The New Orleans Saints have hired Rob Ryan as their new defensive coordinator, according to a report by Larry Holder of The Times-Picayune. Earlier reports had Ryan assuming the same position under Jeff Fisher in St. Louis, but those reports ended up being misguided.
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Misguiding anyone isn't in the blunt and brash Ryan's nature after being fired by the Cowboys in a season that saw a defense fall to 19th overall -- from 14th the previous year, his first with the Cowboys.
Ryan quipped after his termination Jan. 9 he would be out of work "for like five minutes."
The twin brother of Jets head coach Rex Ryan, neither have been short of attention-grabbing statements, if even for a middling level of success recently. Rob Ryan failed to bring the Cowboys to defensive prominence as many expected when he was hired in 2011, coming off successful stints with Oakland and Cleveland.
He inherits a train wreck in New Orleans. The Saints are coming off a season in which they allowed a league-record 7,042 yards, the highest total ever in the NFL. Their 440.1 yards allowed is also the highest of all time, besting the 1981 Colts by 16 yards a game.
Much of the trouble associated with their sagging defense is attributed to the team still reeling from the Bountygate scandal that cost former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams his job. Incidentally, Williams was hired as the Rams defensive coordinator in 2012 -- the team that passed on Ryan in January.
The question now is whether the Saints will ditch their 4-3 defensive scheme in favor of Ryan's 3-4 approach. Such tactics have shown quick turnarounds for porous defenses like Green Bay from 2008 to 2009, but whether key positions like a two-gap 0-technique nose tackle and a pass-rushing outside linebacker can be found quickly remains to be seen.
The Packers drafted NT B.J. Raji with the ninth overall pick, then traded back into the first round to take Clay Matthews with the 26th overall pick. The Saints don't appear to have either of those kinds of players under contract now, so expect mock drafts to change quite a bit in wake of Ryan's hire.
New Orleans drafts at 15 in the first round and forfeits its second-round pick due to the Bountygate scandal.