Rob Ryan has built his name and reputation in the NFL as being a hard-nosed defensive minded coach that brings out the ideal level of consistency from his players, much like his father Buddy Ryan and twin brother Rex, who is currently the head coach of the Buffalo Bills. Upon his first season in New Orleans back in 2013, Ryan helped the Saints have the 4th ranked defense in the NFL, not bad for a team that already had a surging offense.
The wheels fell off somewhat quick as the Saints followed that up by being ranked 31st on defense for the 2014 season. New Orleans made some drastic changes during the offseason, trading away, waiving and not re-signing superstar talent. Whether the blame should be shifted to the head coach or front office, Rob Ryan was the one first one to bare the brunt of the Saints woes, having been fired by the franchise in the middle of the season.
I’m disappointed for Rob it didn’t work out. He’s a fantastic staff guy. He’s a guy that was respected greatly, not only in the locker room but by his peers. We just had to at some point look closely (at making a change) because the direction we were going wasn’t good. We really struggled with substitutions, getting lined up, getting our guys the defensive call and being able to function.
After the teams 47-14 loss to the Washington Redskins, a game which saw skins QB Kirk Cousins tally up the best outing of his career throwing for 324 yards, 4 TDs and producing a perfect QB rating of 158.3, the writing was on the wall. Head coach Sean Payton was asked during the post game press conference whether or not Ryan would be let go and he denied that claim, only to make the announcement of his firing the following night.
Outside of giving up the most total yards on defense this year, the Saints also hold the dubious honor of having several opposing quarterbacks have their best games of the season/careers against them in 2015. Though the Saints emerged victorious 52-49 against the New York Giants, Eli Manning threw for a career best 6 TDs against Ryan’s squad. All the more telling is Titans rookie QB Marcus Mariota, who returned from injury and threw for 371 yards and 4 TDs. This added to Cousins’ career day.
With an already proven track record of success in past years, surely Rob Ryan will not have a difficult time landing another gig in the NFL. Payton’s senior defensive assistant Dennis Allen will step in as the interim defensive coordinator. Allen was the Saints secondary coach for the 2009 Super Bowl winning squad and also had a brief tenure as Oakland Raiders head coach.