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Rob Ryan: Background Check

Taking a look at the history of the Saints' newest defensive coordinator and his potential future with the his new team.

Ronald Martinez

First of all, I would like to give a warm welcome from the Who Dat Nation to Rob Ryan. Speaking on behalf of all of us, we as fans trust that he will pick our team's woeful defense up and bring them to the top.

Rob Ryan began his coaching career at the relatively young age of 25 as an assistant for Western Kentucky in 1987, and then for Ohio State in 1988. After being a Buckeye, Ryan moved to Tennessee State, where he spent 5 years. While there, he spent time as the running backs coach, wide receiver coach, and defensive line coach.

In 1994, Rob had his debut coaching gig in the NFL as a defensive backs coach under his father, Buddy Ryan, for the Arizona Cardinals. The team only finished 8-8, but the defense was top tier, finishing second in total defense, second in run defense, and third in passing defense. In 1995, the Cardinals led the league in takeaways (42) and interceptions (32).

1996 brought change for Ryan. He moved up in the coaching ranks to defensive coordinator for Hutchinson Community College. He only spent one year there, but it was a good one. His defense led the nation in total defense, sacks, and set a record for most turnovers in a season.

Rob spent 1997-1999 with Oklahoma State. In his debut season with the Cowboys, Ryan was named Coordinator of the Year by The Sporting News. His defenses over the three year span were consistently in the top 20 of the nation, and he helped make great improvements.

In 2000, Rob Ryan got back into the NFL as the linebackers coach for the New England Patriots. Rob helped coach the Pats to two Super Bowl victories and his unit contributed to a top defense once again.

Since 2004, Rob Ryan has been the defensive coordinator for three mediocre units (2004-2008 with the Raiders, 2009-2010 with the Browns, and 2011-2012 with the Cowboys). His defenses weren't terrible, but they weren't anything special either.

In 2013, Ryan looks to change his and the Saints' defensive ways. No defense led by Rob Ryan has ever made the playoffs, and last season the Saints had the statistically worst defense in NFL history.

I love this move for the Saints. I certainly would have enjoyed the team getting Romeo Crennel more, but I knew it would have been a long shot. Ryan will bring two things that the Saints missed last year: fire and excitement. Rob is widely known for being an outspoken guy and I think that will help the Saints tremendously. It seemed like there was no excitement from any of the players last year and that is definitely going to change.

Looking at Rob's numbers, you might not be too ecstatic about what is to come. But if you remember, the Saints had their best defense in this era under a fiery coordinator named Gregg Williams. Those defenses were consistently getting hard hits (not bounties) and creating turnovers. That is all that this team needs. They don't need to be the best in the league because that isn't their modus operandi.

If Rob brings the same aura to the Saints' defense that he has had in the past, I think they will be just fine. I don't know about you guys, but this just gets me even more excited for the 2013 season.