Meridian Star

May 24, 2013

Saints' Rob Ryan Ready for defensive challenges

The Associated Press
The Meridian Star

METAIRIE, La. -- — Rob Ryan walked slowly Thursday afternoon until he reached the middle of a cluster of reporters, eager to hear his first comments since being named Saints defensive coordinator in February.

    Once there, the man known as much for his personality as his passion for defensive schemes extended his first gag.

    "No questions," Ryan said before taking a step away from about three dozen microphones. Just as fast, he turned around, smiling and showcasing perhaps the best coach curls in the NFL, earning laughs. Ryan then glanced at several television cameras and newspaper reporters surrounding him in a semi-circle.

    "Who Dat Nation, huh?"

    Not that Ryan is all jokes.

    The man who said last offseason that he'd have a new defensive coordinator job "in like five minutes" after being let go from Dallas, had to wait much longer than his infamous quip predicted, something that moving forward, has motivated him.

    "I don't like getting fired," he said, setting up a punch line which made fun of comments. "I know I had a job in five minutes, so it's no big deal. But, I know I got my feelings hurt, and I'm looking to do something about it."

    So did the Saints defense he's now in charge of.

    The unit is coming off one of the worst performances by a unit in NFL history, a performance which has already cost Steve Spagnuolo his job after one season.

    The Saints allowed a league-record 7,042 yards of total offense in 2012, the result of being unable to administer Spagnuolo's 4-3 scheme.

    It's now Ryan's job, whose defense will switch to a 3-4 scheme.

    "I like his passion," coach Sean Payton said. "He's someone that I spent a lot of time researching and arriving at that decision (to hire Ryan).

    "I like the way the players respond. I think he's a perfect fit for what we're looking for."