, fourth in sacks and first in third-down conversions.
The hallmark of Ryan's defense was its ability to shut down opposing runners. Since he became D-line coach they've allowed a 100-yard rusher only 18 times.
The Ravens hold the longest active streak of games without allowing a 100-yard rusher. They have done so 35 straight times, the last being Larry Johnson in December of 2006.
Over Baltimore's past 52 games, only two running backs have hit triple digits.