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Ryan: Houshmandzadeh should shine as slot WR

3/26/2009

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

The Seahawks parted with one of the best slot receivers in franchise history when Bobby Engram departed this offseason. They might have gained one of the best in the league when they signed T.J. Houshmandzadeh from the Bengals.

Jets coach Rex Ryan, who faced Houshmandzadeh twice per season as the Ravens' defensive coordinator, shared his thoughts on Seattle's newest receiver Tuesday during the AFC coaches' breakfast at the NFL owners' meeting.

Ryan: "He's a great player, one of the top slot receivers in football. ... He's bigger than most slots, so he is unusual that way. It's funny. Wayne Chrebet used to be murder in the slot. You could not cover Wayne Chrebet if he was in the slot. If you put him outside, you could cover him. If you put him inside in that slot, nobody could cover him. That is kind of the way you feel about Houshmandzadeh. When he is in the slot, you can forget it. You had better have two guys on him."

Ryan's glib humor came through at the end of his commentary when he added, "I don't like his hair, but he is one of the good guys."

Ryan also described Houshmandzadeh as a solid route runner. Another head coach I spoke with on background questioned that part of Houshmandzadeh's game. Whatever the case, Houshmandzadeh has caught lots of passes consistently. I expect that to continue once he gains Matt Hasselbeck's trust by being in the right place and making the difficult catches.

As for Engram, new Chiefs coach Todd Haley singled out Engram's ability to work from the slot as one of the reasons Kansas City wanted him.