Sources indicate that Oakland Raiders defensive coordinator Rob Ryan has been told he will be fired this week, following the unit's disappointing performance in 2007, the Oakland Tribune reported.
Ryan, however, appears ready to land on his feet. According to New York-area reports, New York Jets defensive coordinator Bob Sutton
is expected to lose his job. And the Tribune reported that according to sources, Ryan will succeed Sutton in New York.
Ryan and Jets coach Eric Mangini were defensive assistants together for four seasons in New England under Bill Belichick.
Sources indicated Ryan was told before the Raiders' final game, against San Diego on Sunday, that he would not be returning in 2008, according to the Tribune. That could clear the way for coach Lane Kiffin to hire his father, Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin, as the elder Kiffin's contract with the Bucs expires at the end of their season.
The Raiders' defense was the lone bright spot in the team's dismal two-win 2006 season, and returned 11 starters for 2007. But the unit did not play up to expectations in 2007. A season after finishing third in total defense with 284.8 yards per game, the 2007 Raiders finished 22nd, giving up 341.6 yards per game, and allowed 398 points -- 66 more than in 2006.
Lane Kiffin indicated that personnel changes are pending.
"We've got to look at everything," Kiffin said, according to the Tribune. "And it really was disappointing, because I really felt that the defense was gonna be our strength. I never told the offense that, but what I felt was we were going to play great defense. There had been a lot of improvement from two years ago to last year on defense, so I thought we'd continue to build that with returning 11 guys. Unfortunately, that's not the way it worked."
After winning four games in his first season as the Raiders' coach, Kiffin is still looking to restore the luster to a franchise that has won a total of 10 games in the last three seasons and last went to the playoffs in 2002.
"We're not worried about people's feelings," Kiffin said in his postseason news conference Monday. "We're worried about winning. And, we need to start winning. ... This season was not a success. We're 4-12. We've got to get that fixed."
The Jets, meanwhile, ranked 18th in the NFL in total defense, giving up 331.9 yards per game, and allowed 355 points.
Both teams' defenses struggled against the run in 2007. The Raiders finished 31st out of 32 teams, allowing 145.9 yards per game on the ground.
The Jets weren't much better, finishing 29th against the run with 134.8 yards per game allowed.