LBS- Bears defensive lineman Akiem Hicks, who played for the Saints under Ryan from 2013 through 2015, believes that Ryan was telling the truth when he claimed that he wasn’t allowed to run his own defense during his final two seasons as Saints defensive coordinator.
“Not to talk about New Orleans for the rest of this interview, but as a player in that system, you can see when power is taken away from a guy,” Hicks said Wednesday, via ESPN’s Mike Triplett. “It was evident in that situation and you saw what the turnout was because of it.
“I didn’t see the interview, but I do know this: I’ll forever and always have a lot of love for Rob Ryan, just because there’s nobody that’s going to shoot you straighter. He’s going to tell you how it is, he’s going to tell you how he feels, and you’re always going to understand his perspective on things, and I feel like that was taken away.”
So the once promising young player that flamed out and eventually got himself shipped out of town for nothing more than a 3rd string tight end is backing the defensive coordinator that was also unceremoniously let go after failing to meet expectations? Didn't see that coming. Let's be honest though, this one is obviously on Sean Payton. He clearly values control so much that he will risk anything - including wins - to have it. I mean, why else would he take over some of the power on the defensive side of the ball when the Saints started out the season playing such stellar defense for the second year in a row? He just had so little respect for Rob Ryan that he risked both their reputations to institute some changes into a backline that was basically impenetrable at the time. You know who else I feel bad for here? Akiem Hicks. How could he possibly produce when his favoritest coach ever - Rob Ryan - didn't have complete control of the play calls? Sean Payton basically cut off both guys at the knee when they were doing such a sufficient job fulfilling their responsibilities to a Saints defense that began last season putting up as much of a fight as the fence around the gorilla pit at the Cincinnati Zoo.
Can we clear something up since Rob Ryan always likes to try to muddy the waters with wordplay after he gets canned? The guy has never been all that good at his job. Sans his first year in New Orleans, Rob Ryan has been in charge of some pretty average units. That's evidenced by his inability to stay in one place for more than a couple years without having to look for new employment. Great coordinators don't move around as much as Rob Ryan has unless they are getting offered promotions, and it's safe to that wasn't the case here. Sean Payton has a Super Bowl ring and is one of the longest tenured head coaches in all of football. I think I am going to play the odds on this and take his word over the word of a mediocre defensive mind and a now journeyman defensive tackle.