Mike Ditka talks about where Ray Lewis ranks as an all-time linebacker
NEW ORLEANS -- Ted Monachino is going to be in demand when the Super Bowl is over.
A Ravens linebacker coach since 2010, Monachino has been mentioned as a candidate for the defensive coordinator position with the Philadelphia Eagles.
“It has absolutely no effect. I have heard about it. You can’t help but hear about it,” sad Monachino. “I know nothing about the situation in Philadelphia. It’s flattering to hear but I’m not aware of anything that’s going on officially. Our club hasn't been contacted. Neither have I.”
The Ravens play the San Francisco 49ers in the Superdome on Sunday. After the game, interested teams are allowed to contact Baltimore to request an interview.
The linebackers have been hit with injuries all season: Ray Lewis (10 lost games), Terrell Suggs (7), Jameel McClain (6), Dannell Ellerbe (3), Albert McClellan (2) and Paul Kruger (1).
Ellerbe is playing with a bulging disk in his back that almost kept him out of the AFC title win vs. the New England Patriots.
“It’s a great testament to our scouting staff and (general manager) Ozzie Newsome and the type of people we have on our football team. Smart, tough football players are hard to find,” Monachino said. “We've got a surplus of them. The biggest challenge trying to get the group to get ready to play each week was just knowing early enough in the week who was going to have to go in there and do it.
“The guys who took the bit and ran with it did a great job. We have good depth at most spots, at inside and outside linebacker. Those guys are great pros but they prepared like they were going to play ever week anyway.”
Lewis tore is triceps in Week 6 and didn't return until the playoffs. Kruger didn't miss a lot of action but he was limited in what he could do. He only had 1.5 sacks through the first eight games, but he came on in the second half to finish with a career-high 9.5 sacks.
McClain was lost in Week 14 with a spinal contusion and was placed on injured reserve. Ellerbe's ankle gave out and the Ravens had to resort to using Josh Bynes, a second-year player who began the season on the practice squad, in the starting lineup. They went 0-3 in those games.
That led to more defensive snaps for Brendon Ayanbadejo, too. Along with Bynes, he had to do more double-duty because both are key special-teamers.
“Brendon's played a lot of good football. So has Josh. He’s just a young guy that’s coming into his own figuring out where is the best spot for him. Is it mike (middle linebacker)? Is it will (weakside)? … When you have smart guys, the whole next-man-up theory makes a big difference.”