Mattison Steps Up to Def. Coordinator

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The Ravens officially announced Monday that Greg Mattison will succeed Rex Ryan as defensive coordinator.

In addition, special teams coordinator Jerry Rosburg received the title of assistant head coach and former special assistant to the head coach Vic Fangio will now tutor the linebackers.

Mattison, 59, just completed his first year of coaching at the professional level, but Baltimore's former linebackers coach has a long record of success in the collegiate ranks. Mattison has 11 years of defensive coordinator experience at the University of Michigan, Notre Dame and the University of Florida.

During that span, he has coached 18 eventual NFL players, including seven that were drafted in the first three rounds.

It was considered a coup for Ravens head coach John Harbaugh to lure Mattison to Baltimore, but a bond created when Mattison served as linebackers coach and defensive coordinator at Western Michigan under Harbaugh's father, Jack, from 1981-86 proved to be persuasive.

"When we persuaded Greg Mattison to join us a year ago, we talked about what a special coach he is," said Harbaugh. "He has been a successful defensive coordinator at the highest levels of college and he will succeed with us as our new defensive coordinator."

The younger Harbaugh even served as an assistant for three years on that Western Michigan along with Mattison.

"I wouldn't be here today if John Harbaugh wasn't the head football coach," Mattison added. "I really believed in my heart that he was going to do what it took. That kind of thing and that kind of trust is what makes you as an assistant try to do everything you can to help him be successful and help the program be successful. If you don't have that, you have a problem in your staff and in the program."

Mattison's success at some of the most productive NCAA programs translated to the NFL, where he schooled what was arguably the best linebacking corps in the league.

Three of the Ravens' four starters topped 100 tackles, as Ray Lewis (160), Bart Scott (104) and Terrell Suggs (102) all hit the mark. Jarret Johnson, the fourth starter, tallied 82 stops.

In addition, Lewis and Suggs both garnered Pro Bowl honors.

Last week, Harbaugh said he would replace Ryan from within, which is as much of a nod to the staff he has on hand as it is to Baltimore's traditional style of an aggressive defense.

"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.

"That won't change one bit. My job as a defensive coordinator is to keep that going and keep them knowing what it takes to play at that level and to keep them believing it's their defense."

But he has big shoes to fill in the departure of Ryan, who was hired last week as head coach of the New York Jets.

With Ryan as coordinator from 2004-08, the Ravens have never finished worse than sixth in total yards allowed. Baltimore was second this season behind the Super Bowl-contending Pittsburgh Steelers, but the Ravens did force 34 takeaways, tops in the NFL.

Ryan became the third Ravens defensive coordinator to take over a team, as he was preceded by former San Francisco 49ers head coach Mike Nolan and current Cincinnati Bengals leader Marvin Lewis.

"Rex did a tremendous job of getting the most out of his players and having them believe and trust in what they're doing, be accountable for what they're doing," Harbaugh noted. "And, those are the strengths that I've always felt that Greg had as a coach.

"I think our defense will evolve in that way, just like we have in the past here."

Meanwhile, Rosburg's new title is similar to the one Ryan held in 2008 that helped him land with the Jets.

Fangio, 50, has coordinated defenses for the Carolina Panthers, Indianapolis Colts and Houston Texans.

As special assistant to the head coach, he broke down future opponents to devise a beginning strategy that he would then present to Harbaugh, Ryan and offensive coordinator Cam Cameron.

Now, he will coach both inside and outside linebacker positions, with some assistance from Mattison.

"He's the right man for that job [coaching the linebackers]," Harbaugh said of Fangio. "Plus, he'll continue to help us with his special abilities to prepare for the next opponents."

Maintaining continuity was critical for Harbaugh. Many analysts have commented that Harbaugh has assembled one of the NFL's best staffs.

Defensively, Mattison may have become the coordinator, but he is backed by many talented coaches.

Harbaugh cited defensive line coach Clarence Brooks and secondary coaches Mark Carrier and Chuck Pagano for their efforts in solidifying a unit that was ravaged by injuries all year.

"Look what Clarence did with his group last season," Harbaugh said. "For that matter, look at how his players have developed and produced for the Ravens for the last 4 seasons.

"When you look at the players we lost through injuries in the secondary and how other players stepped up to complete our defense, you see the superb job done by Chuck and Mark with our defensive backs."

The Ravens also lost outside linebackers coach Mike Pettine last week when he joined Ryan in New York as his defensive coordinator. Pettine was instrumental in developing Baltimore's versatile cadre of outside linebackers that could both rush the passer and drop in coverage.

But while it seems that Pettine's position will essentially be eliminated, Harbaugh remained vague regarding any other potential coaching moves.

That includes quarterbacks coach Hue Jackson, who interviewed for the San Francisco 49ers' open offensive coordinator job, according to multiple reports.

"[There is] nothing that we'd want to announce," Harbaugh said. "But there are some people who have had some inquiries. We want to hold our staff together as much as we can, but at the same time, we don't want to hold people back unfairly from opportunities. We'll just have to see how it goes in the next couple of days.

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