For the last week it was a reported lock that the Saints were signing Rob Ryan as their defensive coordinator and going through the motions of the interview process before that. Today it's now been made official. It's a really strange turn of events after Rob Ryan was signed earlier this offseason to take over the Rams' defense, replacing Gregg Williams, before ultimately having things change after he started. It was later reported Ryan wasn't comfortable running a 4-3 defense in St. Louis and decided after the fact it wasn't a good fit.
In New Orleans, he'll get to run the 3-4 with Sean Payton's blessing as the head coach had already committed to the system change based on it possibly being a better fit for the defensive talent pool already on the roster. Ryan is quite similar in a lot of ways to a coach you'll remember well: Gregg Williams. He's brash, he's emotional, he's intense and his players love him. The downside is his don't give a "F" attitude, the same attitude that alienated Williams from the rest of the staff, and stubborness. There's no doubt he can be an successful coordinator at times with good players, but I question whether or not he has that.
Ryan obviously won't run a pay for performance program, so while he's like Williams in many ways I think you can rest assured that won't be part of the similarities. Still, he's butted heads with many people during his career. Prior to being the Saints' primary defensive mind, he coached for the Raiders, Browns and Cowboys as a DC. Here's how each year went:
2004: Raiders ended 30th overall
2005: Raiders ended 27th overall
2006: Raiders ended 3rd overall
2007: Raiders ended 22nd overall
2008: Raiders ended 27th overall
2009: Browns ended 31st overall
2010: Browns ended 22nd overall
2011: Cowboys ended 14th overall
2012: Cowboys ended 19th overall
As you can see, he only had one elite defense in nine seasons as a defensive coordinator, and he's only had two I would even characterize as "above average". The rest have been mostly abysmal. Not exactly a good track record. That said, he doesn't need to make the Saints a top 10 defense. If he can get them to play 24th, that's probably good enough to put the Saints in the playoffs. Still, don't mistake this for being the best defensive mind in the league by any means.
Personally, I don't like the hire. I think he's too much like Gregg Williams, and while Williams did help the Saints win a Super Bowl and can't be regarded as a completely bad hire, Ryan doesn't come with half his track record. Ryan is a loose canon and the type of guy that I don't view coming up brilliant decisions in crucial situations. I hope I'm wrong but I don't see this working out well for the Saints. Sidenote, the Saints also brought in Stan Kwan as their assistant special teams coach.
Your thoughts on the Ryan hire?
You were totally happy with Spags hiring... Well we see what that brought us. You are not happy with Ryans hiring... I think he will do fine.
And I like him. Why? He is indeed the guy you say he is. He is a leader and someone respected by players. A bully, a loudmouth, not a nice person. But screw that, if you wanna run a defense your hobby should not be saving the panda bear from extinction (who btw totally deserve extinction, I mean if you are so stubborn you are willing to eat only ONE kind of food... die already). So what happened with Spags? He was considered soft and was not respected. At least not by the Saints players who were used to a loudmouth. That resulted in some anonymous player going to the media to talk about him. That was not a reason to fire Spags, but it was a clear sign he should be fired. Not the man for the job.
Is Ryan? Yes! You need a guy that is respected. And frankly I respect him. Why? He is the only defensive coordinator next to Dick Lebeau whose name I know. I do not know the Ravens DC? Maybe if you mention him to me I will know him. I have no idea what some headcoaches look like. Just because they work for the Jaguars who I have no interest in seeing play.
I hate the cowboys, but If I know this guy it means he is well known. There is no need to shake hands and introduce yourself when your name is Ryan. You command respect!
Only name I would have liked more was Lovie Smith. But he apparently was not interested. I guess he would rather have the Cowboys Head Coaching position.
I posted on Ryan being of the market when he signed the same day with the Rams as Spags was fired. I remembered saying something like: I don't know if he is the best guy out there but he would have been on the market if Goodell had reinstated Payton earlier.
My reservations were on his character. I like well liked guys better then bullies. But then again, there is no well liked guy more high profile out there available. So good thing he got a call from Payton saying to him: "If you can back out of this deal... you are our man"