Who could replace Rex Ryan in Baltimore?

OWINGS MILLS -- Rex Ryan is on deck to meet with the San Diego Chargers' brass today regarding their head coaching vacancy. Despite inclement weather, the Baltimore Ravens' defensive coordinator traveled to the West Coast on Wednesday and is scheduled to interview today with Chargers general manager A.J. Smith and team president Dean Spanos.

Ryan would be the second candidate to interview for the position following San Francisco 49ers assistant head coach and linebackers coach Mike Singletary, the Hall of Fame middle linebacker and former Ravens linebackers coach who met with Chargers team officials on Wednesday.
"I hope we don't lose Rex as our coach, but he deserves this opportunity," Pro Bowl linebacker Bart Scott said in a telephone interview from Las Vegas. "Rex is a players' coach and he would be successful anywhere as a head coach. I just hope we can keep him, but you never want to stand in the way of anyone's dream."
No time table has been set to fill the San Diego job for which the team is also expected to consider multiple other candidates including 49ers offensive coordinator Norv Turner, Chicago Bears defensive coordinator Ron Rivera, Atlanta Falcons defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer and Seattle Seahawks assistant head coach Jim Mora Jr. among others. There has been heavy speculation about USC coach Pete Carroll.
Meanwhile, contingency plans are already being plotted if Ryan is hired to replace fired San Diego coach Marty Schottenheimer.
Former Ravens secondary coach Donnie Henderson, who was fired by the Detroit Lions after one season as their defensive coordinator due to philosophical differences with coach Rod Marinelli, could emerge as a strong candidate as a defensive coordinator in either Baltimore or San Diego if Ryan gets the job. Henderson could either become Ryan's defensive coordinator in San Diego, or his replacement with the Ravens.
The Ravens' potential in-house candidates to replace Ryan includes linebackers coach Jeff FitzGerald, who coached four linebackers to Pro Bowl recognition this season, and consultant Vic Fangio.
Fangio has significant experience as a defensive coordinator, a post he held most recently with the Houston Texans. He was fired after a 2-14 season in 2005 where the Texans finished 31st in the league in total defense, 32nd against the run and 32nd in forcing turnovers.
Fangio has also been a coordinator with the Indianapolis Colts, Carolina Panthers, New Orleans Saints and with the Philadelphia/Baltimore Stars in the USFL.
The three candidates couldn't be much more different.
Fangio, who drew praise from Ravens coach Brian Billick for his meticulous attention to detail, is regarded as a cerebral coach with an intellectual nature. He's highly versed in Xs and Os, but has a low-key personality.
Henderson is a fiery motivator whose tough love approach pushes players to their limits. He was able to get enigmatic cornerback Chris McAlister to perform at a high level when he was coaching the Ravens' defensive backs. Henderson has a previous successful stint as a coordinator with the New York Jets in 2005.
FitzGerald is a high-energy individual who's in constant motion while coaching the linebackers, dashing onto the field during practices between snaps to praise, give pointers and make corrections. He's respected highly by his players, drawing high praise from Scott.
"Coach Fitz is a good person who works extremely hard," Scott said. "I think he would be a great fit if Rex was to leave, but that decision isn't up to me."
Aaron Wilson covers the Baltimore Ravens for the Carroll County Times in Westminster, Maryland.

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