Rob Ryan's been an interesting case over time.
He interviewed here a couple years ago - there was even a time last
year where I considered him a guy who'd get another shot, before the
wheels fell off the Dallas defense. Truth is, in retrospect, he's
never really had good defenses.
It looked like he was going to get the Rams job, and then that fell
completely apart. When that happened, the Saints had determined that
they would move 3-4, another oddity; they don't have that much that
fits. But, as it came together, the Saints still needed a coordinator,
and Ryan still needed a job. Actually, I don't know for certain it's a
done deal there, either. Ryan is volatile, and Sean Payton is
desperate. I read yesterday there were issues with a clause prohibiting
Ryan to talk to the press; then a suggestion that it's impossible, since
a contract isn't done - days after a tenative agreement.
So, for now, let's assume it's going to happen. They do need each
other. It's intriguing, but it's not currently a cause for worry.
Ryan's scheme is very specific, and considered by many to be "too
complex". Specific to Carolina, it's not as big a worry since Carolina
plays so much spread, and the zone read negates the speed of a faster
Even before Ryan, there wasn't a lot of worry that the 3-4 was a good
fit. Will Smith, once considered a good end, probably gets gone.
Cameron Jordan makes some sense at one end spot, and Ryan's been dogged
in his ability to get free agent 3-4 guy Brian Schaefering to follow him
when able. I don't see Sedrick Ellis as a good fit, and there's no nose
tackle in there.
Initially, the ILB set has promise - Vilma and Curtis Lofton. But,
Vilma didn't fit in the Jets' 3-4, and that was years' worth of mileage
ago. David Hawthorne, their strongside, might have the ability to fit
inside, but no ability to fit outside. The Saints seem poised to make
the obvious move to pay Anthony Spencer big bucks to play OLB, but they
have massive cap issues as well.
They really don't have anyone in the secondary that can play the
man-free scheme that Ryan has preferred for years - the Cowboys spent
big to get Brandon Carr and to trade up for Morris Claiborne, and the
results weren't really there. Before that, the Raiders had spent
massive amounts to keep Nnamdi Asomugha at franchise quarterback rates,
because he was the best man cover guy in the league. To top that, it
looks like Roman Harper is a cap casualty, and while an upgrade is
possible, it'll cost the team to take Harper's cap hit and provide that
So, it'll take a while to implement Ryan's vision, and take up a lot of
resources to do so. It's an odd marriage, but obviously not wanting the
Saints to have success, fine by me.