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Posted by Kevin Bowen on October 11, 2012 – 11:00 am

During the 2007 and 2008 seasons, Bruce Arians and Rex Ryan went head-to-head five times as the Steelers took four-of-five games from the Ravens.

As coordinators on their respective teams, Arians’ and Ryan’s units faced each other in battles that certainly won’t have the same spotlight that the two are facing this weekend.

Under different circumstances, the two will once again cross paths on Sunday and the respect for each other hasn’t gone unnoticed.

“Tremendous coach, absolutely,” Ryan said of Arians. “We’ve had some good (games), a couple of championship games. He really is a tremendous coach. So I’m not surprised how effective that offense is.”

The Steelers won all three contests against the Ravens during the 2008 season, including capturing the 2009 AFC Championship in route to winning Super Bowl XLIII.

Following that AFC Championship game, Ryan left for the New York Jets head coaching position but his defensive mindset hasn’t changed according to Arians.

“Rex and I have been going at each other for so long,” Arians said. “Probably the guy I respect as much in this league as anybody is Rex, having battled against him and we’ve had some great ones. He’s an innovative guy, but he’s tough, physical, plays the game the way it’s supposed to be played.”

In Ryan’s final season in Baltimore, his secondary coach was Chuck Pagano. The Ryan family is very close to the Pagano’s as was evident by Rex’s brother Rob, the Cowboys defensive coordinator, displaying a message of ‘Get well Pags’ on his play-call sheet during Dallas’ Monday night game on Oct. 2.

Ryan said he has been able to reach out to Pagano and will definitely miss seeing his good friend on Sunday.

“I’ll tell you what, he’s outstanding as a coach, he’s smart, his guys were always prepared, he has great ideas, creative. I love Chuck. He’s a tremendous guy,” Ryan said.

“My brother coached with Chuck when he was in Oakland and obviously you look at his situation, his brother coaches and all that so we’re similar that way. He was just a terrific football coach. As you guys know, he’s as good a person and a better person than he is a coach and he is a great coach.”



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