Rex Ryan has had a bizarre offseason. He is in the hunt for multiple head coaching positions (like the San Francisco 49ers and the Buffalo Bills); it appears, however, that his engagement with teams might only be to drum up interest from the media. By talking with other teams, he might get a better deal as a broadcaster should some company like ESPN want to hire him. Either way, he is scheduled to interview with the 49ers on Sunday.
Well, we can add another twist to this saga: Ryan and Vic Fangio, who is another candidate for the 49ers' head coaching position, worked together with the Ravens.
Note: Vic Fangio, who interviewed with #49ers today, and Rex Ryan worked together with #Ravens. Heard Ryan helped Fangio loosen up a little.— Eric Branch (@Eric_Branch) December 31, 2014
Additionally, back in 2010, when the 49ers and the Jets played each other, Ryan said some nice things about the 49ers' defense. Apparently, the Jets would color-code the names of the best players on the opposing team leading up to the game; players who are at an all-star level received a blue shading. Ryan, in discussing the 49ers' defense, noted that it had seven blue players and a "blue coach in Vic Fangio."
This, of course, has some implications for how things might shake out should Ryan come on board. If the 49ers can convince Ryan to shun the media machine (and the money that would come along with it), Ryan would likely want to set up his own defense, one that has traditionally relied on shutdown corners. In that case, would he want to keep Fangio around? I think it would be tough for any coach to give Fangio the boot, especially after seeing what he did this last season without some of the defense's best players. And, if the two are close, then it becomes even more likely that Ryan would want Fangio around.
Yet, why would the 49ers hire Ryan if Fangio would stick around anyway? I have a hard time believing that the 49ers would chose a defensive coach over Fangio, especially if Fangio expresses a willingness to stick around. Ryan has the experience, obviously (whether or not his experience with the Jets warrants him the job is another matter), but I don't think he offers much else which Fangio doesn't already offer.