More Ravens' camp notes - Buddy Ryan approves 46

WESTMINSTER -- The patriarch of the 46 defense was in town to inspect the Baltimore Ravens' version of the high-risk, aggressive scheme he popularized two decades ago. Buddy Ryan, who instituted the blitz-oriented 46 with Chicago Bears' defenses headlined by Hall of Fame middle linebacker Mike Singletary, stood behind perennial All-Pro middle linebacker Ray Lewis on Tuesday and experienced a case of déjà vu.

The feisty, retired NFL head coach kept nodding his head in approval. Ryan's view included a few glimpses of the blitz packages his son, first year defensive coordinator Rex Ryan, has been implementing.

"I think it's going to be an excellent defense," said Ryan, who owns a stable of horses, including a Kentucky nag named 46blitz. "I was telling the players, not only are your opponents going to respect you, they're going to fear you, and that's a heck of a plus on your side when they go out there scared."

Intimidation is at the heart of the 46 alignment Ryan loves.

The defense is built around creating pressure on the quarterback and, as Ryan is fond of saying, discovering if the backup is any good. Buddy Ryan said he frequently gets calls from Rex Ryan about the multi-faceted details of the 46 defense.

"He knows the ins and outs of it, and he'll do a good job," said Ryan, who won a Super Bowl ring with the 1985 Chicago Bears. "Sometimes, Rex will bring the X-and-O sheet with him and we'll sit down and he'll show me what he's thinking."

For Ryan, a former Philadelphia Eagles and Arizona Cardinals head coach, there's a significant amount of pride that his two sons, Rex and Rob Ryan, are both NFL defensive coordinators. Rob Ryan coaches the Oakland Raiders' defense and was an assistant coach with the New England Patriots' Super Bowl champions.

"Our family has six Super Bowl rings, and I don't think that'll ever be topped," said Ryan, who frequently plays dominoes in the offseason with his sons. "Now, we're working on some more. They were ballboys everywhere I was, but they weren't the normal kind of ballboys, playing grab-ass and all that. They were paying attention."

TRAINING ROOM: Tight end Todd Heap (ankle, shoulder), running back Musa Smith (leg), cornerback Dale Carter (bruised leg), fullback Alan Ricard (hamstring) and defensive tackle Gary Gibson (foot) didn't practice.

RESTED: Pro Bowl cornerback Chris McAlister and nickel back Deion Sanders, who turned 38 on Tuesday, were given the day off from practice. It was McAlister's first day off since camp started. For Sanders, it was his third day off.

"Chris has been going after it pretty good," Ravens coach Brian Billick said. "We've been having a rotation of guys taking a morning or afternoon off, so it seemed prudent to do that now."

Without McAlister, Sanders and Carter, Zach Norton got to play cornerback with the starting defense opposite Samari Rolle.

PERSONNEL MOVES: The Ravens signed two undrafted rookies, adding wide receiver Ronald Bellamy (Michigan) and safety B.J. Ward (Florida State). They waived former Morgan State wide receiver Tommy Manus with an injury settlement.

SHIFTED: The Ravens moved the morning practice to their indoor facility in Owings Mills because of lightning strikes in the Westminster area.

In addition to being a long time contributor to RavensInsider, Aaron Wilson writes for the Carroll County Times in Westminster Maryland.

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