For the last week it was a reported lock that the Saints were signing Rob Ryan as their defensive coordinator and going through the motions of the interview process before that. Today it's now been made official. It's a really strange turn of events after Rob Ryan was signed earlier this offseason to take over the Rams' defense, replacing Gregg Williams, before ultimately having things change after he started. It was later reported Ryan wasn't comfortable running a 4-3 defense in St. Louis and decided after the fact it wasn't a good fit.
In New Orleans, he'll get to run the 3-4 with Sean Payton's blessing as the head coach had already committed to the system change based on it possibly being a better fit for the defensive talent pool already on the roster. Ryan is quite similar in a lot of ways to a coach you'll remember well: Gregg Williams. He's brash, he's emotional, he's intense and his players love him. The downside is his don't give a "F" attitude, the same attitude that alienated Williams from the rest of the staff, and stubborness. There's no doubt he can be an successful coordinator at times with good players, but I question whether or not he has that.
Ryan obviously won't run a pay for performance program, so while he's like Williams in many ways I think you can rest assured that won't be part of the similarities. Still, he's butted heads with many people during his career. Prior to being the Saints' primary defensive mind, he coached for the Raiders, Browns and Cowboys as a DC. Here's how each year went:
2004: Raiders ended 30th overall
2005: Raiders ended 27th overall
2006: Raiders ended 3rd overall
2007: Raiders ended 22nd overall
2008: Raiders ended 27th overall
2009: Browns ended 31st overall
2010: Browns ended 22nd overall
2011: Cowboys ended 14th overall
2012: Cowboys ended 19th overall
As you can see, he only had one elite defense in nine seasons as a defensive coordinator, and he's only had two I would even characterize as "above average". The rest have been mostly abysmal. Not exactly a good track record. That said, he doesn't need to make the Saints a top 10 defense. If he can get them to play 24th, that's probably good enough to put the Saints in the playoffs. Still, don't mistake this for being the best defensive mind in the league by any means.
Personally, I don't like the hire. I think he's too much like Gregg Williams, and while Williams did help the Saints win a Super Bowl and can't be regarded as a completely bad hire, Ryan doesn't come with half his track record. Ryan is a loose canon and the type of guy that I don't view coming up brilliant decisions in crucial situations. I hope I'm wrong but I don't see this working out well for the Saints. Sidenote, the Saints also brought in Stan Kwan as their assistant special teams coach.
Your thoughts on the Ryan hire?