The big question right now on the mind of everyone who follows the Saints is whether or not defensive coordinator Rob Ryan will be back for a third season in 2015. But at the season-ending press conference, head coach Sean Payton refused to say anything regarding the future of his defensive coordinator.
And that, my friends, actually says a lot.
Here's Payton's exact quote yesterday during his opening remarks:
"Anything we do from a personnel standpoint involving players, or from a coaching standpoint involving coaches, will be announced and talked about at the appropriate time. Today would not be the day to do that."
First of all, yesterday would definitely have been the day to discuss whether a coach is being fired. If there ever was a day to discuss the job security of an NFL coach, it's the Monday after the final regular season games are played, known in the NFL as "Black Monday" because historically that's when most teams fires their coaches. Three coaches and two GMs were fired yesterday. Of all 365 days in the year, there isn't a more appropriate day on the calender to have that discussion. Payton is clearly dodging the question he knows everyone is about to ask.
After a follow-up question from our friend Larry Holder, Payton again avoided discussing the future of Rob Ryan.
"Now's not the time for us to discuss a player, a coach, or his future. It's not. With that being said, you really can't take my answer as such and draw a conclusion from it. Does that make sense?"
What doesn't make sense, if he was sure of keeping Ryan on board another year, is why Payton wouldn't throw his full support behind his defensive coordinator. And because he doesn't unequivocally back Rob Ryan, it's damn near impossible for us not to draw our own conclusions, as much as Payton would like us to forget and steer the conversation in the opposite direction. Look away, nothing to see here!
If Payton was definitely planning to keep Rob Ryan for another year, why not just say that? Why not put any and all speculation from idiots like myself to bed? Why not give your defensive coordinator a public vote of confidence? I can't think of any good reason, other than just as a pure mind f**k. What if the same question were asked about Drew Brees? You can bet your butt Payton would scoff at even the notion of a future without Brees.
As someone who would like to see Ryan in 2015, I don't like the sound of this. Ryan's job is certainly not safe at this point. Best case scenario, it sounds very much like Payton still has a decision to make. Or wants it to appear that way at least.