Former Saints defensive coordinator Rob Ryan has finally broken his silence about his time here in New Orleans. In an interview with Sports Illustrated's Jenny Vrentas, he opens up about why his defense was a failure during his last two years. In no uncertain terms, Ryan blames Sean Payton and the front office for making poor roster and scheme decisions, and himself for just keeping his mouth shut and accepting it.
None of this is really surprising, at least not to me. But it's certainly interesting to hear Ryan talk about it so openly.
Below are all the juicy quotes from Ryan that Who Dat Nation will be talking about this weekend:
I think everything starts with the head coach and goes higher than that. They signed players; they signed a free-agent free safety [Jairus Byrd in 2014], and said, we are going to keep him in the middle of the field like the goalpost. Well, that’s great. He’s not going to make one play back there, and now we have changed the entire defense for one signing, and it ruined us. He’s a great kid. But the truth of the matter is, you let an All-Pro safety walk, Malcolm Jenkins, and lost your two best leaders on the team, him and Roman Harper. We changed the entire style of play. It was strange. But hey, I did the best job I could. And it wasn’t good enough. They should have fired me. They probably should have fired everybody that made that decision to go in that direction. Now I’m going to move my whole family over here to Buffalo for a reason: to go kick everybody’s ass, including theirs.
I need to be in a multiple system. I was hired to be in a multiple system in New Orleans, and I did a damn good job and got fired for it. I am more hungry now than I have ever been. So I wanted to go with the right guy. And the right guy is someone I have 100 percent trust in and 100 percent faith in.
I have coordinated in college and in the pros. And the biggest history of improvement ever in the league, I coordinated that defense [the 2013 Saints]. The defenses I have taken over were ranked, like, 31st. Oh, “my numbers aren’t too good.” You take over the 31st group and see how you do. And you’re given about two years to do it. There are two years that don’t have my signature on them, and it’s the last two years in New Orleans. And that’s just the truth.
No, I’m not going to say I was “forced.” I advanced the plan to the best of my ability. All of a sudden, we let some good players go; we changed the system after we finished fourth in the league in defense. I don’t know, it just seems strange to me ... Everyone wants to run Seattle’s defense. They should have hired a Seattle coach. I did the best job I could. Under the circumstances, trust me, I did the best job I could. I’ll be better anywhere else.
I am not going to sit on my hands, like I did in New Orleans. The biggest mistake I think I made in New Orleans was sitting on my hands and collecting a paycheck, instead of going in, knowing it was wrong and fixing it. When we wanted to change the philosophy of the defense, I should have…
I should have been a d--- like everybody else would have been. That’s the truth. Instead, I tried to toe the company line: I’ll do it, I’ll advance it, I’ll slow the plan down because we’ve got new players here. But that’s not what I believe. That’s not who I am. Hey, I did it to myself, too.