PFT- “For me, and I’ll speak for myself on this, I have an extra hunger,” Rob Ryan said. “I have always been a guy who is going to work my tail off, and I think I have always advanced the head coach’s plan. But at the end of the day, the last two years in New Orleans were a waste of time for me. I want to give everything I have to a team that I want to be a part of, with a head coach I want to be a part of. Not only is Rex a great head coach, but he is also a great defensive coach. He’s going to be the best coach that I can work for, anytime. And I have worked for Belichick, who is the best head coach in football, in the history of the game. But we’re going to beat him, and we’re going to beat him together. And it’s going to be an awesome challenge. I need to be in a multiple system. I was hired to be in a multiple system in New Orleans, and I did a damn good job and got fired for it. I am more hungry now than I have ever been. So I wanted to go with the right guy. And the right guy is someone I have 100 percent trust in and 100 percent faith in.”
Rob Ryan’s defense of his time with the Saints centers on a 2014 move to make the defense more like the one the Seahawks have been running in recent years. He said signing safety Jairus Byrd “ruined us” and that all teams running a variation of the Seattle defense have been “s—ty” while his biggest mistake was sitting on his hands and letting it happen.
This may shock some people, but I actually agree. Rob Ryan did do a damn good job in New Orleans. He took a defense that was one of the worst of all time in 2012, and had them ranked in the top ten - in multiple categories - for the majority of 2013. Without too many personnel changes he transformed a lost defensive unit into one that was consistently capable of getting off the field quickly and giving the ball back to an offense that wasn't as potent as it was in year's past. You can make an argument that - outside of the Super Bowl winning season - Rob Ryan's first season with the Saints featured the best defense they have ever fielded under Sean Payton. That guy undoubtedly deserved to keep his job.
The guy that looked like a slightly fatter version of Rob Ryan the past two seasons? No one has ever deserved to be fired more. I don't know what he did with the real Rob Ryan, but he certainly ruined his reputation. That guy took a revamped defense and somehow made it exponentially worse than it was before his likeness arrived. That guy didn't just set the Saints defense back to square one, he had the Saints defense hiding behind square one as each and every team moved the ball on them at will. That guy led a defense that EASILY set the record for most touchdown passes allowed in the HISTORY of football. To say that guy did a good job would be just as factual as saying that his post-termination Hurricane Katrina joke was appropriate.
Now I know everyone whose contract gets prematurely executed loves revisionist history. That's why I will give Rob Ryan a pass for saying that Jairus Byrd - whose turned out to be a piss poor addition - ruined the Saints. That's all too convenient to claim now that he - in part - cost him his job, but it didn't ring too true when Rob Ryan was worshipping the ground he walked on upon his arrival. Was a change in defensive strategy forced upon him? Maybe. Wouldn't surprise me with a control freak like Sean Payton at the helm. That said, a defensive coordinator still has a significant say in how a defense in run, and Rob Ryan ran the Saints right into the ground. That first year was nice and all, but "damn good job" went out the window out 45 touchdown passes ago.