We already knew there was likely to be considerable change this offseason in both Saints' coaching and player personnel. A recent report from CBS Sports cites sources that say the relationship between Payton and Ryan has deteriorated beyond repair.
The relationship between Saints head coach Sean Payton and defensive coordinator Rob Ryan has been rapidly deteriorating this season, with it privately acknowledged within the team's headquarters that the men strongly dislike each other and a change is inevitable this offseason.
There have been several animated sideline discussions between them, including again in Monday night's defeat, and sources said that is reflection of their growing disconnect and contempt that has been obvious to many within the team for quite some time. Ryan is generally well liked within the team, but Payton demands much from his coordinators and assistants and the defense has regressed rapidly this season (albeit with injuries and personnel deficiencies clearly part of the problem as well).
Ryan helped the unit improve considerably in 2014, his first year on the job, but the results this season have been disastrous.
Some sources went so far as to use the word "hate" to describe their frayed relationship, and Payton has gone through several defensive coordinators in recent years, from Gregg Williams to Steve Spagnuolo to now Ryan. The Saints have $160M committed currently to the 2015 cap, more than any other team, and several of the higher priced veterans on that sagging defense are not expected back. The team has sunk considerable resources in the draft and free agency into bolstering the defense in recent years, with middling results at best.
Rotoworld speculates and I agree that former Saints DB coach Dennis Allen will most likely become the next Saints defensive coordinator if Ryan is indeed fired. Allen was most recently head coach of the Oakland Raiders and, before that, was the defensive coordinator for the Denver Broncos.
I just saw Sean Payton fist-bump Rob Ryan late in the Steelers game after the defense stopped a Steeler drive and took possession of the ball. People who supposedly "hate" each other don't fist-bump, so I'm calling BS on La Confora's article. Payton and Ryan may not be best buddies who hang out and drink beer after work, but it seems inaccurate to say they have a strong dislike or hate for each other.