But they’re not alone. Defensive linemen, linebackers - they all rave about the type of coach that Pagano is and the personal relationship that they have with the guy who was announced as the Ravens’ new defensive coordinator yesterday.
Defensive tackle Haloti Ngata, linebacker Jarret Johnson and safety Haruki Nakamura all stuck around Ravens headquarters today for Pagano’s press conference, and others provided their thoughts on Pagano’s promotion in statements released by the team.
Linebacker Ray Lewis: “I really have had a truly personal relationship with Chuck, not only from when he got here, but even before because of our ties to the “U” [University of Miami]. Even though he didn’t coach me, I have known what kind of man and coach he is for a while now. He has an extreme knowledge of the game, and the way he communicates that with his players and fellow coaches is amazing.
“You have to respect how he studies opponents and how he prepares for the task at hand each week. He is truly a pure players’ coach. He is a man’s man, and there is nothing that I wouldn’t do for him. I am excited to see what we can do as a defense and as a team leading into next season. Here we go.”
Defensive tackle Haloti Ngata: “I am really excited for Chuck and for our defense. I know he is a great fit for us. He has been around, he knows us as players, and he understands the defense well. He will set players up to succeed and let us go out and play.
“I remember earlier this year when he ran our pre-game defensive meeting. He did a tremendous job of preparation and got us really fired up for the game. I know he can do it game in and game out next year.”
Safety Ed Reed: “Chuck will do everything he can to make sure the defense is prepared for each practice and every game. The time and effort he puts in and what he will sacrifice will be more than a championship-caliber.
“I believe his best coaching quality is working with the other coaches and players around him. Just like Coach [Greg] Mattison, Chuck will get input from everyone, and that will help him be the best coordinator he can be and us be the best defense we can be.”